Recently, Diplomatte Musical Instruments has been making a splash on the Band and Orchestra instrument scene. Working with a select group of factories and suppliers all over the world has helped Paul Shelden, president and CEO of Diplomatte, keep overhead down and retail prices low, while still producing quality instruments. Shelden’s unique perspective, as both a player and educator has certainly had an effect on his brand. To get a better handle on the inspiration behind Diplomatte, MMR sat down with Shelden to discuss the company and it’s hopes for the future.
Most great inventions begin with a problem. For Nadene Isackson of Enroute Music, the solution was the Porchboard. “We were doing an anti-drug program for elementary schools,” says Isackson. “We were trying to entertain 300 children with just an acoustic guitar and couldn’t keep their attention. They wanted a rhythm, they wanted a boom,” laughs Isackson. “So, we came up with something that was analog but amplified, and controlled with the feet just like the old blues players who would add rhythm with their foot by stomping on the porch boards.” The instrument is a passive percussion instrument with “no batteries or transistors”. “You put it on the floor and tap on it and it comes out sounding like a really finely tuned bass drum.” Isackson notes that although the instrument was originally designed to accompany solo instrumentalists, the Porchboard is catching on with drummers as well. “You don’t have to mic it, it’s portable and there’s no feedback,” she says.
Kerry Keane was hunched over his desk one chilly day in March 2004, inventorying a large cache of product. Diligently, methodically, he had gotten through 10 of the 56 pieces, which were to be auctioned off to raise money for the client’s worthy cause.