Every January, I attend the NAMM show with John Baccigaluppi and Larry Crane, and we spend days walking like zombies through giant rooms full of instrument and gear manufacturers. Pretty much everything sold by the music industry can be found here (and there's also a ton of stuff that you can't believe anyone would ever buy). At the most recent NAMM show, the coolest product I saw was the Handmaster Plus, manufactured by Doczac Enterprises and distributed by GHS, the company that makes guitar strings. Most hand exercisers help you strengthen your grip. The only problem is, when you're fretting a guitar or grabbing a stick or even using a mouse, your hands are pretty much gripping something already, so the last thing you really want to do is repetitive gripping when you exercise your hand. In contrast, the Handmaster Plus balances your hand muscles by making you open your hand and extend your fingers as part of the exercise. Check out the website for lots of information and many links to medical research. It weighs almost nothing, so I've taken mine everywhere for the past month. It's helped significantly with finger, wrist, and forearm discomfort (from too much mousing and typing). Before engaging in any health-related regimen, you should consult your doctor. ($14.95 MSRP; www.doczac.com)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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