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Questions tagged [construction]

This tag should be used for questions about creating or modifying instruments and equipment, whether from the perspective of the craftsman or the layman.

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42 votes
11 answers
31k views

Why are the white and black keys on the piano placed the way they are?

I am pretty convinced it is not just for historical reasons. I have found a mathematically-sound explanation of the twelve-tone musical scale, thanks to this question. Does anyone know a similar, ...
Ali's user avatar
  • 1,143
32 votes
13 answers
119k views

What is the Difference between Maple and Rosewood Fretboards

Is there a difference that's based on feel or sound - why are they the two most widely used choices?
user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why does a piano have only one or two strings per note in the bass register, but three for other registers?

Does it have something to do with keeping it in tune, since the smaller strings might be more prone to be stretched? (And therefore they spread out the impact to more than one string). Or maybe just ...
Stephen's user avatar
  • 516
25 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why do many acoustic pianos have a wooden block to the left of the keys?

I have no idea what it's called but I'm curious why most pianos have a flat section to the left of the keys, and what it's called. It almost looks perfect for resting a cup of tea on which sounds like ...
joeyfb's user avatar
  • 352
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

How does one change bow hair?

What are the steps to follow to unmount the hair from a bow and install a new set ? What kind of tools and products do you need beside a new set of bow hair ? How do you measure/adjust the length ...
ogerard's user avatar
  • 8,814
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

A flute is an open cylinder air column instrument. This means that an idealised flute, the fundamental pitch of the flute should have a wavelength of twice the length of the flute. This isn't exactly ...
naught101's user avatar
  • 2,268
16 votes
3 answers
10k views

How does the piano middle pedal work? Is there a standard symbol for it?

What are the mechanics behind the middle piano pedal? I have been using the middle pedal for a variety of music, it is wonderful, but I can't figure out how it works (I mean the mechanical process). ...
Victor's user avatar
  • 679
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

The skinny on neck constructions. Is it all about tone?

I recently went from a Peavy bolt-on classic bass to Warwick Thumb NT. The tone difference is completely out of this world, and comparatively, so was the price. I want to understand the ...
user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
550 views

What to look for in an independent luthier?

I've long been considering looking for an independent luthier to build me a custom guitar. I have a pretty specific idea of what I want the guitar to be, but I don't know how to find the right ...
Alex Basson's user avatar
  • 20.8k
12 votes
8 answers
6k views

What can I build into my guitar and use the "tone pots" buttons to adjust?

The tone pots are fairly useless, for the most part, so I was wondering what else people have done to take advantage of having those two controls available. I would love some ideas of something I ...
user avatar
12 votes
7 answers
6k views

Can you make your own Leslie Speakers?

I love the sound when employed with an Organ ( Jimmy Smith) and on Little Wing(SRV) - I vaguely remember seeing Kings X live once and I believe Ty Tabor had a pair of Leslie speakers that sounded ...
user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do trumpet valves shift the pitch down and not up?

I understand how trumpets work - valves open to force the air through crooks, which lengthens the pathway the air must travel, thus decreasing the resonant frequency. The question is, why are ...
naught101's user avatar
  • 2,268
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I know where to place holes on an instrument?

I've been trying to build a double reeded instrument out of plastic straws. I've run into a problem though, when I place fingering holes, the instrument doesn't seem to follow the $$f=/frac{nv}{4L}$$ ...
tox123's user avatar
  • 300
11 votes
1 answer
800 views

Are there reasons to choose between a round-section or an octogonal-section bow?

The initial part of a violin, viola, or cello bow in modern models is always octogonal, but the rest of the stick can be either of round section or octogonal-faceted. Is it simply a different ...
ogerard's user avatar
  • 8,814
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can I build an EBow myself?

It's possible to get some crazy sounds using an EBow on the guitar. I know that it works by creating an electromagnetic field to move the strings. Has anybody tried to build one? Are any schematics ...
user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
459 views

What is the most common highest key with a damper?

On my old Steinway, the lowest key that doesn’t have a damper is the second-highest E. On a Bösendorfer I got to play recently, I noticed that the highest key without one was (I believe) the second-...
Stormblessed's user avatar
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

Do pianos have a generally recognized "bass register"?

