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one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

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one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:00 am

I´ve seen and heard this very cool player playing a strange one-string slide-guitar style instrument in a New York Subway, Sep. 2016.

video 1:

https://vimeo.com/182739445

video 2:

https://vimeo.com/182740073

I´ve found some other one-string instruments, but they are not the right one

One-String
Diddley Bow
Djent Stick
Whamola
Jitterbug
Monochord Zither
Primal Slide Guitar


Does anyone know what this kind of instrument is?

Ideas to how you can build this kind of instrument as well are very welcome ;-)
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:38 pm

I can't really tell from the video but it seems that he uses his right hand to hit the string and his left to modify the pitch.
But is there a string he hits? Or is it more a theremin-like instrument?

Best thing -obvious- is to ask the guy if you see him play agian.

I find it an interesting instrument so keeps us posted.

Hans
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Steve Sawyer » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:44 pm

You have to look carefully, but he is plucking the string and using a conventional (looks to be metal or glass) slide. I too at first thought it was a theremin-type instrument, but then I could see the slide. The "whammy bar" on the end must be altering the string tension some way. Pretty interesting that he has two ways of slurring notes.
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Bob Francis » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:16 pm

The second video shows a bit more. Slide on his thumb?
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:24 pm

Hi guys - Thanx for your feedback ;-)

It´s defenitly not a Theremin, but a one string slide guitar with a whammy-bar.

How he slides exatcly i dont know, but he is picking and sliding with one hand and bending/making vibrato on the whammybar with the other hand.

Unfortunally im back in Berlin and cant ask him, but here are my thoughts about building one:

(please excuse me, im not a guitarist, but a keyboard/wind player and i have absolutly no ideas about building guitars, so every feedback is very welcome ;-)

• Fretboard: a piece of hard wood, which type of wood ? (without frets because of the slide functions) - i imagine something like this: wood piece no.1, ca. 100x10x1 cm glued together with wood piece no.2 ca 90x10x1 cm - this way i have the head thickness of the fretboard at 1 cm, leaving 10 cm place for the tuning peg with a height of 1 cm, and the rest 90 cm of the fret with a heigth of 2 cm, leaving place for mounting the whammy bar.
• a tuning peg - preferably a bas tuning peg because it´s easier to grab and adjust
• a standart guitar/bas bridge or something selfmade where the string can rest just after the tuning peg
• a guitar/bas pickup - normally a pickup is placed in a 90 ° angle to the strings so each string is placed over each magnet, but with only one string i consider to place the pickup in a 0 ° angle, meaning that all magnets is lined up under the one string - whats ist your thoughts about this idea ?
• a guitar/bas string, depending of the pitch i guess i´ll just have to experiment a bit
• a whammybar - i imagine to use a standard guitar whammy bar, but i belive there is different types - i defenitle want the pitch to stay steady after bending - any ideas/tips is very welcome here please - i imagine i will make remove enough wood from the fretboard to make place for the whammybar in the 2 cm heigh fretboard - i will switch out the standard arm with a long straight metal-rod to make the pitching like the guy on the video.


so this is my project for the winter - i will be very happy with any kind of feedback, ideas, links to diy guitar projectc etc.


nice regards

Henning Flintholm
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:33 am

First of all: Cool that you start this project, it will be a great journey.

A lot depends on what kind of instrument you want to build and money you want to spend on it.

Because you slide the string instead of pressing it on a fretboard and you use only one string, your choose of wood isn't that critical.
You've listed several instruments above which you can google to give a wealth of information on how to build it.

The "hardest part" will be the whammy bar. First thought is to use a cheap Fender style tremolo with the arm bend up. With some effort you can saw the tremolo in half and use the middle saddle from the remaining three saddles.
You can use a zitherpin as a tuner or one conventional tuner.
A single string pickup up can easily be wound, when using a cylindric magnet and some enameled wire, a 0 degrees turned pickup would work also.
Google for DIY cigar box guitar pickup and you will get the idea

Maybe you can draw up some first sketches and share them as a starting point for further evolution.

Hans
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:20 am

Hi Hans

Thanx for valuable advice :-)

I thought that the whammybar would be the hard part, but why do i need to cut it in half ? to save space ? I imagine to use the whole whammtbar and only use one string placed in the 3rd or 4th string saddle - almost in the middle - is it very important that it´s centerd exatly in the middle ?

I will make some drawings later and drop them here for more evolution

Henning
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:11 pm

Nope, it's only to save space, so using a whole tremolo isn't a problem.

Looking forward to the drawings.
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Peter Wilcox » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:13 pm

It sounds a lot like a bowed saw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3CNwOfDmXA
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Brent Bischoff » Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:32 pm

It looks to be a Vietnamese instrument called a "Dan Bau" I found several you tube videos of it but couldn't figure out how to post a link to them. One looked to be the same gentleman in the videos you posted.
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:06 am

Brent Bischoff wrote:It looks to be a Vietnamese instrument called a "Dan Bau" I found several you tube videos of it but couldn't figure out how to post a link to them. One looked to be the same gentleman in the videos you posted.

Searching YouTube for Dan Bau gives several useful hits indeed.
There's also a website http://www.danbau.com.

Cool.

Hans

p.s. as for adding a link: you can either just copy and paste a link in the text or press the url button. add a "=" after the first "url" followed by the link you want to refer to, add text between the 2th and 3th bracked: "[url=LinkToWhatEver]TextYouWant[/url]"
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:13 am

Hi Guys

Thanx a lot for getting closer - The Dan Bau is a very goog hint. I will try to go with the standart whammy bay.

I will keep you updated
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Thu Sep 22, 2016 7:46 am

Hi again

I´ve made a very fast drawing - it´s the first idea with any measures, but i will work more on the drawing before i start the project. Espacially i will have to find out more about the whammybar and how to mount it. I guess i will have to make a square hole in the body/fretboard and work on the springs and tension from underneath.

Henning

One String Guitar_layout 1.jpg
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:03 am

Cool, this would work.
Google for "Fender whammy bar cavity" and you get a lot of pictures of the internal of a Fender, it will give you the information you need.
There are some detailed drawings of a Fender body swarming around on the net, which will give you the measurements you need.

What kind of tools do you have at hand?
A router?
Drillpress?
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:23 am

I´ve got a jigsaw - but im considereing to go to a friend with a router and make the holes for pickup and whammy bar in his workshop. I´v orderd a cheap whammybar from ebay (china) - could take some time with the shipping, but for a start it might work.

whammybar.JPG
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Hans Bezemer » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:33 am

You don't need a lot of tools. A drill with a forstner bit and a chisel will make it possible to create the cavities you want.
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Henning Flintholm » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:40 am

okay - good advice, thanx ;-)
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Re: one-string slide-guitar with whammy bar stick

Postby Steve Sawyer » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:59 am

Interesting - in all the videos I had time to look at on that Dan Bau site, the musician isn't using a slide, but appears to be using the "whammy bar" to adjust pitch in addition to the vibrato, and maybe touching the string with the edge of his hand to produce harmonics. I'm not sure that a conventional guitar tremolo setup would provide the necessary range. You'd be forced to use a slide for pitch and the tremolo strictly for the vibrato. I'm not sure if that would make it more or less of a challenge to play - personally I've shied away from slide as I have enough trouble using the frets!! :mrgreen:

Beautiful instruments though.

I ran across these:

http://www.mcld.co.uk/oddmu/danbau/
You can buy one here.
Good Wikipedia entry describing the playing technique here
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