Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jewelry Box Tenor (IW#039)

Well, my first instrument back on the horse after the residency is this nice little tenor.  The body is a beech jewelry box from the flea market.  It has a lid that is 1/8" plywood, and is actually a nice little box.  It is a little twangy, but it sounds pretty good.

I tried a new thing for the head, which I like a lot.  It is a little fancy, maybe, but I wanted to try something different than just the rough end of the plank I use for a neck.  The tuners are out of the scavenge box.  Not sure where they come from, actually, but they are pretty old.  And the tailpiece is one of the Oneidaware fish forks that I got a handful of at the flea market.  I have been really pleased with the fork-as-tailpiece thing, it lends a nice quality to the tail end of the guitar.

Here's how it sounds:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting from Here to There

I have been getting a lot of mileage out of showing these instruments to folks.  I often fine that I need to take the same four or five instrument out at the same time.  I had been throwing them all in a bag and trying to be careful, but it turns out that is not a particularly safe way to transport them.  So I built a case, which has been more successful.  I originally bought a nice old suitcase at the flea market, but it proved too small for the tenor and the 10 Mile Banjo (which is soon to be seen at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C.), so I set out to build a case.

A place for everything and everything in its place.
I broke out the gold leaf, something I had not done in a long time.

All of the lumber and hardware was stuff that I already had on hand.  The sides are the bottoms of some drawers that I repaired, the beadboard had been shelves in our basement when we moved in.  And it fits perfectly in the trunk of my car.

There is a can screwed in to the side to hold picks and slides and kazoos, and a spot that either accommodate the Miss Syracuse Uke or my cigar box full of harmonicas.  This show is ready to go on the road!

An Assortment of Shakers

Though my focus here at the Instrument Works is on stringed instruments, tonight at the gallery opening (you know about the gallery opening right?  And you're coming right?  Okay, good.  Glad to hear it.) part of the event will involve getting the audience to be a part of the festivities.  To that end some friends made some bean shakers in soda cans, and I made a small assortment of bottle-cap shakers.

I especially like the tambourine in the middle, made from the top of a cookie tin. The bottle caps at the top are real loud, it should be fun for someone to play tonight.  I think it will be a hoot.  See you there.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rehearsal time

On Thursday we present the installation, so this morning four students and I met to try to figure out how to play these things.  Luckily one of them is a composition major, and two of the others are guitar players, so it went pretty well.  We were able to approach the whole project organically, and we ended up with a sweet little ditty, named, of course, "Staircase in the Key of D."  On Thursday we will be presenting the piece twice, once for someone who will be filming and taping us, and then again for anyone that shows up to watch.  So, you know, if you are in Syracuse, come watch.  Should be weird.