Playing the piano, I've noticed the notes under a certain note seem to be voiced more for heavy chords instead of melodies/countermelodies. If you try to play complicated lines under that note, They ...
Eriek's user avatar
  • 536
10 votes
5 answers
3k views

Building an electric guitar from scratch

I want to make an electric guitar by myself from scratch. How can I do this?
davs's user avatar
  • 203
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

How do I go about de-fretting a bass guitar?

I would like a fretless bass guitar, and I am considering giving an old bass a new lease of life as a fretless instrument. I would like to know how to go about achieving this at home, by myself, to ...
Bella's user avatar
  • 8,499
10 votes
1 answer
31k views

What is the length of piano keys, in inches

I am working on a project for which I need the dimensions of piano keys. The width is addressed in Is there a standard width for piano keys?, but what about the length?
Jordan's user avatar
  • 125
10 votes
2 answers
266 views

Are there any good online resources on how to build drums?

I'm really keen to have a go at crafting my own drum. Not a djembe or ethnic instrument but standard hooped kit drum. I particularly like the idea of something along the lines of Outlaw Drums and ...
Phil.Wheeler's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
10k views

What is a Birdseye Maple Neck?

Where does it come from or how is it chosen over regular Maple Necks - is there a tonal difference?
user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do wooden woodwinds sound better than plastic?

With clarinet, recorders, and I presume oboe's also - it's common for beginner instruments to be made out of plastic/hard rubber, and more high quality instruments to be made from wood. This seems to ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 2,515
8 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is a guitar body made out of mahogany generally lighter than a body made out of alder ?

I know that each piece of wood is different and two similar pieces of a same essence will have different weight. But in general, for the same body shape and size which wood essence will tend to give ...
bleakcabal's user avatar
  • 1,486
8 votes
4 answers
16k views

How to connect a line signal to a guitar amp?

My Laney Lv300 Tube Fusion Combo amp, doesn't have a Line-In, as such. It merely has one "Input" on the front, for the guitar and a pair of FX sockets, as an FX Loop (FX Send and FX Return). It also ...
Felinis's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

How does bracing work?

I have seen many types of bracing for guitar, for example: How do they work? What do the lines mean? Will they affect the tone?
seseorang's user avatar
  • 4,137
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do the top ends of piano keys extend beyond the rest of the keys?

The upper part of the white key of the piano is extruded (I don't know if anyone will get my point so I'll put a picture here)? Is it just for ornamental use or does it actually have a practical ...
Amy Tang's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do pianos have piano hinges?

The long continuous hinge on the lid of a piano is so characteristic that it's even named a "piano hinge" after this use. But why do pianos have such hinges, when a set of separate hinges, such as you'...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
  • 1,788
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What factors to consider when inventing a new (lab) instrument?

I have the idea for a new instrument which doesn't work with wind/blowing, hitting, or keystroked, but rather pressure. What factors should an instrument have? Is there a checklist that I can check ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
582 views

What's the highest note on a piano that uses 1 string?

What's the highest note on a piano that uses one string? (The note where the scale design crosses over from using 1 to 2 strings.)
Eriek's user avatar
  • 536
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why doesn't a piano have dampers in the upper register? [duplicate]

An acoustic piano has dampers that mute the strings when a pressed key is released. Pressing (and holding) the sustain pedal lifts the dampers, allowing the strings to continue ringing after keys are ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

What pickups should I install on my telecaster?

I have some texas specials on a telecaster right now. The were fine when I was back in the army but now I'm playing a wider combination of music that needs solid rhythm (even acoustic sounding would ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
2k views

What are the differences for left handed person when playing electric cello?

If I decide to buy an electric cello, should I look for a special one for left handed people, or I will even have to order a custom one?
creitve's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
2 answers
879 views

Creating a xylophone out of copper pipes

I have been trying to create a xylophone out of copper pipes for a school project and have been running into a few problems with calculating the length of each bar. I have been using this paper as ...
COsborne's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
119 views

Is there some means of expanding the range of a capped reed instrument?

