Chili – Sweet & Savory from Chili on Vimeo.

Creating imaginative, inventive housings for musical instruments is nearly as old as the practice of making objects that make sound. Even in acoustic instruments, these additions often have nothing to do with sound – a viola da gamba doesn’t sound any better when it’s got the face of a fair maiden carved onto it, but that’s not the point.

So, enclosure creativity when making your own monome grid controller is part of the joy of making a custom instrument. Since this week monome co-creator Brian Crabtree is unveiling a new iteration of the monome kit, I asked him for his favorite examples of creative housings. Some of these have been seen on these pages (screens?) before, but I think they’re worth revisiting. At top, Chili’s Etch-a-Sketch housing. (More details on his rig if you click through to the Vimeo link.)

A vintage radio:

Edison’s classic lunchbox enclosure (and it helps that Edison is one of the most virtuosic players of the monome grid).

failure of the year from edison on Vimeo.

Lastly, there’s no reason you can’t use an instrument as a housing, as here, in which a monome is built into a guitar, with simultaneous access to the guitar signal (creator Ben Brown says this is a work in progress, but it’s really promising):

There’s Something from Ben Brown on Vimeo.

Brian notes that he “could show hundreds of these,” but I’ll refrain from doing a “100 Top Enclosures for the monome” post. Why? Because you should take that time to build your own, of course.