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Monday, September 27, 2010

An instrument to end the war of strings

The fretted harp!

12 strings exist since quite some decades. On those every string has a second one, an octave higher, except string 1 and 2 which are simply doubled. They have a very rich sound, but playing them is not different than usual ones.
Then came 7 strings, 8 string and 9 strings to add more scale. Also 5 string, 6 string and 7 string bass guitars aren't that uncommon anymore.
In stage 3 the chapman stick and warr guitar and nowadays the stringstation rule.

So, being Stringray, I gotta find some more strings!

The idea is simple: attach a fretboard to a harp.

1. playability:
But how can one play that if not standing in fron of it, with your back to the audiene, constantly movin up and down and showing them your fat ass?
So, you still had to play it like the harpist does, from both sides. For achieving this, a normal fretboard is imposible. But there's still a way. At first, -yes- double the amount of strings. Every string must have its twin, sitting behind it. In between the string layers would be steel bars that carry the steel frets, one on each side of the bar, so each of the twin strings can have frets.

good playability, a pretty cool looking artist, and --- MORE SRTINGS!

2. Tonal set up:
The harp is constructed to transport the strings' frequencies to the sound body on both ends, so it's quite tricky.
Now attaching frets brings of course the 'problem' that it will always produce 2 notes, one on the upper and one on the lower end of the string.
There's only one way to gain control over this. The fret distances must be set in a way that a harmonic is always given. Both ends of a string must be in harmony in every given scenario.
That also gives options. Since there are many strings in similar tonal range, you can have different string set ups for different dual harmonic scales.

Advantage: nobody will ever be able to play this.

3. Construction:
I swear, if you ever build that, I will not die until I've learned to play it! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The flagship loses its captain

So Portnoy calls his quits?

I'm not shocked. Not this time.

I'm saying for a couple of years now that the band needs a break to charge their batteries of creativity. Now Portnoy, the band leader, is the one who does it while the rest doesn't. That's quite a surprise as I always thought it was MP who sailed the band into those commercial sell out shores. So was it the other way round and MP simply saw that they were going the wrong way and tried to get back on the right track? We will see.

It will be interesting who will step into his shoes as there aren't too many out there who could replace him, and I bet quite a number of them won't even try to compare themselves to him.

On the other hand the best times of DT in the past have always been the ones when they had to replace a member and merge new creative aspects to their musical identity, so there's hope that DT now find another spark that brings them back to their old strength.

Let's see what the future will bring.