Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Single String

The Single String has been kicking around for years now. It was my very first stringed instrument. I built it some four years ago when I was in a band called Manna Machine. The band was very experimental and then we broke up. It was during that time that the idea for the single string came to me. As you can plainly see there isn’t really all that much to the instrument. In fact, you could make one right in your own living room. That’s where I made mine. Actually that’s where I make all of my instruments. Ok, let’s get back to the topic at hand, building your own single string. First you need a salad bowl of the metal variety. Secondly you will need to get your hands on one of them fancy steam less grill stove top items that I like to call the chicken cooker. I think George Foreman makes one. You will notice as you scroll down this page that I use stainless steel salad bowls and chicken cookers a lot. No really I mean a lot. I should see if I can’t get some kind of endorsement out of these folks. Next you have to run down to your local hardware store and pick up a few items. A length of pipe used for plumbing roughly a foot and a half long. A floor flange that will attach to one end of your store bought pipe. And a cap, or nipple, that will attach to the other end of the pipe.

This is where a bit of work is involved. Take the newly purchased pipe out behind your building where you will find many different sewer grates. If you don’t have any grates behind your house you can use the ones behind mine. Place the pipe about half way down the grate and start bending one end up. Jump on it if you have to. I did. Be forewarned that actions like this often causes your neighbors to stare in fear or disgust, just calmly let them know that you are in fact building a musical instrument, and not attempting to free the thousands of rats that inhabit most sewer systems. If this doesn’t work just start acting crazy again and go about your business. Eventually they’ll get bored and start yelling at somebody else.

Ok, moving right along. So now you have your bent pipe with all it’s accoutrements, a salad bowl, and a chicken cooker. What’s next you ask? Good question. Take your piped up floor flange with nipple and mount it to the side of your salad bowl. This involve pre-drilling four holes into the bowl, hopefully in the same place as the four holes on you flange. Once this is done bolting them together is easy, which reminds me. When at the hardware store pick up eight or ten nuts and bolts, they come in handy.

Now that you have this done we can move on to the face plate of your single string. By this point you should know where your string is going to run, which will make it very easy to place your pick up. On the original Single String I placed the pick up underneath the face plate with successful results, but in subsequent instruments the pick up was placed atop the face plate. The placement of your output jack is completely up to you.

We can now move on to the string. Bore a small hole into the end of the nipple so you can feed your string through. Then line up the string so it runs over top of your pick up all they way down to the end of the plate, This is where you are going to have to put your machine head. Bore another hole and mount the machine head. Now the face plate is ready to be attached. Again bore a few holes around the outer rime of the plate and the salad bowl. Line them up and start bolting away.

All that is left to do now is the tuning of the string. I leave that up to you. Personally I enjoy A, D, or G. I really dislike E, but again it’s all about personal preference. Some people like E.

That’s it. Your Single Stringed Chicken Cooker is done. You are now ready to start rocking out. If you’re into that kind of stuff.

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