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String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic

Pierre Le Chapeau 05 Apr 09 - 06:38 PM
Jack Campin 05 Apr 09 - 07:36 PM
JohnInKansas 05 Apr 09 - 08:05 PM
Mysha 05 Apr 09 - 08:15 PM
catspaw49 05 Apr 09 - 09:36 PM
olddude 05 Apr 09 - 09:54 PM
Ross Campbell 05 Apr 09 - 10:44 PM
Ross Campbell 05 Apr 09 - 10:55 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 05 Apr 09 - 11:20 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 05 Apr 09 - 11:27 PM
frogprince 05 Apr 09 - 11:36 PM
GUEST 05 Apr 09 - 11:41 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 05 Apr 09 - 11:43 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 05 Apr 09 - 11:46 PM
Abdul The Bul Bul 05 Apr 09 - 11:46 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 12:14 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 12:32 AM
katlaughing 06 Apr 09 - 12:42 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 01:20 AM
Zen 06 Apr 09 - 05:57 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 07:53 AM
Dave Hanson 06 Apr 09 - 08:44 AM
Dead Horse 06 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM
mandotim 06 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 11:19 AM
catspaw49 06 Apr 09 - 12:06 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 03:16 PM
PHJim 06 Apr 09 - 04:23 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 06 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Apr 09 - 03:26 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 07 Apr 09 - 06:51 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 09 - 06:59 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Apr 09 - 07:00 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 08 Apr 09 - 06:29 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 08 Apr 09 - 06:47 PM
GUEST,woodsie 09 Apr 09 - 04:05 AM
Pierre Le Chapeau 09 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM
GUEST,wooden 09 Apr 09 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 09 Apr 09 - 06:51 PM
frogprince 09 Apr 09 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,Pierre Le Chapeau 09 Apr 09 - 09:30 PM
Gurney 10 Apr 09 - 01:17 AM
PHJim 14 Apr 09 - 01:56 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Nov 09 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,999 12 Nov 09 - 09:52 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 12 Nov 09 - 10:04 PM
GUEST,999 12 Nov 09 - 10:16 PM
Gurney 12 Nov 09 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,highlandman 12 Nov 09 - 11:02 PM
Pierre Le Chapeau 13 Nov 09 - 01:31 AM
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Subject: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 06:38 PM

Hi folks.
Most high tensioned stringed instuments are made from Wood very few plastic. Due to density of other materials would a stringed instument made of say Vinal ring out a sound comparable to a guitar or Mandolin or violin made of wood.Answers first if you please Enquires afterwards.
Regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Jack Campin
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 07:36 PM

I have seen a mandolin made out of perspex from the canopy of a German aircraft shot down over southern Scotland (it's in an antique shop in Falkland, Fife). I didn't hear it but the shopkeeper said it sounded terrible.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 08:05 PM

Vinyl is generally a fairly "soft" plastic with high damping for acoustic frequencies. Making a mandolin out of it would be about like making one out of rubber. Sustain would be expected to be somewhere between "lousy" and "you've gotta be kidding," although if you worked really hard at it you might make it sound like a banjo.

In some grades a polycarbonate or other "more exotic plastic" might be a little closer to the acoustic properties of more traditional materials.

Since a violin (or a hurdy gurdy) has a sustained input from the bow (wheel) sustain is less of a problem than with a plucked/struck instrument, but tone quality would still be something of an open question.

In either case, most of the more common plastics have a tendency to "creep" under load. They may be strong enough to hold the load without breaking; but will change their dimensions if the load is there for a long time. Even with wood, only some woods have appropriate creep resistance to be useful for the parts that hold the string tension.

The few stringed instruments successfully made of "plastic" generally have used very high "fill ratios" - with lots of carbon or glass - to "harden" the material and reduce the creep tendency, and use "plastics" that you're unlikely to find (affordably) available without significant investment in processing machinery and handling equipment.

You might get yourself a good TIG welder and try alumin(i)um if you're just looking for an adventure.

John


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Mysha
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 08:15 PM

Hi Pierre ,

I don't really know, but if I read your request correctly you're asking for uneducated opinions, so: I'd expect that it's the flexibility of the wood, and in a way it's relative softness, that give the character to the sound of most strings instruments.
I would expect that materials that can withstand the tension due to only their density would sound somewhat like an empty concrete house. That, of course, begs the question: What other materials do we have that could withstand the tension due to their structure? And would they make good instruments?

