The spike in interest in the Omnichord caused by its use on the Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood has prompted Suzuki to reproduce it for their 70th anniversary. And now we have the full details on the new Omnichord OM-108 and it’s possible to pre-order!
Sale just started
Now it’s possible to pre-order Omnichord OM-108 here at Thomann (affiliate).
Update NAMM Show 2024 – Omnichord OM-108
It’s less of a reproduction and more of a redesign; the OM-108 mixes in the vibes from the previous Omnichords and comes up with a nicely tweaked version. However, it’s essentially the same deal. You press chord buttons and strum the gold-plate strumming washboard thing or “Strumplate”. The chord is heard while the strumming throws on corresponding arpeggios.
The sounds are based on the OM-84, which was apparently the one regarded as having the finest sounds. It has ten tones in total, ranging from the original “Omni” analogue tones through to PCM -based harp, celeste, guitar, piano, FM piano, organ, vibes and banjo.
The all-important rhythm section has the same roster as the other models with rock, slow rock, country, swing, disco, funk, bossanova and waltz. Suzuki has added a hip hop rhythm to bring it up to date, although it was the charm of the original rhythms that interested Damon Albarn. I should mention that there is also a drum mode where you can play the drums on the Strumplate.
Full details available at the website.
You need to watch this live performance on the new Omnichord at NAMM Show 2024 in Anaheim.
Update 17th December 2023
According to Suzuki, the release of the new Omnichord OM-108 has been postponed. Suzuki hasn’t offered any explanation other than to say it is improving and refining the specifications but apologised for the inconvenience. The press release states that Suzuki will be showing the OM-108 at the forthcoming NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Centre from January the 25th to the 28th 2024, at which time a new release date will be announced.
Originally posted 27th March 2023.
Suzuki Musical Instrument Manufacturing first produced the kidney-shaped Onmichord in 1981. The idea was that it was a strumable electronic instrument that sat somewhere between a guitar and a button accordion. The Omnichord had a “Sonic Strings” touch plate that you would drag your fingers across to trigger chords defined by the buttons you held down.
It had features like those found on an automatic home keyboard with built-in rhythms and an auto-bassline. It was these elements that were used on the Clint Eastwood track, as recently revealed by Damon Albarn in an interview for Apple Music.
Of course, Suzuki may have been planning to reproduce the Omnichord for ages. It says on the website that people have been asking ever since they stopped production in 1999. But there’s a rather lovely synergy here with the obvious affection Damon has for the device. And he’s not the only famous musician to strum an Omni. It’s also been used by Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Eurythmics and David Bowie.
Suzuki hasn’t yet announced which model they will reproduce or if it will be the same or an updated version. The OM-27 is the original, whereas Damon is rockin’ the OM-300. It’s planned for release in the autumn of 2023. Mr Manji Suzuki established the company in 1954 to manufacture harmonicas, which have sold over 13 million.
- Suzuki website.
- Suzuki Omnichord OM-300: Suzuki
- Suzuki Omnichord OM-27: Suzuki