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Homemade instruments?

Jane of 'ull 15 Jun 10 - 02:25 PM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 03:28 PM
DonMeixner 15 Jun 10 - 04:20 PM
Jane of 'ull 15 Jun 10 - 05:07 PM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 05:12 PM
Jane of 'ull 15 Jun 10 - 05:22 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Jun 10 - 06:12 PM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM
oggie 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM
bubblyrat 15 Jun 10 - 06:32 PM
Jane of 'ull 15 Jun 10 - 06:47 PM
Leadfingers 15 Jun 10 - 07:01 PM
Bonecruncher 15 Jun 10 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,Nick E 15 Jun 10 - 09:10 PM
GUEST 16 Jun 10 - 07:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 16 Jun 10 - 09:58 AM
Will Fly 16 Jun 10 - 10:23 AM
Bobert 16 Jun 10 - 12:36 PM
frogprince 16 Jun 10 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Bardan 16 Jun 10 - 03:02 PM
Mavis Enderby 16 Jun 10 - 03:16 PM
Jane of 'ull 16 Jun 10 - 03:52 PM
Will Fly 16 Jun 10 - 06:33 PM
banjoman 17 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM
Bobert 17 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM
Jane of 'ull 17 Jun 10 - 02:21 PM
Will Fly 17 Jun 10 - 03:55 PM
bubblyrat 18 Jun 10 - 06:49 AM
Bounty Hound 18 Jun 10 - 08:21 AM
Tattie Bogle 18 Jun 10 - 06:26 PM
GUEST,Bardan 19 Jun 10 - 06:08 AM
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Subject: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 02:25 PM

I've just acquired a 5 string banjo from a friend whose dad makes instruments for a hobby. I am delighted because to my ears it sounds just as good as those you would pay at least £200 for in a shop. It is all wood and has a small body and a closed back, and is fretless. It's got me wondering just how much truth there is in 'the more you pay the better the instrument'. Or does this only apply to some instruments? I would love a new fiddle too and have tried out some really nice sounding ones but can't afford the shop prices. Has anyone tried a homemade fiddle? My friend's dad makes fiddles and also makes harps, oh boy would I love to learn the harp!!


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 03:28 PM

Any one making instruments as a "hobby" can cost materials , but often seriously undervalues the labour involved ! A guy doing it for a living will have several instruments in process at any one time , and will still not become 'rich' !
If you cost the labour hours on even a basic , NOT Super Decorated instrument that you will sell for £1000 , the hourly rate is frighteningly low !!


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 04:20 PM

The Dominy Family of Long Island New York ran a workshop through 4 generations from the mid 18th century on into the 19th. Their scheme of payment for crafts was 3xs the materials cost. If a Tall Case clock cost $ 50.00 in Materials the Dominy Family would charge $50.00 dollars for the materials, $50.00 for the labor and over head, and $50.00 for the profit. This was their formulae in all things they made. I have used this principle for some dulcimers and banjos I have made and found it to be acceptable for instruments I was making as a craft item. If I were making a living off this work I would add another X to the equation.

Don


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 05:07 PM

I see what you mean about people making a living from it etc. What I was asking really is if these homemade instruments can sound as good as shop bought ones. It's a new phenomenon to me and something I know nothing about.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 05:12 PM

Someone making an instrument as a hobby will probably take more care an be more selective of material than someone who is making 'Chesp' instrunents on a commercial scale ! I wish I had a few mates who wanted to make intruments that they could give to me !
Any Hammered Dulcimer builders or Northumbroan Small Pipe Geeks looking for a Tester ??


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 05:22 PM

Yeah, I thought maybe a homemade fiddle would sound better than those horrible mass produced cheap ones made in China?


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:12 PM

There's a paradox there---I often wonder a) how can they sell them so cheaply? and b)how can i possibly afford to buy one.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM

Quite a lot of the Cheap and Cheerful stuff from China is OK - IF you know someone who can do a decent set up , and get something that is NOT Compo or plywood !


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: oggie
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:21 PM

Yes, a homemade instrument can sound as good as a shop bought one, even better. If your living doesn't depend on it you don't have to charge for every hour spent on it and your skill level can be just as high.

