PVC Bamboom Stick

PVC Bamboom Stick

fullsizeoutput_686fullsizeoutput_687fullsizeoutput_688fullsizeoutput_689fullsizeoutput_68b

The handle on Bennet’s Bamboom Stick failed during its first use. Bamboo is strong for its thickness, but, in addition to the handle, the frame cracked in four places, while I was cutting and shaping the instrument. The cracks were easy to fix with glue and clamps, but I’m not sure how it will hold up over time. Surely the handle will hold up with the addition of a dowel, but there was still reason for concern.

This led me to look for a more resilient material. PVC is strong and flexible and easy to manipulate. 1-1/4″ PVC pipe is an excellent size for the body and 1″ is perfect for the handle, as 1″ PVC fits close inside of 1-1/4″ pipe.

IMG_1671IMG_1673IMG_1670IMG_1677

For the handle slot, I made horizontal cuts on the body with a hacksaw and then used a 1-1/8 spade bit to remove most of the material on the front and back of the frame. The rest of the handle slot was shaped with files. I cut the handle from a 1″ piece of PVC; it fit snug within the opening. I also slipped a piece of 1″ wooden dowel into to 1″ PVC to reinforce the handle.

IMG_1674IMG_1681IMG_1679IMG_1678
I cut the pickup hole in the same fashion that I shaped the handle slot. Much like the bamboo version, it allows limited range, but a bit more room to install the piece of angle that would hold the simple tuner and the 1/4″ jack. The wall of the 1-1/4″ PVC was too thick for the nut on the 1/4″ jack to fit, so I filed down the outer side of the frame, around the hole, until installation was possible. Although it appears ugly, I have started using hot glue to strengthen my solder joints; it keeps me from having unexpected delays.

IMG_1672fullsizeoutput_688
To create more clearance at the front of the handle, I cut down a 1″ cap and glued it to the front portion of the handle. I filed a small triangular notch into the top of the handle and used a screw to tighten the string down. A binding screw worked well to allow the handle to pivot. I added an eye bolt, bent to an angle, to act as a nut and to set a consistent action. For this PVC version, I decided to use heavier eye bolts than I used on the bamboo version to further strengthen the instrument.

IMG_1674IMG_1676IMG_1683IMG_1682

Because of the limited space, I had to set the piece of angle, then install and solder the jack to the pickup, then install the bent eye bolt, and finally, set the pickup in place. In this PVC version, the JSA Nd144 pickup sat loose in the hole, so I cut and shaped a small piece of 1″ PVC to fill the space. I filed the inner sides of the 1″ piece of PVC until the pickup fit snug. After that, I added the usual simple machine to set the open note/octave.

fullsizeoutput_687IMG_1696

I added two 1-1/4 jacks to the top and bottom of the frame and a 1″ cap to the back of the handle. For the bottom, I installed a screw-on rubber bumper so that it doesn’t slide on the floor. Additionally, I left the remaining string intact, since there is no easy way to keep the instrument grounded. The jack is grounded to the bridge eye bolt, so one must simply hold the remaining string against the handle, while playing, to keep a constant ground.

fullsizeoutput_68a

Just like the bamboo version, there is only one E string, but the instrument has a lot of range. I added a simple tuner so that the player can set the open note/octave. The player controls the pitch by tightening and slacking the string with the handle and there is definitely a learning curve, as the player has to listen for the note correct pitch—I place the difficulty level somewhere between playing slide guitar and trombone.

IMG_1684

It seems important to note that when I tested this instrument the string broke rather than the frame or handle.

Check out this quick and thoroughly awful video:

Thanks,
img_1926

Advertisements

Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

Fireplace Pan Electric Guitar

IMG_1430

I found this old brass fireplace pan at my local antique mall and immediately saw potential. The wrought iron handle seemed like it would accommodate two strings and it was long enough to provide a reasonable scale.

