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Re: PREPARING INSTRUMENTS for LOOPING (and any other performance)

Fred Frith ain't got nothing on me when it comes to Prepared Guitar. But I never got very far outside of making the music.


I'm sure some of the old LD gang will remember me. We used to trade tapes a bunch. I took all my old PG stuff and digitized and remastered it. I loved doing prepared guitar pieces. Still do them every now and again. Always making sure to record the piece.

My favorite thing to use was this brass bookmark my Mother gave me. It really made the strings get a bell-like sound.

Thanks Matt for bringing this all back up. Yeah mine was between 96-98 too.


On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, Matt Davignon wrote:
A long, long time ago (~1996), prepared guitar was one of the big things I did. I wasn't terribly good at it.

I was a big fan of "drumstick as an alternate bridge". This requires you to tune the strings down so that they won't snap when you wedge a 1/2" drumstick underneath. You can use the drumstick as a tremolo bar. You can grab it with your hand and move the bridge, like Bradford Reed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btkf0BxM2Fo - apologies for the hippy-dancing cameraperson). You can also swat the drumstick with your hand and get a nice vibrating sound. If you are not also a drummer, consider trading a new pair of sticks for a drummer's old beat-up sticks. They make great sounds when you pull them under the strings.

I also enjoyed textured metal slides. I used to be good with a 9v battery, that after a year or so of use had lots of nice peaks and valleys in it. (I'd move the slide perpendicularly across the strings to make sound, so that I didn't need a pick.) I also used a textured metal handle from an exacto knife. (With the blade removed.) Without this, I'd maybe take a screwdriver or knitting needles and see if I can rough up the texture with some coarse sandpaper or something.

A regular slip of paper threaded through the strings can make a nice buzzing sound.

Fred Frith frequently uses a silk ribbon to get nice sounds...you can tell that takes a lot of practice, though.

Matt Davignon
Podcast! http://ribosomematt.podomatic.com

Rick Walker <looppool@cruzio.com> was all:
Tony's post about Bart Hopkins new book on Guitar Preparation got me inspired.

I have experimented with a lot of different ways to "prepare" instruments for unconventional

I thought it would be cool to assemble all the different creative ways everyone on this list has
figured out how to 'prepare' an instrument.