Gye Greene's Thoughts

Gye Greene's Thoughts (w/ apologies to The Smithereens and their similarly-titled album!)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

An inexpensive and secret source of percussion instruments

A few weeks ago I figured out that metal scrapyards (or metal recyclers) are good sources of percussion:  they collect brass and bronze among the other types of metal -- and brass and bronze tend to sound pretty good when struck.

The other neat thing is that they just charge scrap-metal prices if you find anything of interest.  One of the guys there said that they sometimes get actual cymbals -- which they toss in with the rest of the brass and bronze.


Because I work during the week, I'm only able to stop by on Saturdays.

The first time I stopped by, the guy said they had just emptied the "brass and bronze" bin a few days ago -- so it was nearly empty.

I waited a week, and then stopped by the following weekend.  Gah!  Same deal.

So, I resolved to stop by every Saturday.


Thus, two weekends ago -- the first of my "regular visits" -- I scored some flat metal rings (future windchimes?), as well as two sturdy metal pipes with external threads (see video).  And yesterday, I picked up a thin-walled capped pipe, which sounds a bit like an agogo, but also like a cowbell (also in video).

The threaded pipes were about AU$7 each (about US$5.60), and the thing-walled one cost me AU$5 (about US$4).  I may keep 'em; I may mount them on wood to make them part of a drum kit, then sell them.




Anyhow, raiding metal recycling places is a new source of percussion instruments for me.  But:  be sure to wear old clothes; you might get a little greasy or dirty, rummaging around.

And bring a drumstick -- for testing purposes.


--GG

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

Log art

I liked this.


On front porch near where I park my car every morning.


Log-and-branches art


--GG

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Applied beeswax

Part of building my "crate backback" (sorry -- no links; haven't yet posted it) involved poking holes in heavy fabric (for the shoulder straps). 

However, the optimally-sized punch had an uncomfortable handle:  it was a metal cone, with an open end:  imagine an ice-cream cone with a icepick protruding from the bottom.  It looks like a user-made tool.

I used it a little bit like that -- but my hand started getting sore from the exposed metal rim digging into the palm of my hand as I pushed.


Yeah, I could've just worn a glove:  but I thought, eh -- may as well build a solution.

So, I got out my "beeswax-melting toaster oven" (dedicated to this purpose).


After the jar of beeswax (I keep it handy; someday I'll have to top it up with addt'l beeswax) was sufficiently hot, I took the pliers (pictured above) and poured the melted beeswax into the hollow handle, thus filling the void.

Instead of holding the punch (hot drippage!), I poked it into a piece of wood.


And then, kind of like old-timey "dipped" candles, I'd dunk the end of the handle into the melted beeswax; let it cool; dunk; cool; and repeat.


And:  here's the result.

Rounded, comfortable, and reasonably sturdy: a room-temperature block of beeswax is surprisingly hard.

And, it smells nice:  like honey.


--GG

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Suitcase drum kit

Saw this on YouTube, and I thought I'd share.

Using some leftover drum parts (he buys used drum gear inexpensively, then mods them), this guy made a usable drum kit that fits inside an old hard-sided suitcase.


There's a link in the top left corner, at about 0:03, that shows a video where he demonstrates that it all indeed fits inside the suitcase.


Skip to about 6:05 to see him actually playing it:  all of the video up to that point is showing him building it.


It would be good for busking -- especially if you showed the audience how it all comes out of the suitcase.  You'd probably get more tips (because it would be more impressive) if you packed it away and re-assembled it every few songs.


And, inspired by that video, here's some more YouTube folks for suitcase drum kits.  I excluded videos where they simply use the suitcase as a drum, rather than having a functioning drum kit that fits inside the suitcase.

The one that I embedded, above, was possibly the most complicated of the ones that I found.



This one is a little bit of a cheat, as he mounts the ride cymbal on the outside:  it seems like you could just use a slightly smaller-diamter cymbal.  But, it's a remarkably complete kit.  Not as geeky, though, to have "regular" stands that are just folded up inside the case:  I prefer the above approach, where the suitcase is also the frame.



This one is a minimalist set-up.



This one is just a simplified kit where everything fits in the suitcase:  he intentionally didn't modify the suitcase at all.  But I included this one because he sits on the suitcase, instead of a drum throne, and he also uses the suitcase as the kick drum as he sits on it -- like a cajon.



I think this one's toms fit inside the suitcase -- although he doesn't actually show this aspect.  I like the drum rim:  a really good kick drum sound..  Another one of these drum videos (I forget which one) mentioned that if it's an old plywood suitcase the kick drum sound is already pretty good -- but if it's a softer, floppier plastic-sided suitcase then it would benefit from the extra effort to install a ring.



This one is pretty simple and straightforward. This one doesn't show the gear fitting into the suitcase:  but given that the guy has added dolly wheels to the underside of the suitcase -- plus the nature of the brackets on the high hat stand -- I'd expect that it would.




As you can see, there are several different approaches.  There's more -- but I just chose the ones that I thought were better ones.  Although there's a bunch that I didn't take the time to review.


Oh:  and this one (below) violates my rules:  it's "just" a drum used as a kick drum.  But I like the "double beater" approach -- especially with the metal "brush" and the license plate -- so I included it.




So:  another project for my "To Do" list.  I have some ideas.  ;)


--GG

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The drummer not the drum kit

Found this YouTube channel on drumming:  some good tips and hints.

I liked this one, where she plays a drum solo on an inexpensive "children's" drum kit:



It's not the quality of the drums -- it's the quality of the drummer.


--GG

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Repaired a chair

It's the first weekend of a week's vacation -- and I like to spend my vacation "getting things done".   Here's one of my mini-projects.


People around here sometimes leave "givaway" items along the grassy strip near the road, in front of their house.  I picked this chair up a few weeks ago.

I sat on it before throwing it in the truck.  Yup:  comfortable.  Surprisingly so. 



Someone had used some sort of gummy construction adhesive to try to glue the loose slat.  It hadn't really worked, so the slat was held on with a long strip of packing tape.

And the person had also glued it in the wrong direction:  the curved front of the slat was towards the rear -- but the other three were towards the front.


So, first I used a chisel to get rid of most of the crummy adhesive.  Then I finished up with some sandpaper, for the residual crud.


Here's my glue-up.  I'm using little wooden wedges to fine-tune the side-to-side alignment of the slat -- and clamps to align the ends of the slat with its neighbors.

And, of course, clamps on either end of the slat, to hold it in place until the **decent** glue dries.



Hm!  I thought I'd taken a photo of the finished product -- but I guess not.

Well... you can imagine.


Anyhow:  I gained a free, sturdy, comfortable chair, for the cost of a little labor and a few squeezings of woodworking glue.


--GG

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Excess office donation

This is for the kids, to read someday.  I think they're too young to fully appreciate it now.


Whenever there's a "gift collection" at work for a birthday, retirement, illness, or whatever -- I always put in about three(?) times what "normal" people put in.  (I have a standard amount.)

My reasoning is that my excess donation inflates the total, which then gives the recipient the impression of a greater number of supportive people.  This, presumably, makes the recipient happier, and/or feel more cared for.  This is a good thing.

I'm willing to spend a bit extra, if it makes someone happy.


--GG

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