                                                                  Mysha


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: catspaw49
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 09:36 PM

How about Graphite?

nd of course Ovation with spruce tops but a bowlback made out of a composite synthetic much like is used in helicopter blades(for good reason)

Never suggest that any non-wooden guitar can sound decent as1001 opinionated pickers will pitch a bitch. Ya' know there's an old saying about boats........"If God had wanted fiberglass boats, he'd have planted fiberglass trees." Stupid of course as is the idea that only aged Brazilian Rosewood and Engleman Spruce can make a good guitar. Or that only Martin can make a guitar. Or any of a hundred other bullshit things.


It is true that better guitars have better materials and as of yet no Plastic Fantastic" has come down the road.....but it could.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: olddude
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 09:54 PM

Oh boy, like spaw said I really like the sound of an old ovation. My buddie has one and I never played a guitar with better action and the soft rich sound it more than ok for this old picker. So I guess they are coming. I will say I don't much care for the composite martins i have played but maybe I am just use to my old d28


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 10:44 PM

There's nothing new under the sun -

http://www.usd.edu/smm/PluckedStrings/Guitars/Maccaferri/10458/G40Guitar.html


Ross


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 10:55 PM

You could have had one, but Chris in Queensland got there first -

http://www.grouseguitars.com.au/sold/maccaferri.htm

Ross


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:20 PM

Ok I am working at present on a vinal floor tile guitar. I have made the base from the left over tiles from my Kitchen and hall.

Thanks for your replys here,s what Ive been up to.

I got a template from my Mandolin and built up a sound box that is both sturdy and hardy.there is no give at all.

The problem is to get the sturdyness that I think will hold the instument together I have had to build up several layer of these tiles to form the back and front.

To make the sides took even more and that has caused yet another two problems 1)instead of being Mandolin size it is nown the size of a Guitar and 2 its weighs quite abit but not has much has your imagine without lifting it yourselfsits not that bad.
Due to unforseen size problems
I have decided to change from Mandolin to guitar and last night I fitted a spare Yamaha Bridge with both Glue and screws and clamped it all down for 24 hours. Being Vinal it has stuck very well and I sure it will hold to the tension bridge end that is required?

My next stage is to cut out the sound hole which I shall do today.
that is not a problem.

All in all its quite a tidy looking thing has the vinal is easy to work with and easy to shape and cut.
I have reinforced the body inside with a Aircraft wing type lattace work around the eadges again all vinal. I found heat made this fall to pieces and the whole structure callapsed in on it self so I reinforced the lattace work inside with a very simple remedy which I wont yet disclose. Untill the sound hole is cut and I can rig up a string to see what a sound if any I get from it.

Thanks again for your replys. Please tell me your thoughts and in response I tell you folk the out come of this venture.

Thanks again Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:27 PM

PS if it dont sound it will make a great Garden feature?


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: frogprince
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:36 PM

My thoughts? I'm laughing myself dizzy. I can't imagine the thing will either have any tone or be remotely playable. I'd say you're crazy, but it sounds like you're having some fun, and not taking this at all seriously. Pictures, please, when you get it finished!


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:41 PM

Pierre, have you kept the checkerboard pattern that really makes these tiles look so good?

Al


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:43 PM

Indeed I set up a photo shot on my phone has stages of construction take place but I wont put picture on Mudcat untill completely finished. It looks great. Im having fun and your right I am not taking the venture seriously. I do night work. 13hour shifts. single posting give me something to do on me breaks.and when works slack.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:46 PM

Checkered board pattern. No.. it two Wood Ptterns Dark Oak sides and Pine Front and Back.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Abdul The Bul Bul
Date: 05 Apr 09 - 11:46 PM

The "Guest" above has now realised he is on a different computer in a different land and has reset his cookie

Al


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 12:14 AM

Abdul The Bul Bul.
Dont mock before you have seen it? A day worker at my work thought
from 2ft away it was a real Guitar Base without the neck.

Im pretty good when it come to working with me hands. Its looks real.and Im confident it would fool folk once complete on a guitar stand. Has for the sound who cares it aint cost me nothing and if it wont sound then it will make a good Hall way or Garden Curiousity.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 12:32 AM

"I know folk who have real guitars dont or cant play them and there a permanent Lounge or Hall way Curiousity.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 12:42 AM

Pierre, This Fellow would be interested in what you are doing, I'll bet! He is quite inventive, too. I look forward to seeing pictures and hope to hear some *sound?*

kat


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 01:20 AM

Thanks Katlaughing.
I just about to finish me shift so I take a better look later from what I seen it quite Bizaar but good luck to him.