Given the pitch limits of capped reed instruments, I wondered whether some means of expanding the range of such existed. Perhaps with some sort of embouchure mimicking device surrounding the reed, but ...
JDash's user avatar
  • 61
5 votes
2 answers
758 views

Trombone (or any other brass instrument really) construction material

I'm not really sure where to post this question: As a trombone player, I've never understood why aluminum is never used in brass instrument manufacturing. It's seldom mentioned on the internet either. ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
5k views

What are the pros/cons of the "tuning-in-slide" method of trombone design?

Almost all American-made trombones are tuned using a tuning slide in the crook of the bell section. However, some European instrument makers sell trombones designed with a one-piece crook and a ...
NReilingh's user avatar
  • 35.3k
5 votes
2 answers
4k views

Woods to use for woodwinds

What kinds of wood would work well for making woodwind instruments? I know that pearwood, boxwood, ebony, and maple are all standards, but of those only maple is readily available to me (and even then ...
PixelArtDragon's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do violin bridges support the lower strings at a greater height from the fingerboard?

It appears that violin bridges are typically designed asymmetrically to support the lower strings at a greater height from the fingerboard, as shown in this photo: At the end of the fingerboard the G ...
feetwet's user avatar
  • 1,130
5 votes
3 answers
306 views

Does the webbing seen in some trumpets change the sound?

Back in high school I played the trumpet for 6 months, and then clarinet for the next 4.5 years (high school is odd in Quebec, and it's not important to the question anyway), and I was a science ...
Portaljacker's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
145 views

Homemade Serpent project

One of the classes I'm in this semester is all about physics in the arts. One of our final projects is to make an instrument and, as a euphonium player, I decided to make a serpent. I've made the body ...
Michael Gardner's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
427 views

What happens when the wall thickness of a bamboo flute changes? Advice for a bamboo flute building

I’m building a Japanese bamboo flute, Noh-Kan, used for the Noh theater in a self-learning way. I’d like to ask some advice about the wall thickness and the hardness of the material. In Japan, among ...
monomono's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
271 views

Most violins have the same shape, mandolins have many different shapes, why is that?

There are mandolins with f-shaped holes, oval holes, round holes; bowlback mandolins and flatback mandolins; archtop mandolins and flattop mandolins; mandolins with a pear-shaped body (A-style) or ...
zabolekar's user avatar
  • 183
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Tutorials or advice on layering synths

so I have been into some music production for a few weeks, and I feel like I am improving gradually. The problem I am having currently is layering synths. If I listen to a track, I can sort of make ...
Filuren's user avatar
  • 151
4 votes
1 answer
799 views

What are the mechanics behind flute keys used to play chromatic notes?

I recently listened to recordings of the bansuri, a bamboo flute used in Indian (Hindu) music, and I thought about trying to make one myself from scratch. A tutorial I found on wikiHow makes the ...
TLSO's user avatar
  • 233
4 votes
1 answer
10k views

What is "vintage" wiring on a Les Paul?

What does "vintage" wiring on a Les Paul look like? How is it different from "modern" wiring? What are its advantages? Drawbacks?
Jduv's user avatar
  • 11.6k
4 votes
1 answer
542 views

Why is it so uncommon to see electric basses with flat fretboards?

I am interested in this as I build my first bass and it took me the whole summer, so any ways to make the handbuilding process simpler, faster and still reliable. Classical guitars have flat ...
Emílio Dolgener Cantú's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
299 views

Purpose of window in kick drum [duplicate]

I was at a jazz concert tonight and the kick drum was facing the audience. It had a circular "window" on the lower right (from the audience's point of view), with a microphone in front of it....
Mark Foskey's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Electric Guitar Jack: How To Get A Nice Fit

I've noticed on several guitars I play, that I will get a satisfying -click- when I plug the jack into the guitar. But on one guitar I own, there is no haptic sensation. You can feel that it barely ...
Jason P Sallinger's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
4k views

6 finger Flute hole placement formula

I like to experiment on plastic flutes. Is there a mathematical formula for placing holes in a flute? Is it same for all kinds of flutes for example western flute,6 hole flute or 8 hole flute?
User's user avatar
  • 141