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Re: Daevid Allen/glissando guitar

on a related note, wild fun can be had with a bottleneck, a dl4
and a fernandez sustainer guitar, which essentially is a guitar
with a built-in ebow for all 6 strings. accomplishes what the
gizmo was going for, with out the messy huge box over the bridge...

On Tuesday, July 13, 2004, at 06:24 AM, goddard.duncan@mtvne.com wrote:

>>I seem to recall an interview a million years ago, where Allen talked about using handles of surgical instruments for this effect because of the quality of the metal. (?)<<

I've studied this in some depth over the last 25 years, though somewhat incidentally. we used to listen to allen & hillage on the gong albums, & then hillage's solo output with guys like christian boule & (yet another) dave stewart scraping away with discarded tremelo arms, it looked like.

in 1979 a guitarist I was working with explained what was going on. he used to use a screwdriver but had terrible problems with squealing & general unpleasantness. he explained that making chord shapes was pointless because the implement doesn't just bow the strings like a violin bow would, but actually "stops" the strings aswell. it's actually a quite different effect than bowing, & might have been what godley&creme were trying to achieve with the gizmo.

this means you end up using an open & moveable tuning, like dropping the top E to D. also, the best results were achieved by pinching the lower three strings (E, A & D) out of the way of the implement, & rolling off most of the top.  the implement has to be perpendicular to the neck, so parallel to the fret markers & more-or-less directly over them. &, as with a slide, the strings should never touch the neck or frets.

the echo device used to sustain the sound (tape echo worked best) should also have it's top-end rolled off; we used to use a tape-deck with three heads for echo in those days, & it was possible to use the machine's tone controls in it's feedback loop so as to progressively attenuate the top end & get loads of repeats. the dl4 can do this quite well.

we settled on the handle/jaw of a small set of gas-pliers, which I dismantled into two halves for the purpose. the texture of the handle area was just right, being a deliberately roughened "grip" made from chrome-vanadium. I still have the thing now somewhere. the business end of the plier & the far-end of the handle both curved neatly out of the action area, making it easy to hold & use.

nothing else I've tried for gliss-guitar has been anything like as effective.



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bruce tovsky