I will post a picture of mine prior to putting the neck on. The neck will be from a old broken guitar.
I have been at this two months now and I think the body carving may take a week or so.Bear with us.
There is only one person from Mudcat who has seen my instument and this is Woodsie who saw it at Blackheath Folk club in its very early stages 2 months back.I got the idea from a STREET MUSICIAN in Londons Camden Market.
Regards Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Zen
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 05:57 AM

Peter Mix makes highly thought of carbon fibre mandolins. Sound clips of the various styles are available on the link posted. They are a little too bright for my personal preferences as compared with my own A5 carved spruce top but I know many people like this sound.

Zen


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 07:53 AM

Hi Zen
some of those instruments are excellent.
They do sound very bright some of them but I like the sounds. I also like the sound of a Mournful Mandolin in Wood to has in all things its a matter of one prefers. thank you.

I am stopping work on my guitar base today because I hope to take a couple of photographs tonight and put them on this site so some folk can see for themselves what I am talking about in the above threads and that I have not gone stark staring Mad.

This will be the first time I have shown the instrument so if all goes well you will see where Im am coming from.
You will not see a sound hole because that is the next job so I post photos first. The sound hole is clearly marked out in pencil. Actions speak louder then words my next posting should show my vinyl base, without neck and sound hole.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 08:44 AM

Trouble with the carbon fibre mandolins is that they will always sound the same, a good spruce top will open up and sound better with age.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Dead Horse
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 09:12 AM

Are they Marley Tiles?
If so, the instrument would only be good for reggae music. :-)


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: mandotim
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM

Hi Zen; Peter Mix does indeed make some fine mandolins, having been one of the driving forces at Rigel for many years. To say the carbon fibre mandolins are 'too bright' may be true for an individual instrument; but Peter works closely with ace mandolin maker Will Kimble, and they can produce a mandolin with any sound you like, from bright and ringing to a full-throated woody 'chop', and all points in between. They do this by tweaking the 'layering' of the top, the thickness of the body skin and the direction of weave of the various laminate layers of carbon fibre. Oval or 'f' holes makes a difference too. I've played five of these now, and the two that were meant to sound the same did just that; the other three were very different beasts. Early days for Peter, but the stuff so far is very promising. No, the sound won't change much over time, if at all; but bear in mind that not all old instruments sound great. I've played old Gibson mandolins and older guitars that just sounded tired and flabby, with no definition to their tone at all.
I have a Rainsong carbon fibre guitar, and it's a great working instrument, with the advantage that it really does stay in tune irrespective of temperature and humidity. Carbon fibre cellos are starting to appear in good orchestras, and of course the carbon fibre bow has been around for a long time.
I never did 'get' Ovations though. Too quiet for my tastes!
Tim


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 11:19 AM

One always gets a good laugh from Dead Horse.

The sound hole is a problem, I do not know what size to make it ? The size of the guitar is taken has I said from a template from me Mandolin, But due to the build up of front and back and sides it is now more the size now of a traveling guitar but shaped like a Mandolin. If I make the sound hole to big I fear the density of the material will make it soundless, there again if I make it to small the sound wont reach the depths of the inner body. which is only
5 inches in depth all round. I guess perhaps I should make it the same size sound hole in diameter has my Traveling guitar.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 12:06 PM

I have had good luck ordering soundholes from Larrivee Guitars. If you like I can sell you a couple of extras I have for a pretty cheap price. Both soundholes are well crafted and flawless in their entirety. Let me know as I can let them go for $25.00 each and you pay the shipping. I was thinking of putting them in the auction here at Mudcat but if you can use them, let me know!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 03:16 PM

Thanks Catspaw49
But that be necessary. Thanks again


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: PHJim
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 04:23 PM

National and Johnson both make good sounding metal mandolins, guitars...


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 06:36 PM

iam very grateful 4 all this feed back


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 03:26 PM

Garrison guitars combine solid woods with a one piece composite frame.

Garrison


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 06:51 PM

Photos coming soon . of the body.
Pierre please bear with us Bear with us?


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 06:59 PM

Titanium for electric fiddles beautiful rainbow colors


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 07:00 PM

IMHO Garrisons are horrid. I have seen the wood tear itself apart due to shrinkage while the edges are rigidly fixed to the fibreglass (or whatever) frame.

To tune the soundhole, you need to measure the internal volume of the body and then look up physics books on Helmolz resonators - or the many pages on the internet about designing bass reflex speaker cabinets. I remember a good one as being the subwoofer diy page.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 08 Apr 09 - 06:29 AM

thanks Richard.
thats very helpful.
I am having photos taken of the body of this model I am making this evening. You wont see the pencil markings for the sound hole they are wrong so I have removed them.

