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Cargo Cult Banjo td Sun May 20 09:01:45 2007
I went to the Maker Faire yesterday. Google had a booth where they were demoing Sketchup, their free 3D drawing package. They buttonholed me on my way by and asked if they could draw anything for me. I pulled a half-baked musical instrument design out of my notebook & talked them through making a drawing of it. Here's the result.

It's a Banjo adapted for experimental abuse. Experimental musicians are often interested in coaxing instruments to play unusual, unexpected sounds. Given a stringed instrument like a banjo, an experimentalist will eventually get to the point of setting it down on the table to better work on it with both hands. This instrument goes one better and builds the banjo into the table -- Fred Frith built some tabletop guitars like this in the 1970s. Just for hack value, I replaced the banjo head with a small snaredrum (that idea happened because snare drummer Sean Meehan is coming to play in the Matthew Sperry Festival in June), put a couple of extra sets of strings on it, and used the three-bridge idea to double the number of effective strings. It'd be great if I could get it built before Sean arrives.