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    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Making one's own musical instruments

    Long ago, when I was in my early 20s, I had a job offer that I turned down — at a marvelous 'free school' in Scotland, modeled on the famous Summerhill, called Kilquhanity House.

    I was more than blown away by the place, but decided instead to take up an enticing job in Canada. (I was young, and wanted to travel.) But I often wonder what alternative Sliding Doors timeline I might be on now if I'd accepted the job.

    Anyway, one of the many wonderful things about the school was the music syllabus. The music teacher was one of the players in The Incredible String Band, and the very first thing the kids had to do was make their own instrument... whatever they chose.

    So that had me wondering who here has done that — made their own musical instrument: successfully! I do know Dennis Leahy has some experience in this area, and I'd love him to share some of his challenges, learning, triumphs, and photos.

    Anyone else?

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    Avalon Member avid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Sorry Bill, as far as instruments are concerned, I’m an absolute ‘plonker’ - according to my piano teacher. My Aunty Mary, aged 83, is a locally famous opera singer, today we had lunch at the Fantails in Wetheral, and she can remember every little thing from the past, but not half an hour ago. Tonight she will be singing with the Abbey Singers beautifully, as her voice is still there, but she won’t remember singing. Dreadfully sad. She said to me today “Your voice is your instrument, you breathe correctly and it will be constant” She still has 2 students. An amazing woman, who after the war promoted new musical ways as stuff had been trashed.
    The love you withhold is the pain that you carry
    and er..
    "Chariots of the Globs" (apols to Fat Freddy's Cat)

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    Canada Avalon Member DeDukshyn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

     
     
    I always wanted to make a fretted stick dulcimer -- something like Seagull's "Merlin" line. Also sometimes called a "Strumstick"

    I did some quick googling just now and found a whole playlist dedicated to how to build one! They're a super simple instrument, four strings, and a few frets.




    Easy to play - you almost can't mess up playing one ... here's how they sound ... (this one is purchased, not DIY):


    And I also found this for anyone needing plans for various instruments and is willing to pay for them ... https://www.harpkit.com/ <- they also sell instrument accessories.


    I tried to carve a flute once ... didn't work
    Last edited by DeDukshyn; 2nd July 2019 at 23:44. Reason: fixed link
    When you are one step ahead of the crowd, you are a genius.
    Two steps ahead, and you are deemed a crackpot.

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    United States Avalon Member Valerie Villars's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    I have an especial love for the violin, as a crafted instrument. I can't say why. I have no skill in this lifetime, just a deep appreciation for the craft. I wandered into a violin repair shop in Hammond, LA and thought I had died and gone to heaven. The man had the most beautiful, handcrafted violins of all different makes and woods hanging on the walls. I was enthralled.

    As a bubble burster, the man who lives behind us makes guitars. We thought he would be a lot cooler than he is. Not so much.
    Last edited by Valerie Villars; 2nd July 2019 at 23:58.
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone when we are uncool." From the movie "Almost Famous""l "Let yourself stand cool and composed before a million universes." Walt Whitman

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    UK Avalon Member 42's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Yup... i built one... 1960's hardtail Strat - my last name is Quinn, so of course she's called "Quinnocaster" - Swamp ash hollow body, Canadian maple neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, 60's hardware, Seymour Duncan pickups. I'm delighted with her, took two years to build.
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    Love is all you need

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    Canada Avalon Member DeDukshyn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Quote Posted by 42 (here)
    Yup... i built one... 1960's hardtail Strat - my last name is Quinn, so of course she's called "Quinnocaster" - Swamp ash hollow body, Canadian maple neck, Brazilian rosewood fretboard, 60's hardware, Seymour Duncan pickups. I'm delighted with her, took two years to build.
    Beautiful!! Nice work! Did it end sounding as good as you hoped? I imagine it sounds, well ... like a typical strat?
    When you are one step ahead of the crowd, you are a genius.
    Two steps ahead, and you are deemed a crackpot.

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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Sounds great, thanks for asking... the sustain is amazing and because it's a hollow body i can enjoy it late at night without an amp, thereby reducing comments from sleeping others...
    Love is all you need

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    Avalon Member res cogitans's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    In the process of making a guitar now.
    I've never done any type of Luthierian projects, nor wood working really.
    Figured why make it easy and decided to try what I believed would be the most difficult design I can find and learn from there?

    Modeled after my existing Dean Bumblebee.

    Body is one piece solid mohagany milled out. Need to route remaining cavities for electronics and neck.

    I cut, measured and etched the fretboard mother of pearl inlays with a dremel and magnifying glasses.
    So far so good for a first time....

