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Musical saw. How do I make/play one?

GUEST,DaisyA 05 Jul 01 - 09:34 AM
IanC 05 Jul 01 - 09:41 AM
Gervase 05 Jul 01 - 10:02 AM
bill\sables 05 Jul 01 - 10:14 AM
RangerSteve 05 Jul 01 - 12:29 PM
Murray MacLeod 05 Jul 01 - 03:58 PM
KathWestra 05 Jul 01 - 05:02 PM
Susan of DT 05 Jul 01 - 06:20 PM
Art Thieme 05 Jul 01 - 06:36 PM
Jimmy C 06 Jul 01 - 11:50 AM
GUEST,Savanah 14 Jul 10 - 11:46 PM
The Fooles Troupe 15 Jul 10 - 02:19 AM
open mike 15 Jul 10 - 02:58 AM
GUEST,oldnickilby 15 Jul 10 - 04:35 AM
Roger the Skiffler 15 Jul 10 - 04:55 AM
GUEST,Katie the musical saw maker 15 Jul 10 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,Michelle 15 Jul 10 - 10:12 AM
JohnInKansas 15 Jul 10 - 11:14 AM
kendall 15 Jul 10 - 11:49 AM
frogprince 15 Jul 10 - 12:50 PM
GUEST 15 Jul 10 - 10:46 PM
Martha Burns 15 Jul 10 - 10:50 PM
Jayto 15 Jul 10 - 11:20 PM
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Subject: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST,DaisyA
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 09:34 AM

I really love the sound of a musical saw. Is there anybody out there who knows about them: can you use any old saw? do you use a cello bow? Does it wreck your cello bow?! What is their range? Tips for buying and playing please!

Thanks in advance, Daisy


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: IanC
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 09:41 AM

Daisy

It's just a saw, played with a fiddle bow.

Here's a useful page and here's another one. More info here.

There are quite a few pages on the web, as you can see.

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Gervase
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 10:02 AM

The Swedish toolmaker Sandvik actually makes and markets a toothless saw, specifically for musicians. Caspar Kronk, a regular at Sharp's in the UK, plays one beautifully.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: bill\sables
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 10:14 AM

You can get a saw from Lark in the Morning here


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 12:29 PM

There are saws made to be played, but I've found the best ones are saws that have actually been used as carpenters tools, the more used the better, they're more flexible. I know someone who added a small block of wood to the end opposite the handle so when he bends the saw it's less strain on his hand. Some people bow the saw for each note, but it's not necessary, one stroke of the bow will last for a few notes and it's less wear on the bow.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 03:58 PM

Ranger Steve, I think what you mean is that older saws are better for the job because they were ground thinner in the first place,thereby being inherently more flexible, and quite possibly the composition of the steel used contributes to a better sound than that used in modern saws. Also, just as in guitars, it is the better quality tools which survive.

Continued use does not make a handsaw "flexible", leastways not in my experience.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: KathWestra
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 05:02 PM

I hope Art Thieme weighs in on this one! He's a musical sawyer par excellence!


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Susan of DT
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 06:20 PM

There was another thread on this within the last year, I think. Can someone better at Forum Search find it? My machine timed out looking for it.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 05 Jul 01 - 06:36 PM

Hey, howdy,

In my experience, the Sandvig is just too stiff and too long. The most playable saw I haver found is the 28 inch one oruginally made by Clarence Mussehl in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. (not the 26 inch saw) It is still available from MUSSEHL AND WESTPHAL (I think/hope). Last I heard they were in East Troy, Wisconsin. 414-642-3649 W0626 Beech Drive---East Troy, WI 53120 Put Mussehl and Westphal into a search engine and it should pop up. (The biz is now owned and run by Steve and Mary Kay Dawson.)

It's great fun to hide in the bushes at Halloween time and make spooky noises on your saw...!!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Jimmy C
Date: 06 Jul 01 - 11:50 AM

Years ago I used to tinker around with saws, trying to get that haunting eerie sound. I had limited success. I worked at the time for a cabinet maker in Smithfield Market, Belfast. Every Saturday and old man used to sit on a corner and play his saw. He told me the best type is a well used carpenters saw, preferably a Philadelphia Made Henry Diston #8. (8 teeth to the inch). As it happened I was using a Diston # 8 in my job. It had been sharpened many time, almost to a point. I took it home one weekend and tried it. It was far superior to any of the other saws I had tried. I believe most Distons are now made in Japan., but you may pick up an old Philadelphia made one at a garage sale or flea market. Make sure the tip can be bent so that it goes through the handle. Check the stamping on the side, the name and plave of the manufacturer will be engraved there. I used a regular violin bow with lots of resin and a fingerless glove on my left hand.

