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How do you play a Saw?

Jayto 09 Jun 09 - 08:05 PM
TIA 09 Jun 09 - 08:09 PM
Deckman 09 Jun 09 - 08:14 PM
Peace 09 Jun 09 - 08:14 PM
Peace 09 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM
Rowan 09 Jun 09 - 08:34 PM
Peace 09 Jun 09 - 08:37 PM
Songster Bob 09 Jun 09 - 09:00 PM
Ref 09 Jun 09 - 09:12 PM
open mike 09 Jun 09 - 09:40 PM
Eve Goldberg 09 Jun 09 - 09:50 PM
Eve Goldberg 09 Jun 09 - 09:51 PM
maeve 09 Jun 09 - 10:02 PM
open mike 09 Jun 09 - 10:17 PM
catspaw49 09 Jun 09 - 10:31 PM
GUEST,.gargoyole 09 Jun 09 - 11:04 PM
Don Firth 09 Jun 09 - 11:05 PM
Ron Davies 09 Jun 09 - 11:05 PM
Jayto 10 Jun 09 - 12:10 AM
Jayto 10 Jun 09 - 12:20 PM
Jayto 10 Jun 09 - 12:21 PM
Jayto 10 Jun 09 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 10 Jun 09 - 12:54 PM
dwditty 10 Jun 09 - 01:31 PM
RTim 10 Jun 09 - 02:55 PM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Jun 09 - 03:15 PM
Bruce from Bathurst 11 Jun 09 - 01:15 AM
reggie miles 11 Jun 09 - 03:27 AM
GUEST 11 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM
reggie miles 11 Jun 09 - 09:47 AM
PHJim 11 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM
GUEST,Neil D 11 Jun 09 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 11 Jun 09 - 01:11 PM
Art Thieme 11 Jun 09 - 10:22 PM
BK Lick 12 Jun 09 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,OldNicKilby 12 Jun 09 - 04:56 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 12 Jun 09 - 11:01 AM
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Subject: How do you play a Saw?
From: Jayto
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:05 PM

How do you play a saw? I have heard them on recordings but not sure how they play them. Do you hit it or bow it? Does anyone on here know.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: TIA
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:09 PM

Hold it between your knees, and bend it into and S-shape.
Pull sideways, and bend the tip by bracing your thumb against it and pulling with your fingertips.
Then you can change the pitch by moving your hand (i.e. increasing the main bend - keep the tip bend the same with thumb and fingers).
It can be either struck or bowed.
Bowing is kind of spooky.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Deckman
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:14 PM

Don't ferget to wear a steel jock strap ... or just ask Reggie Miles. He's the world's greatest saw player. Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:14 PM

Here ya go, buddy. Youtube.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM

Bob would know. He's a carpenter.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:34 PM

A blade that has more length and is more flexible than many currently in the shops may be the go.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 08:37 PM

I hear that. Ya have to have a thumb of steel (maybe the Gov of California could try saw?). The sound is beautiful, and I understand (I think) that there are saws made with the intent they be played by musicians. (I may be wrong.)


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:00 PM

Yes, there are purposely-made "playing" saws -- the teeth have no "set" and are dull. I don't know why they don't go whole-hog and make 'em without teeth, but there you are.

Bob


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Ref
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:12 PM

The same way a courteous person would play a theramin. Privately.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: open mike
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:40 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v-k19w1-KM&feature=related

http://www.sawlady.com/DifferentSaws.htm

http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/SVSAW.htm

Sandvik Stradivarius saws from Sweden are the most common and popular.

http://www.sawplayers.org/Saw_Instructions.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musical_saw

here is our very own mudcat Reggie Miles--who gives workshops

and i am sure he would agree the most important lesson is :

play carefully!!

http://www.geocities.com/nobro2/

http://www.myspace.com/reggiemiles

also see Robert Armstrong...who is best known for playing saw on
the "one flew over the cuckoos nest" sound track
http://www.geocities.com/artandnoveltyhut/


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:50 PM

And here's a link to a musical saw festival:

http://musicalsawfestival.org/


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Eve Goldberg
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 09:51 PM

Oops, should have made that a clicky:

http://musicalsawfestival.org/


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: maeve
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:02 PM

Hey there, Jayto.

My husband finds his musical saws where used tools are sold. Some of the older saws are more resonant and "shimmery" than newer tools. He also uses a gripping tool he has re-purposed to avoid stressing his left hand and thumb. He uses a violin bow.

You can tell a lot about whether a particular saw will be well suited by bending the blade and rapping it, flexing the blade as described above to hear the changes in pitch and tone.

I love the sound! It's reminiscent of the eerie and lovely Aeolian harp.

maeve


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: open mike
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:17 PM

i would prefer a cello bow...