    Great source for plans if anyone has an interest.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...NjRiYjY0ZTEzZA

    https://sites.google.com/site/guitar...s/other-brands
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    There is a fabulous musician / YouTuber - Martin (YouTube channel: Wintergatan https://m.youtube.com/user/wintergatan2000/featured) - who became fascinated with the musical clocks and music boxes of 1700/1800s Europe and decided to build his own modern music box which he calls the Marble Machine.

    Here he is playing his first marble machine:


    Following his experience making and performing live with the one above, he decided to make a new and improved model - Marble Machine X - which he has just completed the prototype for. Here he is testing out the “drums”:


    He has about 150 videos where he shows his stage by stage development and making of the marble machines.

    A wonderful part of the story is that he was offered and accepted the help of various interested YouTube subscribers (mostly engineering types) who helped him in the making of this rather complex instrument.

    His videos show many of the successes, frustrations, experiments, and trials along the way and are a wonderful journey to follow along with. They show him turning his dreams and inspiration into the reality of this instrument and, to me, are very inspiring
    *I have loved the stars too dearly to be fearful of the night*

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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    In that case Mr Ryan you may enjoy this -

    The Courtyard Music Group formed at school and made one ridiculously rare album. Now they're releasing a replica, and playing their first show in 40 years.



    rest can be found here - https://www.loudersound.com/features...nd-pound-album

    I spent a lot of my childhood in that area staying with my aunt and uncle - he was a police inspector in Stranraer - I know - I chose to bat for the opposition, but they would understand - She was a lady golfer, who made fabulous potato salad. Both went through Players No 6 like smarties ( actually got stuff with the coupons!) and retired to own a pub in Port William down the coast - lived into their 80's. I believe they shot the cliff seen (sacrifice) and quite of lot of exteriors from 'The Wicker Man' (The Edward Woodward original not the remake with that balding american) nearby- My cousin Billy who was an inshore fisherman told me the fire ring could be seen on the ground for years. Didn't know about the school but I was a honorary local and very young - so they probably kept me away from 'hippies'for my own good. Didnae work. ,

    Bit off topic arent I ....drag it back - does a comb with grease proof paper count??

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    Avalon Member Axman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    I will have to post the 3 that I had made with a builder since I fix amps at the shop on the weekends and used to do a lot of playing out. 1 Strat type 2 flying V's
    played the snot of them used to drive him crazy because I would bring them into the shop and they would have wear. I always told him they dont hang on the wall,there are used they are tools. So did a lot of little things after using certain hardware and parts that hold up better. A lot of fun at that point in my life.

    Same with amplifiers did a lot of changing little then big things the older you get the lighter you want your gear.


    The Axman
    And ?

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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    After learning the sitar, I had been wondering about getting a guitar with more harmonics.
    Then I stumbled upon this website http://www.beyondthetrees.com/ by Fred Carlson, making many creative variations of guitars.
    Sadly there are many models that do not have audio samples so I have no idea how it actually sound.

    Here is one that I can get:

    Last edited by Constance; 4th July 2019 at 09:46. Reason: fixed youtube formatting :)

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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    I have assembled two Harley Benton kit guitars, one a precision bass copy and the other a telecaster copy.
    For the finish I used Tru oil.
    Pleased with the play ability and the sound.
    I also bought a HB Fretless bass and that has a truly amazing tone--just a quality instrument for not that much money.
    Chris
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    Be kind to all life, including your own, no matter what!!

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    Avalon Member res cogitans's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Very beautiful sound with the harp guitar.

    Here is another version of guitar that that can achieve different harmonic levels.



    Some additional information over microtonal guitars


    http://www.tolgahancogulu.com/en/microtonal-guitar/

    "e) Harmonics and Multiphonics: Many harmonics or overtones are not equal tempered sounds. For instance, the harmonic on the 4th fret or the multiphonic on the 6th fret are microtones."



    QUOTE=Wmel;1301452]After learning the sitar, I had been wondering about getting a guitar with more harmonics.
    Then I stumbled upon this website http://www.beyondthetrees.com/ by Fred Carlson, making many creative variations of guitars.
    Sadly there are many models that do not have audio samples so I have no idea how it actually sound.

    Here is one that I can get:

    [/QUOTE]

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    UK Moderator and Librarian Tintin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Quote Posted by diteras (here)

    Bit off topic arent I ....drag it back - does a comb with grease proof paper count??
    Thank you so much for that That's really made my day, and it's still only lunchtime too

    Yes, I think that can count.

    “If a man does not keep pace with [fall into line with] his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” - Thoreau

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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    About 15 years ago I made two `basic` instruments. A drum + stick and a rattle...... the shaman way.

    The fact that I made them with my own hands, made them almost part of my body.

    They are very dear to me and I use them before meditation, to get into a certain state of energy, which helps me emptying my mind and become still.



    the back of the drum.



    The rattle, my own special design, LOL

    Last edited by Deux Corbeaux; 16th September 2019 at 08:53.

