This $23 ‘Howling Dog’ Guitar Is Honing My Kid’s Musical Skills
And for an instrument toy, it's remarkably not that annoying.
Musical toys fall into two categories in my home: annoying and slightly less annoying. Most instruments for toddlers suffer one of two problems: they’re either too basic and don’t allow the child to do much more than beat it silly for a few minutes before getting bored; or, they play the same three songs over and over again before you lose your mind. In both cases, everybody in the house suffers.
Which is why it can be tough for parents, like my wife and I, who want to introduce their young kids to music. And why we were so impressed by the Woofer guitar from B. Toys. Not only did our three-year-old daughter start shredding on it like Slash at Monsters of Rock, but it’s inspired her to dance, sing, and riff like she never has with her other musical toys. Plus, it’s not nearly as irritating.
The B. Woofer is an odd-looking abomination: a howling hound dog that seemingly swallowed a guitar. It’s as if Snoopy and Prince got together to design a signature ax. It’s glossy, bright, colorful, and will immediately grab a kid’s attention. The eight buttons that run along on the side are the chords (C, G, E), and they’re appropriately labeled. There are strings to be strummed and two larger buttons ⏤ plus a sweet whammy bar ⏤ play pre-set tunes. In total, the B. Woofer comes with 20 built-in songs, including dog takes on favorites like Old McDonald, as well as a few originals. The music variety helps alleviate any concerns about a song getting stuck on repeat.
The most interesting feature of the Woofer has to be the three play modes ⏤ acoustic, electric, or howl, which makes every riff sound like it’s coming from a howling dog. They’re selected via a dial on the bottom of the guitar and, instead of being maddening, are actually hilariously bizarre. It’s one of my daughter’s favorite features.
Now, as much as I’m singing the B. Woofer’s praises, it’s a still a machine that makes noise. And as such, one of my favorite features is is how quickly you’re able to turn it off. In fact, knowing parents will always want some peace and quiet, B. Toys installed not one but two off options: the volume knob, which can be lowered during louder play, and the ‘Stop’ button, which seconds as the dog’s nose and essentially works as a kill switch. Hit it and the guitar immediately goes dead. Not a peep ⏤ it’s glorious.
My daughter has a slew of instrument toys ⏤ from maracas to an actual keyboard ⏤ yet it’s the Woofer she breaks out whenever music is playing in the house. Or when she’s in the car. Or when family is visiting and she wants to “get the band together.” I’m convinced it’s the toy’s mobility ⏤ not to mention the shoulder strap that lets her jam like a real guitarist ⏤ that makes it her favorite. It adapts to whatever play scenario she’s creating. Also, it can be a musical spaceship for other toys. It can do anything.