Hybrid


This Instrument is a work in progress, some of the design aspects are wonderful and some need a bit more development, as well as the overall weight needs to be reduced before I can truly be happy with it. 
This is bowable or can be plucked, and features a partially fretted fingerboard so that the lowest 2 strings can be played fretless up the length of the neck, (the 2nd string can be played on the frets or off) and the entire low range is fretless with a low action that makes it growl.  From the 7th fret position from the nut, frets begin and from here up it is identical to a 7 string guitar in tuning (low B set up), except radiused in a curve to allow bowing.  It uses railroad spikes as on a banjo to allow the strings to be essentially capo'ed individually, so some or all can be held where the fretting starts, or without stopping playing they can be opened to the full scale length, which is 36"--without use of the railroad spikes the tuning is almost identical to a 7 string bass, E A D G C E A, which makes the tuning in the 7th position at the zero fret B E A D G B E---built to take full advantage of tunings we all know well.  As an acoustic experiment that has worked out well in this one, it has inside the main resonance cavity a synthetic drum skin stretched at the back, connected by a soundpost to the bridge, which gives it a nice volume and pleasantly complex timbre acoustically.  It uses a combination of 2 piezo pickups, one on the top resonator and one directly on the drumskin which provides a deep reverby sound, in combination with a magnetic pickup to allow for many tonal variations, as well as many risk levels of feedback for those familiar with working with piezo pickups.  The magnetic can be used alone to entirely bypass piezo issues for high volumes, but in a quieter situation or a well monitored one the piezos have blend and separate tone knobs to fine tune various overtones that can be made present.  so far it is my most successful piezo wiring design for these new inventions I work on, this will probably be adapted to others in the near future.  In general, this has been a very successful experimental piece, and many of the concepts pioneered in this one will be repeated on new instruments or adapted onto older ones, I am very happy with the conceptual research that was tested on this one. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 In the photo to the left can be seen the percussive elements on this instrument.  the spring is split to 2 sections with different sonic properties, which are picked up by the magnetic pickup and the piezo pickups, and can create a great variety of sounds, particularly since this instrument is set up to be playable arco, with a bow as well as plucked.  On the tailpiece in mounted a chromatic electric mbira, or thumb piano, arranged like the black and white keys of a piano.   Why?  As a player, in both compositions and improvisations, even songs, I find it useful to be able to switch to modes of playing that are multitextural, without having to have a separate player play the part.  As such, on many of my unique designs, I incorporate abstract sound or percussive elements so the player can change their entire mode without picking up a new instrument.

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