Friday, 30 April 2010

Going electric

Just a quick update to say that I have just installed my security door magnet pickup and it sounds great! Demo hopefully coming soon!
Ok so why should this work? This is how it's designed to work: In the center is a permanent magnet, that keeps the door locked (or in some cases open) even without the power needing to be on, around this is a coil, an electro magnet but this is connected up so that when 24 volts is applied to it it cancels out the permanent one and you can open the door! Anyhow a permanent magnet surrounded by a coil is exactly what a guitar pick up is!Now the magnet is a bit too strong and the coil should have a few more turns on it but it does seem to work and work pretty darn well! Btw I have it bcz it got scrapped bcz it's fixing hole's thread is missing.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Diddley Pew blog number two!

I have my Diddley pew playing and it's great fun! I've been using a large drill bit as a slide for now!
It's made from the other half of the back rest top rail of that 150 year old church pew I'm sitting on in my header photo. With a little experimentation I have got the sound quite loud, the upturned tin that acts as a resonator has no lid and overhangs the wood where it's curved so lets the sound out. It has no actual top nut because the tuner's roller does that job.
It just think looks a little plain at the moment and part of the fun of making these is customizing them, maybe I should carve the interval positions into the top.
Funny that the end section looks like a Fender guitar headstock, maybe I should paint the ends a brighter colour.
I am at work now and have found a potential pick up in our scrap! It’s actually an electro magnetic door catch. The kind of thing they use in keypad access security doors. Well it’s a coil wrapped around magnet isn’t it! And a quick test by plugging it into my PC speakers and pinging a taught length of ferrous wire over it reveals a good loud boing! Can’t wait to try it out for real!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Diddley Pew

Inspired by Shelley's Rickey's Piggy diddley bow I decided to build one of my own using up one of my last pieces of pew I found whilst tidying up my shed. Diddley Pew? I was stuck for a tuning peg so am hoping to use a bicycle gear change lever! See I'm using up that cycle junk already! Photos and demo soon! Pepare your selves for some authentic deep south (of England) blues!
Meanwhile here is Sea Sick Steve showing us how it should be done!

Btw When I say everything I do on it sounds bad you'll probobly just have to agree.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Recycled drum machine?

For a while I’ve been thinking I need to have a few more up tempo songs or just a fuller sound to my devopelping set , when I went to the shed to unpadlock my bicycle at the weekend I realized how many old bike frames ,wheels and parts I had in there I got a flash of inspiration! Well maybe only I would look at this pile of scrap and think mechanical drum machine! Not the giant one like James Taylor used on stage but one more the size of my rotary speaker. A search on google shows a few but they are all electronically controlled and have solenoids (electro magnets) operating the drums, cymbals or what ever but I think that is cheating a little and it isn’t so obvious to an audience how it works, I rather something that is a piece of kinetic sculpture. I’m thinking more like a bicycle wheel with bolt heads sticking out around it lifting and dropping rods, I could even have a derailleur on it to change the speed! It doesn’t need to be able to play more than one or two rhythm variations as I’ll only use it for a few songs. I remember as a child of about five being memorized by a 5 minute film of this huge 20 foot tall kinetic sculpture on Play School and somehow I feel that since digital music and the lack oa spinning disc or hypnotically revolving reels something has been lost, it’s all a bit sterile. Anyhow it fits in with my eccentric inventor image! I’ll keep you posted of course if this idea develops into anything more than just an idea.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Treble booster/Tone Bender Mk2

I've had my homemade 1960's copy treble booster and Tone Bender distortion box for a about a year now and found the sounds really useful but the way they were constructed were really impractical so I decided to rebuild into one neat box and configure them in a way that would be useful on stage. I used the steel case of an old internal pc DVD drive and covered it with my last off cuts from the amp and speaker cab.
It now has two treble boosters. The top row of controls sets up the first booster (Gain 1) for my main guitar sound and the other controls the second (Gain 2) which can be switched into a following Tone bender (Red labels) for the lead solo sound (or maybe just a different song) Both treble boosters and bender are full bypass switchable so the box can stay in line all the time.The foot switch simply switches between the two channels. As there's nothing worse than a flat battery during a gig so I included a volt meter I had knocking around.
All I need to do is find some more suitable knobs. For you geeks it contains Mullard OC44,OC 75 & OC82D transistors. People are selling pedals like this on the net for silly money, there's not a lot in them but they do sound good! Btw the insides were photographed on my bench at work you can see I couldn't resist putting on one of my tested stickers!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Fiddlelele

The cigar box Fiddlelele –a cross between a cigar box fiddle and ukulele.
A crazy idea I know and only an idea but the thinking goes something like this: Guitarists can easily play the ukulele as it is tuned to the four highest guitar strings –as if they were capoed 5 frets up.(Ignore the re-entrant tuned detail) Well then they can play the fiddlelele! As it’s tuned the same and has (curved) frets so you know were to place your fingers you just have to get to grips with a bow! No it won’t have the range of a violin and purists will hate it but come on it’s got to be worth trying! Both instruments have similar scale lengths after all and Jazz violinist Mike Piggott bursts into a little George Formby during a gig on a standard violin! He can also bow all four strings at once too but you’ll have to go to a gig to see how he does that! Anyhow it seems like a good summer project and should cost next to nothing. A little Googeling reveals there was in the past such a thing as a Ukelin and a Violin-uke but both of these look like bowed zithers. Well there’s an idea but as you know my plans keep changing all the time!First I have to rebuild my treble boost/ distortion pedal box and also I have a little job to do on my 2nd electric mando guitar as I think the first two frets a fractionally out of place and explains why it always sounds out of tune! This has been driving me mad since I built it and since modified it to play as an extended 12 string ukulele (you play full guitar chords on doubled up strings- the top 6 strings being re-entrant (an octave up) so some notes are quadruped up!) tonally it sounds amazing so I want to get it sorted it’s just a nightmare to work on with 12 strings!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Friday, 2 April 2010

FInished! (well almost)

What a nightmare, so many corners! But finally it is covered and the finished amplifier and speaker can be relieved!Just a few more smaller jobs left now.