Since my last Blog post I have been taking Guitar lessons. My purpose was to learn enough about music to help me invent stringed instruments, now I am enthralled with the idea of music as a language. I have learned to play 8 notes and distinguish, whole, half and quarter notes. It is fascinating to learn music as a second language. I have spent my life listening, but not hearing music. Just the simple information I have gained so far has really improved my instrument making. Peter and I have been having many discussions in the last week about acoustics and how to mess around with it. He has created a free form 4 string guitar we call the Ghost Guitar. It is fascinating to watch his process as opposed to mine. He makes it, puts it together, plays it, and then rips it apart and tries different size sound holes, adjustments, materials and thicknesses. He is a sound scientist. I on the other hand follow my nature of Production work and develop systems that allow me to create many until I accidently hit on an interesting sound. It has been really fun and totally addictive. I have spent most of my time at IUP here in the shop. Thursday morning Peter and I went to The Goodwill and found wonderful tins to play with. I found a Doctor Pepper lunch box and have created a fun 4 -string guitar that says –I’m A Pepper on the front. I also found a Better Made tin and made a similar 4 string with that. The 4 -string guitar is strung with the first 4 strings of a regular 6 -string. I am able to play my 8 notes with it, and the studio is filled in the evening with my practice music (great hit songs like Yankee Doodle and AU Claire De La Lune.) Needless to say my fellow shop mates are incredibly patient.
I see this simple instrument making will be a really great skill to teach. It introduces woodworking, sculpture, and music. It is simple enough for all ages to make. It can be done with hand tools, and recyclables can be used for most parts.