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    United States Avalon Member Dennis Leahy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    One of the great things about the Internet is that it provides access to so much "how to" information. In keeping with the "teach a man to fish..." tradition, we all have access to a massive amount of shared information on everything from replacing a headlamp on a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle to how to grow tomatoes to how to build a musical instrument. I have paid the most attention to acoustic guitars, and so I'm most familiar with those online resources, but I have searched for information on making wooden flutes and a couple of types of drums and found that as well. I'd guess that you could find 'how-to make' info on most any stringed instrument. If you have the desire, and some basic hand skills, you can make your own musical instrument.

    One particularly inspiring guy that I know in Spain, I met on a luthier's forum. Besides the fact that he also makes handmade shoes and boots (that I guess would fall under the umbrella of prosthetics, as they are custom made for people with foot/leg deformities), he also decided one day to make a violin, which he started by making violin-maker curved hand planes. He made them from scrap steel, and nails. Then he made a violin. I mention this because the first objection I usually hear about someone making their own guitar is that they don't have the proper tools. You could spend several thousand dollars on specialty tools for luthiers, or buy just a handful of (instrument family specific) specialty tools and use standard woodworking tools for the rest... or be like that guy in Spain (Manuel is his name) and make any specialty tools you need.

    Several years have elapsed, and he has now built several violins and a cello... and still makes custom/prosthetic shoes.


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    Avalon Member Hym's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    To add a little healing energy to playing the guitar, I've inserted carnelian cabochons in the back of my son's electric guitar and connected them all internally with copper wire, now hidden from view. When I finish the new paint work he will again get the healing energy, as the carnelians are rounded outwards and touch the player as he plays.

    Last year I was given a beautiful acoustic/electric guitar that I'm lowering the action on and switching out to a lighter gauge set of strings. The young lady who gave it to me wanted to give it to someone who would use it, after repairing it, to continue the good energy she had for the years she learned to play on it. I feel the same about some things I've had.

    This guitar had been damaged by the lady's boyfriend, but the areas affected are areas that do not affect the structural integrity of the guitar, even as they look bad. When I get to repairing the holes and damage to the guitar, I will only focus on healing the areas as close to the original acoustic intent as possible. I will not attempt to recreate the same surface look, as I believe the scars are how I was gifted the guitar in the first place.
    Last edited by Hym; 5th July 2019 at 23:13.

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    Avalon Member Hym's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    Been invited to an indigenous/native corn dance ceremony and feast by a drummer who makes his own instruments. I've got some corn to share with his family from the Taos pueblo musician Robert Mirabal that I've been saving for times like this.

    Our, my sons and my own, experience at a pow-wow was influential and energetic, the affect lasting for days. We were there as honored guests, our small support group, to experience a heartfelt and very powerful thank you from the tribal members we served in the Longest Walk 5. I had made my efforts in support of the Walk against drug and sexual abuse as a tangible gratitude for a space they held for me some 30 years earlier, a space that allowed me to successfully serve someone else.

    I had no idea how powerful being in the energetic of those hours of drumming and chants would be. The affect was still strong many days later. If you have never been there in person you would do your spirit a great boost by being in the sound current and love of their healing intentions.

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    Malaysia Avalon Member Wmel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Making one's own musical instruments

    This might not be appropriate in this thread but i'll still post anyway.

    There are quite a number of theories out there related about music and healing, one being the 432Hz frequency. There are others that claim it is a matter of tuning the instrument in more pure intonation, not the pitch itself.

    I re-tuned my sitar in pythagorean tuning (as a result get a scolding from my teacher as it sounded "weird"), I tune my tanbur in the so-called gandharva grama tuning calculated by Mitzi DeWhitt (https://www.amazon.com/Nearly-All-Al.../dp/1413482821) to experience the power of the sound. And there are various books talking about music, tuning and its influence to human being, such as:

    Alain Danielou's Music and the Power of Sound: The Influence of Tuning and Interval on Consciousness
    Ernest G. McClain's The Myth of Invariance
    Richard Heath's The Harmonic Origin of the World
    Ted Gioia's Healing Songs
    Hazrat Inayat Khan's music essays
    Joselyn Godwin's Harmonies of Heaven and Earth
    Robert John Stewart's The Spiritual Dimension of Music

    So, could it be that music is one of the best practice to just BE (therefore the tuning and theories are just aesthetics and secondary, the intention being the primary) and when the mind is powerful enough, the music might bridge between the metaphysical and the material world.
    On the other hand, music serves as a hidden symbol/code for the ancient to teach about the law of the world, together with science and philosophy, like DeWhitt's claim about G.I.Gurdjieff's theory making much more sense when using music as analogy.

    I would like to read and discuss more about the power of music as an agent of healing...
    One more rare instrument to share before closing the post: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN5VSt3jj0c&t=336s

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