IMG_1431

I based the scale and fret spacing off of my son’s 19″ Zakk Wylde Peewee Les Paul, which was about as far as I could push the space provided. I used the rim of the pan as a bridge and, even then, I only had about an 1-1/2 of usable surface behind the nut.

IMG_1432

As usual, space was tight; therefore, traditional tuners were not a viable option. Using the rim as a bridge, I installed the tuners down the side of the pan and my simple, linear machines were perfect for the space available. These tuners are cheap, efficient, and adaptable—many of my past projects would have been impossible without the flexibility offered by these machines. I placed the 1/4′ jack in the upper right instead of the lower right, because the protruding cord would be the least obstructive and it could double as a makeshift strap button.

IMG_1434

The head isn’t spectacular, but I do like the functional aspect of the built-in wrought iron hanger. The nut is fabricated of a brass bolt cut to length and filed down to half its diameter. I left the head on, because the bass string pulls with greater force than its counterpart. The knurled nuts are my personal favorite; if I could, I would find a place for them in every project—they just look so cool and sometimes offer excellent function.

IMG_1433

The pickup is my own Junk Shop Audio Nd144 style, great for 1-string to 3-string applications. It has a compact design and can be installed in a number of creative ways—in some cases it can even be hidden completely for a smooth, uncut top appearance, to better preserve original cigar box artwork.

IMG_1435

The strap nut is created from a bolt, a beveled washer, a 1/4″ aluminum sleeve, and a couple of nuts. However, its more important function is to attach the metal strip that holds the pickup in place. The strap is made completely from red and black duct tape; I feel it complements the instrument well.

Thanks,

img_1926-2

 

Quick and Dirty Acoustic Pickup

img_1274img_1324

I needed a pickup that I could easily install and remove from guitar to guitar—this is what I created with few spare parts I had laying around.

img_1269

I grabbed a Lego crate and lid got the housing and a RCA jack for the connection. The active agent is a piezo disk that I broke out of a buzzer housing.

img_1270

Drilled a hole in the bottom of the crate and installed the RCA jack.

img_1271

Then, I drilled a hole in the  lid and inserted the piezo wires.

img_1272

Next, I soldered the wires to the hot and ground terminals on the RCA jack and closed the crate.

img_1273

To allow for easy installation and removal, I added a 3/8″ removable Glue Dot to  the back of the piezo disk and one side of the Lego Crate. Done.

It needs some more sound shaping, but it has potential and is decent in a pinch.

Check out my video:

Thanks,

img_1926-2

 

Yard Dog Tremolo (controlled by cellphone app)

img_1308img_1307

So…this is the newest addition to my Yard Dog collection—super low rent manifestations of repurpose and modification. This project is based upon the mechanism present in the Strobe Light Tremolo; however, instead of utilizing an internal light source, the light comes from a free and ordinary cell phone app. This allows for many variations, as flashlight apps with strobe light features can vary in speed and brightness, thus allowing for a bit of customization from user to user.

img_1197img_1208img_1207

I started with an ordinary sardine can—cleaned it out and drilled the holes for two ¼” jacks and a single pole, double throw switch.

img_1219img_1220

It’s wired simply—audio in to switch with one side as a bypass and the other side controlled by the photocell. The photocell was extracted from an ordinary nightlight that comes on automatically when a room becomes dark.

img_1280img_1281img_1282img_1283

I originally had just the piece of painter’s tape over the top, but found that the phone created noticeable interference. Therefore, I lined the inside with aluminum foil and then carefully insolated the bottom with part of a sticky note and the top with more painter’s tape, just in case the foil shakes loose. Since the phone creates so much interference and it sits on top of the unit, I cut about an 1/8” of aluminum foil to keep my signal quiet; it is barely audible when the light turns on and off. I cut a small, strategic hole exactly where the phone’s LED light exits the phone.

img_1284img_1295

Duct tape was the lowest rent covering that I could thinking of, so I placed two pieces over the top and ran my thumb around the edge a few times. Then, I used a razor blade to cut the excess tape close to the outer edge. I found the hole and cut the duct tape and then wrote the name in red Sharpe.

