Wednesday, April 25, 2018

How to make an one string experimental piezoelectric violin

I made this experimental violin, out of birch plywood, maple and copper. The instrument uses a piezoelectric pickup under the bridge. The pickup converts the vibrations of the bridge into electric signal which is then amplified with an amp.

First of all I designed and printed out the template of my instrument. 

The body of my instrument is made out of 9mm birch plywood pieces. I glued the template on the plywood with spray adhesive and cut it out on the bandsaw.

I used my heat gun to remove the template easily.

I then glued the body pieces together using wood glue and clamps.

I used my router with a straight bit to cut out the f hole shapes. 

I then used my belt sander and my rotary tool to sand off the saw marks from the bandsaw. 

I made the neck out of two pieces of maple. I made a straight cross cut on the table saw and then cut the rest on the bandsaw. I used a chisel and my sander to clean up the saw marks. 

I used my router again to route the hole for the neck. I finished the hole with a chisel. 

I then 3D cut the headstock on the band saw. I cut the first side, glued the pieces again with hot glue and cut the other side.

I glued the headstock and the neck together. To avoid the two pieces from sliding around while glue up, I used two bamboo stick pins.

Using my thickness planer I prepared the piece for the fretboard. I glued it on the neck again using two pins. 

Using a forstner bit, I opened up the hole for the piezoelectric pickup on my violin’s body. 

On the bandsaw again I cut a small circular piece to act as a cap for the pickup.

I then drilled and routed the holes for the electric parts of my instrument.

Out of a copper sheet I made the output jack holder. I cut it out on the bandsaw and shaped it on my belt sander. I used a step drill bit to open up the hole for the jack. I also bended the holder to match the curve of my violin.

I shaped the neck using rasps, files sandpaper and my spokeshave. 

I glued the neck on the body. I also used a counter sinked screw for more reinforcement.

I finished the violin with three coats of satin, clear, water based varnish. I lightly sanded between coats with 220 grit sandpaper.

I then shaped the copper string holder. To avoid breaking it I used my propane torch while bending it to shape.

I added the key.

I soldered all the electric parts of the instrument. To hide some soldered parts I used heat shrinking tube.

I assembled my instrument and added a string. 

I made the nut out of a piece of bone which I shaped with a file and sandpaper.

I made the bridge out of a piece of maple. I cut it on the bandsaw and shaped it on the belt sander.

At this point my violin was ready. I also added a piece of masking tape on the fretboard. On this piece I marked the fret positions so I can play the instrument in tune.

I am really happy with the way my electric violin came out! I hope you like it too!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How to make an electric ancient Greek guitar

I made this ancient hellenic lyra out of 9mm birch plywood. I used plexiglass for the bridge and nut, a humbucker pickup and regular guitar tuning pegs. Ancient Greeks used to call similar instruments by the name "κιθάρα". That word is a close relative to the word "guitar" we use today.

First of all I made a template out of a piece of cardboard.

Then I used my circular saw and a guide rail to cut a piece of 9mm birchh plywood.

I then used the template to draw the shape of the instrument on the plywood. The guitar’s shape is symmetrical, so I flipped the template over to create the mirror images needed.

I then used the bandsaw to cut out the shape I wanted. I cleaned up the saw marks  with my rotary tool and a sanding drum. I hand sanded when needed. 

I then used a pencil to trace the pickup. I used my router to carve out the pickup slot.

I used wood filler to cover up any imperfections on the plywood. 

I cut a plywood piece that would act as string holder. I glued it and nailed it in place with my air powered nail gun.

I used rivets as string guides. I hammered them in place.

I then drilled all the holes needed to receive the tuning pegs. 

I cut thin pieces of plywood to act as bridge and nut. I glued and nailed them in place. I used the plexiglass as a spacer.

I then filed the string slots on the plexiglass bridge and nut.

With a forstner bit I opened up the hole for the output jack.

I finished the guitar with 3 coats of clear, water based varnish. I sanded between coats and used the heat gun to speed up the drying process.

I soldered the the pickup to the output jack and assembled the instrument. 

My electric κιθάρα was now ready!