Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tongue Drum Two: The Adventures of Naughty Pine

This here is my second attempt at constructing a tongue drum. Ever since I split this crazy blog up I have been thinking that I need to start building more percussive instruments, and instead of just duct tapping a bunch of different sized cans together I thought I might try my hand at actually building something from scratch. I thought I would start with the tongue drum. I built one about two years back but it was very small, and only had the two slats, that I might like to add were equal in length, which is something that you might want to try and avoid if you’re looking for different tones. Back in the good old days I built stuff by what my eyes remembered, there was no math, there was no science. I was just flying by the seat of my pants. Well two days ago when I started to build the new tongue drum that all changed.
I used pine in the construction only due to the fact that the piece of hardwood I had cut for this new drum snapped clean in half as I was finishing my grooves. Pine was all I had left so I moved forward and started to make my cuts. At first the grooves in between where much smaller, but two bad things were happening. One, they would occasionally rub together when struck, and two, there wasn’t much volume to be had. So I got out the jig saw and free handed the re-cut. I do not recommend free cutting with a jigsaw if your loved ones are apposed to loud obscenities coming from a space room somewhere deep in the bowels of a two bedroom apartment. Oh and it might be dangerous to boot. So after fixing my cuts and giving the thing a good sanding I was ready to piece it together. Before putting the under plate on I decided to mount a spring inside the box running the length of the instrument. I can’t yet tell if this is doing anything, but I will let you know as soon as I bring it out to a Jam night.
Before I go I would just like to say that if you do decide to build one of these, try to find a harder wood then pine, over all I would say the piece as a whole sounds a bit flat, and that’s that.

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