I know a woodturner who is also a shepherd. Every day when he goes out he takes a couple of pieces with him and as and when he sits on a hill, watching his flock and polishing them. The result is a finish to kill for and he always sells out but it is "found" time. If he charged for the hours he spent getting that finish his prices would be way more and he wouldn't sell as well. Same with hobby instrument makers.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:32 PM

A friend had a CD of music played by people in,I think ,East Anglia in the 20s or 30s----Tunes like Redwing Polka were played on homemade instruments,the players not being able to buy "proper" ones.They included fiddles,hammered dulcimers,and snare-drums,if my memory serves me , and quite a decent sound they made,too, I have to say.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 06:47 PM

Yes my friend's dad is retired so I guess he has the time to spend making these things. I heard that some homemade fiddles are different to the traditional hourglass shape and are more of a pear-drop shape, haven't heard of this before and wonder what they sound like? This is all very exciting!


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 07:01 PM

Back when I had my Mandolin built , the maker , Terry Docherty , was asked by a friend to make a fiddle for my friends wife ! The beast he built was not at all the Traditional Style fiddle but Bugger ! it was NICE !


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Bonecruncher
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 08:27 PM

I'll stick to my paper and comb!
Colyn.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: GUEST,Nick E
Date: 15 Jun 10 - 09:10 PM

I have a frien who was quite good at working with wooden instruments, for a time he worked with The Metroplitan Museum of Arts in NYC restoring instruments among other things. The coolest thing ever saw though was his Bagpipe made of a Totes Rubber Boot and used Bong Parts!


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 07:04 AM

Cigar box fiddles are quite common. Just google it for instructions


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 09:58 AM

Jane, it is time to talk turkey. You are exhibiting signs of a serious case of IAS - Instrument Acquisition Syndrome.

you say you would like a new fiddle. So apparently you already have a fiddle. Now you have a banjo. Have you learned to play it? What do you intend to do with it?

Next you want to play harp. I hang around with harpers. Harps look romantic and sound lovely, but playing strings that stretch way out in front of you is a knack. Some have it, and some don't. Try playing one and see if you like the way it feels.

As for the theory that 'the more you pay, the better the instrument,' I don't believe it at all. I have a lovely 3/4 size classical guitar from China (an Austin) which cost $125 U.S.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 10:23 AM

I have a good friend who makes stringed instruments - guitars, mandolins, bouzoukis, lutes, etc. - as a hobby, and he's been doing it for over 40 years. He sells his stuff - I have 4 of his instruments and have commissioned a 5th - and would like to know the difference between home-made and (non-factory) hand-made. All depends on playability and sound - and perhaps a tighter definition of "home-made". If I made a guitar at home, it would undoubtedly be bloody awful!

A brief, off-topic word on Chinese instruments. Not all instruments in China are factory mass-produced. I have a Jay Haide violin - hand-made in a small workshop in China - which would retail for around £1,000 in the UK. I tried it in a blind test - i.e. not knowing provenance or make - and found it warm and mature. My violin teacher, a conservatory trained professional musician had nothing but praise for it, and violin discussion group members who have purchased them appear to have similar opinions. Playability and sound are everything.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Bobert
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 12:36 PM

I perfrom with three different stringed instruments, two of which are home-made...

The first is a Lowebow, designed and built by John Lowe of Memphis, Tenn... It is a cigar box with two 1 1/4 inch dowel rods for a neck... It has 4 strings... One bass string with it's own pickup and output and the other 3 on the .012 t0 .032 range with two pickups and their own output port... The nut is movaable and consists of short steel rod and a capo behind it... I particularially like this instrument becasue it looks like some kinda primitive toy until...

...it's plugges in and then "Katie bar the door" 'cause this home-made instrument is for real!!!

My other home-made is a slab of wood with a ncek, two handwound pickups and f strings... It was designed by me and Ted Crocker, who built it for me... During it's design and construction pictures made it around the internet and somehow cuaght the eye of Danny Glover who had two similar geetars built for his movie, "The Honeydripper"... BTW, Ted calls it the "Back Porcher"... Anyone who has been to my facebook has seen it 'cause it's in my official Facbook picture... BTW, PART B... This geetar plays and sounds as good as any Telie out there...

B~


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: frogprince
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 01:15 PM

Bobert, wut didja record the "13 shades" disk with?


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 03:02 PM

hey someone else with a jay haide fiddle! I bought one a week ago or so and am more in love with it than I have ever been with a person.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 03:16 PM

I've made a couple of mandolins and a 5 string banjo from kits, all of which sound and play pretty well, at least as good as anything "commercial" I've heard or tried new. The mandolins in particular were very cheap, these were made from kits from International Violin (look under the "White instruments and kits" section). There are certainly prettier instruments out there, but my kit mandos and banjo have become my main instruments and have greatly surpassed my expectations. They were also interesting and rewarding to make.