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 10:31 PM

Well, you need a whole shitload of them and a lot of other stuff. They all play a different note such as Skilsaw in Bflat and Makita jigsaw in D. The DeWalt band saw in C is very popular of course but expensive as is the Porter chopsaw in E. Hook 'em all up to a gang plug with remote switches and you're ready for tunes with harmony! For special effects, run some rock maple across the table saw while you turn the sabre saw on and off.....just beautiful, but sorta' like playing an autoharp from hell.

If you're talking about a hand saw, the important thing is not the sound. The important thing is to not let the teeth hit you in the nuts.

When I went to college I must admit to being appalled that the Dean of Men took great pride in his abilty to play a saw....badly I might add. His only other known talent was putting me on probation for some new infraction every other month. He did gain some on campus fame when, after a racially motivated fight, he said that one participant over-reacted and the other had an over-reaction to the over-reaction. Look up "jackleg motherfucker" in the encyclopedia and his picture is right there.


Spaw


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,.gargoyole
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:04 PM

I learned from Mudcat. In a similar post. You Tube was not around then.

The warble - bend - warp - whine - wail ... is better than a steel guitar....and more difficult to control....definately a novelty instrument...for a solo.

I suggest the hammer first.. rather than the bow. Raw (un-oiled) abaca (the raw fiber Manila rope is constructed from) with rosin on the bow works well...and is cheaper but harder to find than horse-hair. Steel- wool is good on the saw-backside after playing.

The "block" (opposite of the built-in handle)works better if it is dense like glass or metal or hard plastic)

It would be interesting to attach an electrical pick-up lead for amplification....if they do it to fiddles...why not the saw?

HAVE FUN ! ! !

This is a GREAT learning activity for summer...the humidity gives the right grip to the rosin.

I have not yet tried Crosscut vs Rip - but I do know the intended for music kind is MUCH easier.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

My grandfather's red-plastic handled Craftsman works better than the newer wood handle Ace Hardware.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:05 PM

If a musical saw player wants to tune your guitar with his saw, grab your guitar and RUN!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 09 Jun 09 - 11:05 PM

There were 2 saw-players at the Washington Folk Festival at the end of May this year--both involved with the skiffle band which traditionally closes the festival. I asked one if her saw was specifically made for the purpose--she said yes. The other player kept his saw in a dulcimer case--I thought that was pretty neat.   Each took breaks in various skiffle songs--on stage or in the grove--and was highly appreciated.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Jayto
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:10 AM

Thank ya'll. Bowing is spooky huh. Just what I am wanting. It sounds kind of like a theremin like that doesnt it?
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Jayto
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:20 PM

How do I put a trace on this thread? I want to trace it to make it easier to pull up when I want to refrence it.
Thanks
JT


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Jayto
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:21 PM

I see duh lol thanks anyway
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Jayto
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:22 PM

Thanks Peace for the link. That is the sound I was wanting exactley. I am excited now thanks.
cya
JT


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 12:54 PM

"and I understand (I think) that there are saws made with the intent they be played by musicians. (I may be wrong.)"

Sorry but that's sort of an oxymoron.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: dwditty
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 01:31 PM

My friend Ken "Sawman" Welch (RIP) was a second generation saw player, having learned from his Dad at a young age. Best I ever heard. One Christmas Eve in church he performed a selection from The Messiah with organ and cello. He had an impeccable ear which made his playing pure pleasure to listen to.

dw


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: RTim
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 02:55 PM

If between the knees - Very Very Carefully!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Jun 09 - 03:15 PM

Jayto, I agree that it sounds rather like a theremin. Not that I can stand to listen to theremin or to musical saw for more than a minute or two. Two many frequencies at one time for my sensitive ears.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Bruce from Bathurst
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:15 AM

Here's a tutorial on saw playing from Judy Turner

Judy is a very fine fiddle player from Melbourne who dabbles in saw-ology when the mood takes her.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: reggie miles
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 03:27 AM

I agree that it sounds very similar to a Theremin but I think that a Theremin is much more difficult to master. I call the musical a Theremin unplugged or the acoustic Theremin.

As others have suggested place the handle of the saw loosely between your thighs just back from your knees a little.

The tip of the blade can be gripped with a couple of fingers under and the thumb on top and about two inches from the end. The pressure on this grip should not be overly applied as it will cause excess stress on the thumb and fingers. Simply grip it with a slight pressure in this manner. This grip is what makes the blade able to create musical tones.

I'm right handed and I hold the tip of my saw with my left hand. I bow with my right hand.

To create vibrato or that warble that many use to sustain notes while playing, I lift the heel of my right foot up off the ground a couple of inches, while the ball and toes of my right foot are kept fixed on the ground. I then bounce my foot gently. I try to use this idea with care, so as not to over do it.

