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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Strings and things
String instruments
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Antimon



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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject: String instruments Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've been toying for some time with the idea of fastening guitar strings on a simple wooden plank or board, fitting a pickup to it and see what it might sound like. Noticing that they sell pretty cheap pickups at Thomann made the idea get new strength.

This might not be the most fitting forum for this kind of question, but I know there are a lot of wisdom amongst the folks here. Maybe someone can recommend another forum where stuff like this is discussed, or other info spot? I am looking for basic information concerning wiring one or more pickups, and - especially - how to fit a tuner that you can fasten a string to reliably.

I will start off with one or two strings, but hope to expand to loads of strings, my dream is to make some kind of electric zither.

/Stefan

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jnuaury



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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

heres a good place to get zither pins (scroll down to the hardware section)

http://www.windworld.com/products/catalog.htm

despite the domain name the website is actually called "experimental musical instruments"
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Antimon



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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cool, thanks! Very Happy That's exactly what I was looking for. If nothing else, this will help me know what I want to use for search terms. The shipping rates aren't that bad, but I try to search for more ecologically sound shipping distances if I can.

Thanks for the quick reply!

/Stefan

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mark_olson



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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

jnuaury wrote:
heres a good place to get zither pins (scroll down to the hardware section)

http://www.windworld.com/products/catalog.htm

despite the domain name the website is actually called "experimental musical instruments"


Thank you so much - this is a great resource. I've wasted hours at a time combing ebay for some of these things.

Mark
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've got an AutoHarp which a friend gave me a while ago, and I've been thinking about a similar idea.
What I'd like to do is install a number of E-Bow inducers under the strings and have the ability to use the AutoHarp as a kind of tuned reverb.
Basically pumping a signal into the strings and getting them to resonate so that I could then take the output and process it further. This would allow me to press the buttons on the autoharp and control which chord was being "strummed". Does that make sense?
So, for example, you could send a snare drum into it and get a string reverb of various chords reacting directly to the snare sound.
It would of course mean setting up multiple inducers, and also pickups to get the signal back out.
You could also use it for vocals, or just about anything you like.
It's one of those grandiose ideas which would require a lot of work to implement, but I think it could produce some really unique effects. I really like the idea of using electro-mechanical means to create a sound which just couldn't be made (easily) any other way.
I hope this rambling inspires some experimentation for someone.
The E-bow inducer is really quite simple, and just involves a 386 amp driving an audio matching transformer core with the elements aligned.
Let me know if you want any further detail.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

And then there is the Harpejji thingie. Very Happy

http://www.marcodi.com

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Antimon



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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
And then there is the Harpejji thingie. Very Happy

http://www.marcodi.com


Ah, yes I've seen that one. Amazingly beautiful. I'm currently looking for something ugly and basic that might help to get me to get in control of basic sound stuff, but that harpejji sure makes you drop your jaw and experience a couple second's worth of desire before common sense and survival instincts kick in.

E-bows are cool things. I don't know anything about electronic parts - how cheaply can you make your own e-bow compared to the trademarked finished product? I've found cheapo guitars that would cost me less than my E-bow - and that was from a closing sale. I find them confusing - my guess is they send out an oscillation in resonance with the string - but they'll make a string vibrate at any frequency. Do they emit some kind of chaotic signal?

/Stefan

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jnuaury



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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

the coils in guitar pickups are transducers that can work in two ways
they can "pickup" the sound of the vibrating metal strings (surprise!)...
or they can put vibration INTO the strings

picking up signals is easy of course but putting signals into strings isnt that much harder

you can build a really simple amplifer with a 386 and then take the output of that and run it through an audio transformer and into the pickup


to get that ebow effect the input of the amp would be your guitar pickups used conventionally



to get that reverb effect you can run alternate signals into the amp


nic collins has some beautiful examples of this
where by fretting the guitar you create different resonant filters for the signal

http://www.nicolascollins.com/It_Was_a_Dark_and_Stormy_Night.htm

the last track "it was a dark and stormy night" might have the most obvious examples of this technique
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jnuaury



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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oh and to answer your question on how "cheaply" this can be done

if you have a cheap guitar with more than one pickup you can rewire one of the pickups to be used as a driver the 386 and audio transformer will cost you under 5 dollars.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Antimon wrote:
I find them confusing - my guess is they send out an oscillation in resonance with the string - but they'll make a string vibrate at any frequency. Do they emit some kind of chaotic signal?
/Stefan


They are just a little feedback amp. They use a simple pickup which is amplified and then the signal is put back out through the 386 and a transformer core. I think maybe it's sent back inverted (180d out of phase) which helps to force the feedback. That's why they'll vibrate any string or note.

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jnuaury



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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yes

from what ive heard the normal mode on an ebow has both coils in phase and the "harmonics mode" has the coils out of phase which deemphasizes the strings fundamental
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Antimon



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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah, of course. Thanks for the explanations. Smile
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