THE STRING CANS PROJECT is about splitting a guitar into six single-string tin-can instruments for use in community orchestras. They will change the music world, one string at a time.
STRING CANS 01 covered selecting suitable cans
STRING CANS 02 covered the cutting of a wooden front disc
IN THIS POST I show, in a series of images, how I cut the holes in the can to accept the stick.
The stick (or neck) I chose is a broomstick cut lengthways into a half-round. You could use a square or rectangular stick if you don't have a way of cutting a round stick in half. You could also plane one side of a round stick by hand. I think the half-round shape will be comfortable to play.
In the following pics I show the second can-hole being made. The first I had already done in this same way.
I have left the stick way too long to experiment with different string lengths. A guitar measures 650mm nut to bridge while a uke is just 330mm. I'll try different lengths, resonator discs and string gauges before gluing together. I think that this instrument is for string one, tuned to E4, 329.63 Hz. Also note that the stick will need to be recessed inside the can to allow room for the front disc to vibrate freely.
NEXT WEEK - strings, tuner and frets
The easiest is to use bought machine heads, but in case you want to make your own here are some good ideas. I found these all over the place but did not keep track of their source pages so this is a collage of images.
I really want to hear from you! but...
I'm having trouble with the comments box. When you click to comment the box appears black and so does the text so it's invisible. I'm working to sort this out. In the meantime perhaps write your comment in a temporary note or doc and paste it into the reply box. Once posted they seem to appear OK.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Outline of plans to develop one-string fretted instruments and publish as I go during January 2018
I have been building 'String Cans' since the mid nineties. My early designs featured a stretchy string across a high bridge and pitch was found using tension, not length. They are quite difficult to play in tune. The Graeme Leak String Quartet featured a range of sizes from bass to soprano. I made a particularly nice one for Patrick Cronin's 40th and immediately borrowed it back. He's never seen it since, except when we toured with the Spaghetti Western Orchestra. It even appeared on stage at the Royal Albert Hall. To see the video look here at the 11min mark.
Watch this space for progress reports as I develop the first prototype during January. I'm not sure exactly how this will work but I am excited about making something and publishing as I go. And you are most welcome to copy and create your own instrument at the same time.
Today the joined timber blank was cut into two giant bridges. They now need to be shaped, sanded and fitted. Ian Cassidy ("Hoppy") is waiting patiently in the wings with the marine varnish. Will be ready for the concert on Wednesday!
Sound Fence Update and some pages from the May Girgarre Gazette (below) with details of the concert on 17 May at 6pm.
It's been an action packed couple of weeks. I've not updated because I'm too busy keeping up with the Dickmans! On 19 April I showed the designs and a model of the Girgarre Sound Fence to a group of townsfolk, and the Dickmans (Rod, Peter, Andrew and James) offered to do the main post-and-wires-and-paths work. 'When do you think we can do it?' I asked. Pause. 'Next Wednesday?' said Rod. And so it was that on Wednesday 26 April some old posts were removed, the old fence tied off, new posts were put in place and the special tuning system was wired up with 8 turnbuckles. More work has happened since, to be detailed in the next posts.
2. Junk Drum Kit is well on the way
We used bits from the found Yamaha kit to make a Junk Drum Kit. Kirwan was there with her grandmother Gillian, who took a lot of the photos above. A few days later they visited again with Kirwan's mum Carmen, a wonderful drummer and percussionist. Together they improvised this piece which also served to initiate the almost-complete junk drum kit (with apologies to David Murphy).
Kids ruled at the Music Supermarket today as the first of two days of School Holiday sessions took place. We hosted little kids in the morning and bigger kids in the afternoon - they were all very interested in the contents of the shelves. Wallace Labbett's sheet metal violin proved a big hit, as did the other Jigarre Junkstrements kindly on loan. The sessions run again next Wednesday 12 April and are open to ANY AND ALL children - all details at here
On their last day before the holidays the Girgarre Primary School kids visited the Music Supermarket - in their pyjamas..! It was fantastic to see how interested they were in the collection and I was able to bring them up to speed on progress with the design of their playground installation. Before they came through the door I asked them 'whose place is this?' and they said 'your place' and I said 'no..' and they thought about it and someone said 'it's ours!'. Correct answer! The Music Supermarket is a community space, available to all residents of Girgarre and neighbouring towns.
THE STRING CANS PROJECT is about splitting a guitar into six single-string tin-can instruments for use in community orchestras.
This blog documents it as it evolves. The blueprints will be published and available for free to anyone who would like to build one.
Change the music world,
one string at a time.
INTRO 20 Dec 2017
INSPIRATION 24 Dec 2017
01 Tin Selection 01 Jan
02 Front Disc 02 Jan