Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

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Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby 1four5 » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:33 pm

Ok, so I have this 5 string Gold Tone dobro (called a Dojo). It's ok in acoustic jams after I put a quarterman cone in it. It's easily become my most comfortable and favorite instrument to play. I play banjo and some guitar, and when we use our PA I'm trapped behind a mic. I've got an electric banjo, and am working on learning it's sound, and getting comfortable with it...it looks cool as heck (tele styled) but it doesn't have the feel or comfort my "Dojo" has. Clearly I would rather use the Dojo. I spent the bucks and put a Schatten pickup in the Dojo with dissapointing results. Very low output, horrible pick noise, shrill highs and no lows. I can adjust this stuff and get it close, but not something I'm ready to use, or pour more money into for preamps and eq stuff. I'm guessing it was designed for 6 string reso guitars, and the 5 string, small cone, thin strings just arent enough to drive it. SOOoooo, last week my friend Tim3finger swaps out some pick-ups in a Squire...and gives me a Squire strat pick-up. What the heck...I cut the hole and installed it in my Dojo. Holy smokes, I got some out put now, and it sounds pretty darn good, with plenty of knob room on my acoustic (Crate)amp settings to make my sound more than accetable for what we do. man I'm a happy camper! It gets better. Remember I'm supposed to be the banjo guy...well, I tried some of my banjo stuff on the lectrified Dojo and man...overtones and resonance and sound flying everywhere! No such thing as a quick fade. Well, I've read stuff about people trying ways to create banjo sounds electrically, without much success. So I decided to try mechanically. There was a spongey foam lining in the plastic box that had the strat pickup in it. I cut a strip of this slightly larger than the distance between the cover plate and strings...and slid it in there between the plate and the strings...effectively and slightly dampening the strings. HOLY SMOKES...it works!!! It aint banjo, but it's got the quick fade to make banjo style playing sound awesome. It aint reso, but it's got more of a hint of reso than the sustaining electric sound, however, when I start messing with the delay/echo on the amp, it gets more reso sounding than the Shatten was. It's also variable...the closer I slide the foam "dampner" to the biscut, the longer the fade, the closer it is to the neck, the quicker the fade. I've been experimenting for the last couple hours with different sized strips and positioning and amp settings....what a blast...cost so far $0.
What really matters is what it sounds like when I play with my friends, and how well it mixes. If it works, I'll let ya'all know. We plan to have a full blown all day jam next weekend, and we always have a recorder going.
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby lorilu » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:08 am

How fun!!!Maybe you and Tim are gonna end up creating guitars and stringed instruments with all kinds of new and interesting sounds as a business.
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby trguitar » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:59 am

Just a thought, but, you know those headset mic's like drummers wear and they have for wireless so people aren't tied to mic stands. Could one of those be mounted on an acoustic instrument to keep the mic'd sound but add mobility? Just a thought.
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby 1four5 » Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:21 am

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Apr-08-06 AT 10:44 PM (EST)]I actually did check out small instrument mic set ups, and was very interested. I even went so far as to convince guitar center to let me mount one on a banjo in the store...it even worked, but my imression was lots of $$$ and some hassle.

I'm not much of an authentic sound type person, heck I'm just happy with any sound as long as it's controllable and works. I'm looking more for any sound, on an instrument that I like, that's simple, hassle free and and works on the same instrument through the range of gospel, bluegrass and blues with simple adjustments. I don't have a sound in my head I'm looking for...it's more like if this works, it could become my sound. I did a comparison for my wife between my electric banjo and the Dojo...and my wife said immediately the Dojo sounded better to her, muted and un-muted.

I should add that the foam mute doesn't decrease volume of the initial note...it just kills it real quick (very banjo like). The icing comes when you add some delay/echo to bring some of it back...it becomes very biscut reso like, and controllable. My wife said it like this "sounds like it does unplugged only better, without the thunkyness"

Here's a picture of the setup.
http://www.ukeblue.com/dojopickup.jpg

Speaking of interesting experiments...you auta see the "Conglomo-Bass" that Tim built last week! He bolted a Squire bass neck to an Oscar Schmit hollow body jazz guitar. Got the bridge and all that mounted...not even sure what pickups he has in it, strung it up....and it plays fantastic! Looks cool as heck!
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby mickeypainless » Sun Apr 09, 2006 6:15 am

VERY cool Dean! Yer Dojo looks alot like my Johnson Swamp Stomper!
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby trguitar » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:43 am

That looks nice. Very clean job on mounting that pickup. I bet it does sound nice.
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RE: Interesting experiment (and very cheap!)

Postby lorilu » Sun Apr 09, 2006 5:27 pm

Geniuses. I am surrounded by all this talent!
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