I've also made an Electric Mandolin of my own design which IMHO wasn't half bad at all.

Not yet made any acoustic instruments but there are several in the pipeline, including gourd banjo from scratch (if we get a long enough summer to grow a decent gourd), and several conversions/hybrids including a short-scale 5 string banjo using a banjo mandolin pot and an old 12 string guitar that will eventually become an 11 string fretless guitar-oud. The only problem is finding the time - work keeps getting in the way!

I'd strongly recommend having a go - but beware as it can become an out of control hobby!

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 03:52 PM

I'd like to check out those Jay Haide violins. Leeneia, Yes I do have a fiddle but I also suffer from IDS (Instrument Dissatisfaction Syndrome) which affects a lot of musicians! I used to play 5 string banjo about 15 years ago and have been wanting to take it up again for ages but am skint. Which is why it was such a joy when my friend turned up with one, not only that but I could play it almost like it was yesterday!

I've never played a harp and it may be a problem stretching my arms out as I am short, but maybe a small one would work. I've just discovered the wonderful Joanna Newsom and was so inspired by her, just like I was by Nigel Kennedy who inspired me to play the violin. I love the sound of the hammered dulcimer too but don't know if I'd like hitting something with hammers! I guess I just love music!


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Jun 10 - 06:33 PM

hey someone else with a jay haide fiddle! I bought one a week ago or so and am more in love with it than I have ever been with a person.

Well, I wouldn't go quite that far, but I'm glad you're as pleased with it as I am with mine. :-)


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: banjoman
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 06:38 AM

I started making my own banjos abouy 10 years ago when I was retired on medical gtounds. Having played banjo ( guitar for over 50 years I decided that rather than sitting around I would have a go at making a banjo. The first few were playable but not impressive. I have managed to refine a few techniques and aquire a bit of machinery (lathe/drilling etc) and the results are as good as most of the instruments on sale in the local music shop (probably a lot better) I have managed to sell a few banjos but really make them for the pleasure of hearing the first tune played on a new instrument. As to the cost - well the materials can be costed but I have never tried to cost out the time I spend. I think that making a fiddle would be a lot more difficult as it requires glueing and clamping etc. May have a go someday


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Bobert
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 07:05 AM

F-prince,

I didn't have any of these instruments when I recorded "13 Shades of Blue"... It was a combination of resonators and gettars... One song was recorded on a 1930's Dobro tenor resonator...

Actually, I got both of these instruments within a few months of doing that recording...

Next recording I do will certainly feature these instruments...

B~


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 02:21 PM

Can I ask all of you who have a Jay Haide fiddle, where did you buy it from and how much did you pay for it? I've done a quick internet search on them and the prices varied enormously..


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jun 10 - 03:55 PM

Jane - I got mine from Angelus Violins in Storrington in West Sussex. The shop asking price was £950. I didn't pay that directly as I had a violin to trade in PX (and got a good price for it), but that's what I would have paid for it in full.


Angelus, 12 West St, Storrington, West Sussex, RH20 4EE

Tel: 01903 743220


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: bubblyrat
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 06:49 AM

And Chinese-made Guild guitars aren't bad,either---I am very pleased with mine !
       I haven't been to Sidmouth for a year or two now, but there always used to be a guy ( I knew him from Godalming folk-club) in the Bedford sessions with his home-made bagpipes ; the bag would typically be "Shaun the Sheep" or something equally ludicrous,and the chanter,drones etc were all made from plumbing fittings. They weren't very loud, but the sound wasn't too bad,actually !! Can't remember his bloody name,though ! Kevin ???.....


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 08:21 AM

Having purchased an electric mandolin that is the shape of a small telecaster, I fancied a matching pair and looked for an electric bouzouki, couldn't find anything that took my fancy, so put my 'O' level woodwork to good use and created my own telezouki!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30266469&l=60e59573d0&id=1430949048

John


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 18 Jun 10 - 06:26 PM

Check out the combuitar! Several videos also on Youtube to show how he made it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POEJ7vCpCI8&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Homemade instruments?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 19 Jun 10 - 06:08 AM

Bought mine in a shop called la chiave del violino in Rome. There was one for 800 euros or so and one for 1100 with a clear difference in sound between them so I went for the pricier one. The guy there said they tend to buy their violins at big fairs though and ship them back themselves so they can pick and choose particularly good ones out. (I.e. there might be a serious variation in quality.)


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