That’s it—a simple, effective analog effect driven by digital technology.

Watch my video:

Classical Acoustic Resonator Guitar

img_0866img_1180

I picked up this broken Fender Classical Guitar at a local antique mall for pretty cheap. The bridge was completely ripped off and tied to the headstock in a sandwich bag. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but thought, why not.

img_0867img_0868img_0871img_0872

First, I tried to clean the broken wood off of the bridge and guitar top; I applied glue and clamped it—that proved unsuccessful, so I cut a big ol’ hole in the top about the size of a stove drip pan, because that’s what I do.

img_0910img_0911img_0873img_0914

I found that a paint can lid from a five gallon paint can fits perfectly over a stove drip pan—who knew. Four small screws were installed to keep the lid from shifting when the strings exert pressure. A tailpiece from an old acoustic was sanded and then added for greater stability.

img_0876img_0877img_0878

I cut the ends off of the bridge to make in more compact and then cut and stacked two pieces of brass rod to serve as a saddle.

img_0965

I found that this modification required a lot of reinforcement—I glued the bridge to the lid, cut small holes on either side, and then zip-tied a similar-sized block of wood to the bottom of the paint can lid from over the bridge. Additionally, I installed a brass bolt through the top of the lid that secured it to the drip pan via an old mounting bracket from a junction box.

img_1180img_0965

I strung it with nylon strings just to see what it would sound like—it doesn’t resonate similar to steel rather, the resonating sound comes from the unplayed/untouched open strings and the untouched top. The player must keep his or her arm off of the top of the guitar or it will sound like any other classical guitar, which is cool, because it offers flexibility with regard to sound.

That’s it; check out the video:

Stay tuned for the removable pickup rig that I have designed for use with this guitar, since nylon strings negate use of my 9 volt power adapter pickup.

Thanks,

img_1926-2

 

Jumper Wire Test Box

Hi,

I originally created this test box in preparation for building a portable guitar rig. I had found an old RCA repairman’s vacuum tube box that, if modified, could hold a small tube amplifier, a 10″ Celestion, and a few effects pedals. I’ll likely present this “road rig” as an ongoing, realtime project later this year, but for now I will show you this excellent tool for figuring out complex wiring schemes. 
The box is simple in form; the only criteria I used in choosing the donor box was that it be flat as possible and have a length and width just larger than 8.5×11, so that a sheet of computer paper can be used for a template. To create the template, I used a drawing program from an old software cluster called Apple Works, but you can likely use just about anything.
 IMG_2115 IMG_2119
I tried to make my box as versatile as possible and therefore included two rows of six 1/4″ jacks, one row of switches and one row of RCA jacks (which require the same sized hole and are interchangeable), one row on the bottom for speaker jacks and speciality items, and one row above with pilot holes drilled for expansion. You need not fill all of the holes with components, as it can get quite expensive; it’s better to get a few items to play around with initially, leaving space for project specific components.   
IMG_2116
The pictures are self-explanatory, but the easiest way that I have found to make a box like this is to print the template, tape it to the box as straight as possible using painter’s tape, drill pilot holes with a small bit, remove the template, and then drill the various sized holes for each component. If you like my template (shown below), follow the link to my Google Drive account and download the “jumper wire test box template” file: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz_BJp6_LjKySVVjQTRvVXBZVzA/view?usp=sharing
1UfuUl
The strips of painter’s tape between the components allow you to label each component when wiring for easy removal and reuse; and the jumper wires make experimental wiring a breeze. Simply wire, plug up, test, and rewire if necessary. When you are happy, set up your permanent project box and wire it based upon your tested design.
IMG_2117 IMG_2118
Check out our other fun projects in the menu above and don’t hesitate to comment or contact us if you have questions, concerns, or need advise regarding a project.
Thanks,
uW5Z0b

Homemade Promotional Guitar Pick Project