Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sympathy for the Fantabulous Bowafridgeaphone

That’s right; the name of this mammoth beast is the Bowafridgeaphone (bow a fridge a phone) Ever since I started my things from the fridge instruments I have had the idea of building something way too big for my living room. I almost came close with Alex’s Left Handed Bass, but this one really takes the cake.

Let me tell you, the construction of this instrument did not go according to plan. At first I started with it being built into the base of Alex’s Left Handed Bass, but that ended up being too clunky, and not very appealing to look at. So from there I decided to go with the design I used in the Evolution of the Fridge instrument. When I was working on the Evolution I had the idea of running a bunch of strings along the body to help with its resonance, and maybe pick up a few sympathetic tones along the way, but alas sometimes things don’t go according to plan. I knew that wasn’t the end of that idea and soon the day would come that I had a chance to put those strings into practice. That was the day when the Bowafridgeaphone was born, and it has been a very lengthy birth.

Finding a way to mount the fridge grate was difficult enough, but when I added the busted old speaker, the bundt cake pan, the metal salad bowl, and the few other pieces of metal I had lying around was when things really started to get challenging.

There was a version very similar to the one you see before you not twenty four hours before I recreated this new instrument. I had finished building everything, the grate was mounted, the pegs were in, and the contact mic was hooked up. All I had to do at this point was string it up. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. After putting the twentieth of thirty six strings on I started to tune them up. All was going well until I heard a small creaking sound. I thought to myself “hey, that’s just the instrument settling into place.” I cranked on a few more pegs and heard that creaking again, only this time it was quite noticeably louder. I thought to myself “wow, this thing is really settling into place, but in a scary way.” Again with the cranking, and again with the creaking, creaking, creaking CRACK. Like a spring activated suitcase, the two ends, both bottom and top decided that no longer were they to be apart. That’s when the cursing started. OK that’s a lie, I curse all the time, but this time I meant it. After coming down from my string induced rage and rethinking my plans on complete and utter instrument destruction I meticulously started the process of dismantling the yet to be named Bowafridgeaphone. I spent until the wee hours of the morning taking it apart, screw by screw, and nail by nail.

When I awoke the next morning I was single minded in my actions. I had desperately wanted this instrument to be ready for some Fembotian recording that we had scheduled for later in the week.

Now that it was in pieces it made it all the more clear as to what it is I should be doing. I was now sitting in the Spaceroom calmly and methodically constructing spines to run down the back of the Bowafridgeaphone. I have now added spines to my growing list of things I need to do when building instruments out of junk.

It all came together with amazingly fantabulous speed. I added four strings to the back. Two long and two short to help counter the tension, attach the spines and reinforce the already existing body. All I had to do was string it up again, and let me tell you the idea of adding strings to this again scared the heck out of me, but I did it anyway because that just the way I am.

Jen always laughs at me when I break things and get upset because I have to rebuild them. She tells me that every time it happens I create something better then the original and stand there looking dumbfounded at this new creation. Well the Bowafridgeaphone was no exception. It looks sleeker, is somewhat lighter, sounds a lot better, and isn’t cracked in half laying out on Queen Street with so many other things on crack.


david fenech said...

wow. it looks very nice. but how does it sound ? do you have a mp3 of you playing it ?

thanks in advance

The Lone Guitarist said...

A video or mp3 would rock :) Keep up the Über-cool work!

lamanyana said...

this one's beautiful

Anonymous said...

Wick Sez: dude, that pic totally has to be photoshopped, your living room has never been that tidy...

Anonymous said...


Priscilla Hernandez said...

I'm curious about the sound. I'm a singer-songwriter from Spain but I also keep a blog about rare instruments called, I'd love to make a feature article, any mp3 sound we can link, could you write me with info about your instruments. thanks.