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Re: Percussive Sounds on El. Guitar

Many thanks to all of you who replied. There are so many great ideas here. As Tim already said, enough to keep one busy for a long long time.
mungenast@earthlink.net wrote:

-----Original Message-----
>From: "loop.pool"
>Sent: Feb 23, 2006 6:15 AM
>To: "LOOPERS DELIGHT (posting)"
>Cc: "Rick Walker/Loop.pooL" , 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 play
>these instruments as 'found objects'.
>I come from a percussion/drumset tradition originally with a heavy emphasis
>on world rhythms,
>odd times and polyrhtyms so I exploit electric (and acoustic) instruments a
>lot for rhythm looping
>I agree with Max about not trying to get a drum set out of the electric or
>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 thing
>to remember is that most great
>and complex percussion instruments have at least two ranges of sound: lo
>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 rolling
>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 frequency
>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 blue
>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 slide,
>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 yourself
>of the closeness of the harmonics and switch one of the sticks to become a
>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 that
>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 clips,
>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 is
>just a mess to clean up quickly on stage at festivals---------trust me, I"ve
>tried it a couple of times) or, as I saw Fred Frith do once in Santa Cruz,
>rice or other grains and just drop
>them on the strings. Again, utilized with the INS = SUB and OVRDB = SUS
>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 on
>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 of
>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 your
>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 rhythm)
>is played.
>If you are playing radically different techniques almost randomly yet using
>a constant on and off of volume with your volume knob or
>volume floor pedal you can create this trancey technique and ever time the
>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 put
>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 of
>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.

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