One point that some of the previous posts did not mention is the use of rosin for your bow hair. I use a brand of rosin called Pops. It's meant to be used by upright bass players. It's very sticky but I find that it works well for me. I find violin rosin far too powdery. When I tried using it, I found that my bow slips instead of gripping the blade as I play.

Yes, there are saws that are made especially for playing music but you can also play regular wood cutting saw blades as well. It just becomes a challenge to find one that will offer you the best sound possibilities. If you have or run across any Sandvik brand saws you'll find them to be among the best for offering musical qualities for playing. Sandvik also makes a 30 inch long musical saw called the Stradivarius. They sell them for about $80 USD. But any of the regular Sandvik blades will give you lots of music. Even their bottom of the line saws with the plastic handles. I think that they're one of the best musical saws available. It's the Swedish steel that makes them such good candidates for music.

Once your bow has rosin on it and you are gripping the tip properly and while the blade is nearly flat or with a very slight bend you'll find that the first note that you can make clearly is located about four or five inches up from the handle. Start bowing there. Then, while maintaining the tip grip, the more you bend the main part of the blade, the higher up the blade you have to bow. This is the part that takes practice.

I started out playing simple melodies and gradually increased my level of difficulty until now I can easily play by ear along with many ballads and slow to medium paced songs. I still have some difficulty with fast paced music. I don't really think that the saw is well suited for such. After all, I am flexing razor sharp spring steel betwixt my knees as I play. The pointy parts are mere millimeters away from body parts that I hold both near and dear as I play. One slip of my clammy grip and...well, many body parts don't grow back. You know what I mean?

Have fun!


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 08:34 AM

A wood block (walnut, maple, cherry - I use nara) one inch thick 2.5 inch wide by 5 inch lone- with a 30 degree cut one inch in from the end. It holds the saw tip well, adds acoustic resonance - and most inportantly is easy on the hand since flexing the wrist has leverage.

The "Swedish Steel" explains why grandfather's clear purple plactic handle works so well.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: reggie miles
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 09:47 AM

There have been many folks that have developed various handles to grip the tip of the saw blade with and I have no doubt that many more will come along as folks try to avoid that particular task. I have suffered no ill effects after nearly twenty years of playing in the more traditional approach of using my thumb and fingers. Like playing the guitar and developing tough finger tips as a result, playing the saw with just your hand is not as difficult as some might believe but like every endeavor it can be a challenge.

Bowing the blade was as big a challenge for me when I first started to play. I had never bowed an instrument before. Getting the bow to function in both the up stroke and down was also difficult to master. I started out by just bowing in one direction but as the melodies that I chose to explore became more complex I needed to work on the technique of bowing in both the up and downward strokes, in order to more easily master playing more quickly and more difficult melodic compositions.

When you add one of the many fancy handles dohickeys out there to do the work that your fingers were doing, you're simply trading one set of muscles for another. The actual work load is the same. I don't believe that any of those various handles really adds anything or saves you from the stress involved.

The blade can only vibrate within specific parameters. It cannot offer additional resonance where it does not move due to being muted by gripping it with either your hand or any device. Just as the handle of the saw that rests between your knees mutes the blade due to being bolted to it and the handle itself is muted by the contact it has with your legs. That's my belief.

Sawwwwwwwwwwwwww ya later vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: PHJim
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:26 AM

A Peterborough, Ontario group called The Silverhearts features both saw and theramin players.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 12:35 PM

I never did play a saw although,
I once saw a play.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 01:11 PM

Someone above referred to the California Governor as a possible player (citing his "Governator" persona). Things have gotten so bad in our former Golden State that some would probably suggest he use his neck to bend the saw...oops...


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Jun 09 - 10:22 PM

I did play a saw for about 30 years--in almost all of my show--mostly as a way to further show people that for the most part this folk music of ours was homemade music where things already around the house might be utilized to make music.

Clarence Mussehl was my mentor. He played from the 1920s until he died. In California, the main saw person was the grand old Wobbly, Tom Scribner. There is a statue of Tom playing his instrument in his home town Santa Cruz, CA.

For a great overall read, I'd like to suggest a book titled SCRATCH MY BACK by Jim Leonard

It is published by:
Kaleidoscope Press
1601 MacArthur -- 12F
Santa Ana, California 92704

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: BK Lick
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 12:57 AM

If you like, you can listen to Art's rendering of Summertime and Home On the Range and Red River Valley.


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,OldNicKilby
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 04:56 AM

If you are looking for a saw then you could try
Thomas Flynn
Sheffield
England
If you talk niceley to the Boss, Phillip Flynn then he will make you one
0114 2725387
or add 00 44 and drop the 0 if you are outside U K


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Subject: RE: How do you play a Saw?
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 12 Jun 09 - 11:01 AM

The saws that I have seen played well are rather thinner metal that yer average Cross-Cut. Btween the thighs and bend the top.
And perfect pitch probably helps.


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