Friday, 2 December 2016

Fine tuning the Drone instruments

Over the past few weeks we have been redesigning and modifying some of our existing instruments. In some instances the improvements are being made to make the instruments easier to transport and store, and in other cases the changes are to have an effect on the sound produced by the instrument.

We have been redesigning the tube gurdys so that they do not all need to have their own individual stands which take up lots of space and are difficult to transport. Rather than the wheel being fixed in the stand, we are making some hand-held wheels that can be used on a number of instruments.

Joe has been developing the wheel so as to produce the most consistent and least 'tinny' sound. There have been a number of trials that have not worked which is frustrating, but these have helped us get closer to what we want, so they were not in any way a waste. The wheels we are making at the moment are made from wood which creates a solid and robust sound. The rim of the wheel is covered with a band of felt, and then the felt is covered with fishing wire that has been wrapped in an even layer with no bumps. A layer of special strong glue is applied and then rosin. The wheel is then ready for turning against the strings on an instrument or against a tube on the tube gurdy.

The process of wrapping the fishing line around the wheel was incredibly tricky as my eyes found it difficult to keep track of the edge of the fishing line and ensure that it was not overlapping with the previous thread.

As Charlotte and I tackled the wheel, Joe and Ben were working on the wah-wah contraption. The theory was that by using springs at the bottom of the instrument, when the flap was opened and closed during playing, a kind of wah-wah sound would be made. Unfortunately, in practice this was not the case! iu hjbuu

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