The photos will be done this evening at Folkmob by Woodsie and he will post them onto Mudcat on my behalf has I am having problems with my new BT email service. Simply it dont bloody work.
Everything its says to do I have done and none of it works. -Bloody Parlarva. Then when I phoned the help line the lady on the other end sounded like a Darlek and I could not understand a bloody thing she said to me. I give up it a glorious day,I am going out.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 08 Apr 09 - 06:47 PM

photos taken watch this space.
Confusion reigns down folkmob people say it looks like a Mandolin>


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,woodsie
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 04:05 AM

Here are some photographs of Pierre's work in progress FTG base


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 05:33 AM

Woodsie your a genius thanks Mate.
The guitar is no where near finished has the photos show. The next Job is to fix the lower bridge saddle. and then at least four coats of varnish.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,wooden
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 05:41 PM

refr


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 06:51 PM

Here's Shel Silverstein's take on the subject:

Now a little bitty termite, he come knockin',
Knockin' at my front door,
He walked right in, sat right down
Started nibblin' on the kitchen floor
He chewed on the walls and the ceilings and the halls --
Lord knows he tried --
But he kept a-gettin' thinner


And he never got no dinner
And finally he sat up and cried...

He said, "It's plastic, good Lord, it's plastic!
I know it ain't no wood
And it can't do me no good,
Because it's plastic -- and you can't eat plastic,
Everything's gonna be plastic by and by!"

Then one afternoon in the month of June
I went down to the beach.
There were cuties and beauties in little bathin' suities
And all of them within my reach.
Then a 38-24-36 miss just happened to be passin' my way.
I said, "Please don't think I'm nervy, but you look so very curvy
Please tell me how you got that way!"
She said, "It's plastic -- it's only plastic,
It's pretty as can be, but you know that it ain't me,
Because they're plastic, oh yes they're plastic,
Everything's gonna be plastic by and by."


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: frogprince
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 08:51 PM

I'm hoping that the thing comes out realistic enough to be mistaken for a "real" instrument, at least at a fairly close glance; I want to imagine Pierre extending it to some innocent picker, offering him a chance to try it, and watching his face when he feels the weight of it and starts trying to figure out what'nhells going on.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 09 Apr 09 - 09:30 PM

Hi Frog Prince ,

Its far from finished yet very early stages. I continue to post photos throughout" also Frog Prince Dont Judge a book by its cover,Its not has heavy has it looks. I dont rush things I take me time.   The folk at my club were shocked at how heavy it looked. It not heavy at all in comparision to a Heavy Gibson?

Nice verse Tj in San Diego. more photos when ever?
I posta new photo thread.
Take it easy Pierre.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Gurney
Date: 10 Apr 09 - 01:17 AM

Quite a few string instruments have been made from paper-mache. No idea what adhesive was used, but when they were made, there were no 'modern' adhesives.
They were real instruments.


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: PHJim
Date: 14 Apr 09 - 01:56 PM

Has anyone mentioned cardboard dulcimers?
http://www.backyardmusic.com/About_Dulcimers.html


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Subject: RE: Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 09:43 PM

Hi folks
I will bring this thread back to life due to ineterst shown on another thread.


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 09:52 PM

Carbon fiber is the way to go.


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:04 PM

Hi Guest 999 I finish the fvinyl first I think.
I state in a upper thread that the Vinyl Guitar is not heavy.
Well it is now another 20 layers has been added.


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,999
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:16 PM

Some instruments with approximate costs.


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Gurney
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 10:59 PM

Does it HAVE to be wood? Not unless you want it to sound like the real thing!

I once made a stainless-steel bridge with an incorporated 'bone' for a guitar. It sounded true and loud, but tinny, and nothing like an ordinary guitar.


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: GUEST,highlandman
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:02 PM

One of my uncles kept a molded plastic guitar (called an "Islander" I think) in a closet at the beach house. Real guitars wouldn't stand the neglect and the environment. We would haul the thing down onto the sand for a campfire sing now and then, with no cares about getting sand or salt in it.
As I recall it was a hard plastic and pretty brittle feeling, probably had a high filler content. But it held up to the string tension, it was playable, and the sound was recognizable as a guitar (as opposed to, say, a cereal carton). Not great by any means but functional.
Eventually, though, it was left with the strings tensioned, the heat got to it, and it bowed up into a potato chip.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: String Instrument:Has it got to be wood or plastic
From: Pierre Le Chapeau
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 01:31 AM

Thats a shame Highlandman I bet it was unque there are some plastic Guitars on this thread on upper postings(Links) was it like one of those?
Regards Pierre.


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