Good luck.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST,Savanah
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 11:46 PM

I've recently started playing the saw, its been working out really well. I believe I over rosined my bow, it's hardly making a noise now, I'm not sure what happened or how to fix it.
Has anyone had this problem or know how to fix it?


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 02:19 AM

Too much rosin can be removed carefully with a little rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) - but then you need to re-rosin again - be careful that you do not damage the hair - it only works because it has a rough surface...
Clean the surface of the saw too, and start playing again - then add a littel more rosin until you get grip.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: open mike
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 02:58 AM

ask mudcat's own Reggie Miles http://www.myspace.com/reggiemiles you can see him in action on a video here on his space .


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST,oldnickilby
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 04:35 AM

Have just checked with Thomas Flynn in Sheffield who make Musical Saws,and lots of others, Costs range from£40 to £80 and they will make one for you
Phone 0114 2725387


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 04:55 AM

Reggie, that was fantastic (don't forget to look at his Goin' to Brownsville clip on the home made resonator and note the size of the slide!)

RtS


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST,Katie the musical saw maker
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 05:52 AM

Hi,
Just heard about this site from Nick(above comment) - he mentioned you may be interested in musical saws - we manufacture these at our factory in Sheffield.

We make 3 sizes, 22", 26" and 30" to give different ranges. We also sell the cheat, bow and rosin!

For more information on these, we have a website dedicated to these:
www.musicalsaws.co.uk
or from our website: www.flinn-garlick-saws.co.uk

Thanks,
Katie - Thomas Flinn & Co. Saw Manufacturers


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST,Michelle
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 10:12 AM

There is a Musical Saw Festival every summer in NYC and they have a workshop for saw players: http://www.musicalsawfestival.org
The next festival is August 7th, 2010.

Video from last year's festival: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuQp5WZY6fM


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 11:14 AM

Continued use does not make a handsaw "flexible"

I'll agree with Murray. The most common result is that continued use makes a really fine handsaw bent, after which it's pretty much useless as either a saw or as an instrument.

There have been good saws around for a very long time, but even in the times when a few "masters" could use the very best (and most specialized) of them the "run of the mill" saws were made stiff enough to take the brute force stab-n-yank technique of those who only used them occasionally - never enough to learn the proper use of a fine one for precision cutting of wood.

The average barn builder of course had little use for the really great (special) saws, and they'd have to buy out the estate of a master cabinet maker to even know they existed.

An "old master" cabinet man of my acquaintance, from a generation back - three generations back for most here, perhaps - had a collection (all in regular use) that was like going to an art museum just looking at them. A few were so "limp" it was hard to pick them up without putting a kink in them; but he had learned to push them straight through the wood. Those probably would have been too flexible for musical use. The whole collection was stored "on edge" in a rack up in the rafters in the wood shop, and as needed the right ones werre transported to the job "standing up" in a hand built case so they were never laid down on their side. He kept a couple of more ordinary ones that his kids were allowed to use, but I never had the nerve to touch any of his tools. They were just too pretty.

There would be little reason for anyone to make saws like some of his more extreme ones now. Nobody alive - that I know of - would be able to use them. Personally I have trouble getting a barn grade hand saw through a two-by without putting a kink in the saw, and am very thankful that there are now electric saws for me to use

- - - but they're not as musical.

John


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 11:49 AM

I knew a guy named Joe Mabus who played the saw in his performances. One day he tried to get it through airport security and he had to prove it was a musical instrument by playing it for the officers,.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: frogprince
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 12:50 PM

Kendall, I would have bet that was supposed to be Joel Mabus, except that I don't recall seeing Joel play saw.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 10:46 PM

Adding to Kendall's story ....
Bruce Hutton had that exact experience with a mouth bow, going through Indonesian airport security. As you may know, it looks just like an archer's bow, but with a wire for the string. He had to play it, too. And they did let him through, eventually. Maybe they couldn't find the arrows.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Martha Burns
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 10:50 PM

Uh oh. That last message was from me. I had to reset my cookie.


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Subject: RE: Musical saw. How do I make/play one?
From: Jayto
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 11:20 PM

I think my Fiancee got her's at singingsaw.com It came with a cello bow and a handle you put in the end of the blade to help with bending the blade. Hers is alot louder than a normal saw and was made just for music. It still has the teeth so if you need to get some sawing done between sets you are good to go haha. She wouldn't recommend wearing a short skirt or pantyhose while playing it. I pulled her up onstage one night and she had a short skirt on. We got a HUGE applause but not sure if it was the song or not that prompted it haha. There is an article on my website about saw playing and my Fiancee playing the saw if you want to check it out. It is on the press page.
This should take you right to the press page and article.


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