The Droneitar!

My latest instrument is a 2-stringed droning guitar for Mehdi from *Shels and owner of shelsmusic, one of the best independant record labels out there!
It uses a motor at one end of the neck to spin a small piece of string at the other, the string hits the wire and creates a droning noise.
 
It’s made from 100% recycled and reclaimed materials, using an old electric motor as a pickup, nails for frets, scrap wood for the body and neck, strings from a washing line and a motor from an old tape cassette player.

It’s being played by Rich Stephenson, who is fast becoming my instrument guinea pig.
More photos of the build and the finished product after the break

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 Comments Add yours

  1. I've sketched out similar instruments, but have never made one, I was so excited to see this! I love the sound! Awesome!

  2. Ed Okerson says:

    Can you give more detail on how you used a motor as a pickup?

  3. scary_jeff says:

    Great site! Keep up the creations, I'm confident you'll be the one to come up with something cool enough to knock the hang drum off it's musical podium 😀

    @Ed, see http://vulpestruments.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/9v-motor-electric-pickup-with-mono.html

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hey! This sounds pretty good. Any more details on the function of the motor? (the one on the neck, not the pickup one)

  5. Jenny Cleary says:

    Awesome creation, so beautiful and sounds amazing!

  6. Tom Fox says:

    The motor on the neck is what drives the piece of string/thread that hits the strings that play the music. It had to be housed as far away from the pickup as possible as it causes a lot of interference/noise if it's close by.

    Glad you like it!

  7. Tom Fox says:

    As scary_jeff mentioned, I posted about how I use motors as pickups in another post here: http://vulpestruments.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/9v-motor-electric-pickup-with-mono.html

    Put simply, an electric motor works on the same theory as an electric pickup, only applied for a different purpose!

  8. Tom Fox says:

    I love it when someone else answers questions for me! cheers!

  9. Tom Fox says:

    Glad you like it! there's tons of variables that could have affected how it sounded, so if you do still make one it might sound very different… you should make one!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering what that know controlled? From what I know of the circuitry beyond the pickup is, I think it is either a potentiometer or variable capacitor that controls the tone. I think this is the case, though it could also be a volume knob…

  11. i loved the sound of this almost like an electric hurdy gurdy. i have a couple of questions; the motor at the head, that seems to rotate performing some function, what is that function and the materials used. also the bridge motor does the string run through and could it not just go over the motor, i haven't tried this yet so i wanted to know if you have. thanks

  12. Tom Fox says:

    The motor at the head is what's spinning the piece of string that hits the musical strings. It had to be seated as far from the pickup as possible to reduce interference/noise. If you try turning an electric motor on near a regular pickup it'd sound horrible!

    Like I said in my other response on the 9v motor pickup, it's sort of possible but very very quiet to just run the strings ontop of the motor.

    Hope this helps!

  13. thanks for your quick response, now i have another question then, what if you were to use a motor from a small kitchen food processor, slightly bigger but could be sunk into the body of the guitar, what do you think?

  14. Tom Fox says:

    It's worth a shot! best thing to do is experiment first.

    If you have the motor try just plugging it into an amp or a recording device with crocodile clips etc. and experiment with plucking wires in/around to see how it responds. That's how I usually figure stuff out!

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