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Re: Percussive Sounds on El. Guitar


-----Original Message-----
>From: "loop.pool" <looppool@cruzio.com>
>Sent: Feb 23, 2006 6:15 AM
>To: "LOOPERS DELIGHT (posting)" <Loopers-Delight@loopers-delight.com>
>Cc: "Rick Walker/Loop.pooL" <looppool@cruzio.com>, Mr Dick 
>Subject: Percussive Sounds on El. Guitar
>I am not a conventional electric guitarist but I own two strats and two
>mini toy electric guitars (that are nonetheless playable) and I mostly 
>these instruments as 'found objects'.
>I come from a percussion/drumset tradition originally with a heavy 
>on world rhythms,
>odd times and polyrhtyms so I exploit electric (and acoustic) instruments 
>lot for rhythm looping
>I agree with Max about not trying to get a drum set out of the electric 
>acoustic (although if you think of the
>sounds as being part of an analogue drum machine the comparison is a bit 
>more accurate).
>An important thing to remember is that a drumset exploits hi sounds, 
>midrange sounds (which tend to have
>longer envelopes) and bass sounds.
>If you think of the guitar as a percussion instrument, the important 
>to remember is that most great
>and complex percussion instruments have at least two ranges of sound:   
>and hi, if not three ranges of
>sound,  like a drumset-----lo, midrange and hi.
>remember that even if you dont' have a cheap harmonizer that you can use 
>rapid tonal control
>by either rolling off hi end and rolling on bass frequencies or even 
>off all hi and lo frequencies and maximizing
>midrange frequencies (telephone effect) to radically change the sound of 
>your electric guitar percussion ensemple.
>Even a good wah wah pedal can be utilized to change or sweep the 
>characteristics of a your percussion noises.
>Speaking of cheap harmonizer pedals.  The cheapest ones I've found are in 
>the $200 range:
>the Digitech Red Whammy pedal and the Digitech Vocal 300 each have a 
>footpedal sweepable
>harmonizer in them (with pretty low fidelity-------though I like them, 
>and a quick mention about beaters on strings:
>Whenever I go touring I always take a couple of packets of those cheap 
>swizzle Tiki head plastic swizzle sticks that they sell
>(10 or so to a package).
>They are amazing because they act exactly like a hammer dulcimer 
>hammer.........in other words if you hold at the small end and just
>let the Tiki head fall on the string it will bounce rapidly like a hammer 
>dulcimer or a kanun.
>Additionally,  I use the back flat side of the plastic Tiki head as a 
>so that stick can be switched rapidly changing from a
>sticking instrument to a slide instrument.
>If you are using two of these up hi near the bridge you can avail 
>of the closeness of the harmonics and switch one of the sticks to become 
>mini slide while the other one keeps hammering.
>Speaking of that devil,  Hammer Dulcimer hammers are incredible on 
>guitars.......they are designed to have rapid multiple bounces which is 
>amazing for rapid rhythmic work.
>While we are on the subject,  another wonderful aleatory rhtyhmic device 
>that I've used (and was inspired by Michael Haumesser who I believe was 
>inspired orignally by Fred Frith) is to take those metal chinese balls 
>are used for hand exercises and roll
>them down the strings.
>Many sounds like snare drums, have a longer envelope (especially when a 
>reverb or gated reverb is added).   If you are using
>an Echoplex in INS = SUB mode and OVERDUB = SUS mode,   you can roll the 
>large balls down the strings (really cool if you've already prepared the 
>strings nearest the bridge with things like forks, knives, alligator 
>et. al.) and then hold down
>the INSert or the OVERDUB buttons down just when you want your sound to 
>occur rhythmically.
>You can get really unusual ersatz 'snare' drum sounds by using this 
>I've seen people use very small BBs or tiny ball bearings (although this 
>just a mess to clean up quickly on stage at festivals---------trust me, 
>tried it a couple of times)  or, as I saw Fred Frith do once in Santa 
>rice or other grains and just drop
>them on the strings.   Again,   utilized with the INS = SUB and OVRDB = 
>modes you can take a longer event and only
>capture a bit of it.
>Remember too, that if you use an Echoplex, that you can use Silence as a 
>Replace or Substitue mode to create 'negative' rhythms.
>Sometimes using INS = SUB and hitting the INS button rapidly only the 
>offbeats can chop up a more complex rhythm you've already
>recorded with the insertion of rhytymic silence.     This sounds better 
>off beats rather than on beats.
>I love playing very long envelope sounds but only grabbing slight bits of 
>them while using INS = SUB.
>Sorry to mention the EDP so much but this instrument is probably the best 
>all loopers at creating rhythmic effects and slicing and dicing the loops 
>you make.
>I also use resampling from one looper to another in rhythmic ways which 
>really enhances percussive electric guitar playing (or any instrument, of 
>One last idea................................play the guitar percussively 
>with your fingers, rings, utensils, mallets (try different types to get 
>different timbres and different attack characteristics with one hand on 
>volume knob or rocking a volume pedal with your foot.
>Play this constantly and rhythmically as you play and loop.
>In Indonsesia, they have the rhythmic concept of IRAMA which means that 
>every note of the syncopative resolution (lowest note value in your 
>is played.
>If you are playing radically different techniques almost randomly yet 
>a constant on and off of volume with your volume knob or
>volume floor pedal you can create this trancey technique and ever time 
>volume swells up (great if it is really, really rapid)
>you have a slightly different timbre from your random thwacking of the 
>Oh yeah,   and Claude Voit must be sited as the person who innovatively 
>piezo pickups (I think) ABOVE the nut to pick up
>the non-melodic elements of knocking, rubbing,  playing the strings above 
>the nut and other possible above the nut percussion styles.
>Gosh, I keep thinking of different things............sorry for the length 
>this post:
>Super balls on the back of Acoustic Guitars can create cool whale 
>sounds..................they can then be dropped to create random
>percussive, bouncing sounds.
>Okay,  I"ll shut up...............shouldn't of had that huge cup of dark 
>roast coffee so late in the evening..............lol.