Nice Noise: Modifications and Preparations for Guitar

by Bart on October 7, 2011

A New Book Coming Soon from Experimental Musical Instruments

We’re currently working on a book-with-audio on the subject of weird stuff you can do to a guitar to get new sounds from it. “We,” in this case, is myself, Bart Hopkin, joined by the Dutch guitar maker and experimenter Yuri Landman.  Yuri’s an excellent collaborator for this project because he’s extraordinarily well versed in the field of guitar preparations, both in his knowledge of what others have done and in his own ideas and explorations.  And as co-authors we complement one another nicely, as he’s most familiar with the world of rock and electric guitar, while my original training was in classical and I’ve always done more with acoustic guitars.

What sort of preparations does the book cover?  Well, they’re quite wide-ranging.  Included are tricks for partially damping the strings, weighting them, adding rattles to them, crossing or snaring them, exciting them in unorthodox ways, adding middle bridges, bringing out peculiar resonances, adding percussion elements to the body of the guitar, manipulating feedback, using external radiation sources through the pickups, and much more. Most of the modifications and preparations discussed are easily put in place and easily removed. Some work best with acoustic guitars, some with electric, many with either or both.  Some produce raunchy sounds, some produce beautiful sounds, some produce comical sounds, some produce really strange sounds.    

The plan is to publish the book in print, with a generous complement of audio examples available to all online. We may also make the book available as a paid digital download, probably in PDF format. The work is coming along nicely at this point and we’re well on the way to completion, but I’ll refrain from giving a definitive date for publication.  Just keep an eye on this spot.

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