Quietly last week the sold-out LinnStrument made its return. The device remains one of the most musical options out there and was a breakthrough invention that helped make MIDI Polyphonic Expression a standard.

Roger Linn wrote last week to his customers that he has “finally increased production and starting to catch up on my backorders,” for the first time after six months being sold out. (That situation is far from unique in the business right now, especially among independent makers.)


It’s a pretty solid investment, too – and I swear Roger didn’t put me up to this. Consider that this is a controller device you can spend years really mastering, with a grid layout that easily falls under the fingers.

There’s the full flagship 200 note-pad LinnStrument for US$1499. But I really like the LinnStrument 128 – just in that you can fit it in a rucksack easily and you still get 4 octaves (128 note pads), for US$999.

They each come with a soft case, USB and MIDI in/out, crucially a foot switch option, and a comfortable form factor.

And they’re built for sustainability – Roger posted disassembly and assembly instructions right on his YouTube channel for both editions. More manufacturers should think about making sure their gear stays in musicians’ hands and out of landfills. (Now, not all of them should have you take them apart yourself as the solution, but at least to keep stuff fix-able.)

Roger also has some nice how-to videos on physical modeling and one-handed operation. I understand these devices are also used by musicians without sight. And hey, it’s not every day you get your how-to video from the father of the LM-1, LinnDrum, and original MPC.

There’s also a playlist of Roger’s favorite videos from all of you musicians.