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Playing a guitar with an electric drill

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(@saryu)
Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 49
Topic starter  

Hi!

A couple of times lately I've heard mention of playing guitar with an electric drill, so I though I'd have a crack at it. I have an ordinary variable speed electric drill, and a Silvertone electric guitar (it's a cheap strat knock-off). The first thing I did was try to get the theremin effect. I found that sure enough, buy moving the dril closer to the pickups the volume increased, and by speeding up the drill the pitch got higher. The only difference between the "drillitar" and the theremin is that the theremin makes music whereas the drillitar just makes awful buzzing sounds :-P Well, so much for that.

Then I tried something I saw a guy do on youtube - I put a pick in the drill and tried playing like that. Well, it was incredibly awkward to say the least! I had to shift the guitar over to an awkward position so that I could get the drill to reach, and then I had to hold the drill at an awkward angle, the result being that I couldn't actually secure the guitar properly - it was left just sort of balancing against me. It was also difficult to play only one string - I was using the high e string but I also had to bend the B string away with my left hand so that the pick wouldn't hit it by accident. Due to the way I had to hold the drill, it was also hard to maintain a constant position so I wasn't able to regulate how hard the string was getting plucked very well. All in all, it is an interesting effect but it would take more skill and much more practice before I would be able to make it sound very good :-). I also had to be careful not to go too fast - a couple of times I had to go searching for the pick after it got flung out at high speed! Safety goggles are advised :-P

Has anyone else tried using an electric drill? Do you have any tips - I may have another go if it turns out there is a good technicque to use or something.


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(@alangreen)
Member Moderator
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366
 

Check out Paul Gilbert, during his days with Mr Big, he did some guitar work using an electric drill. Total Guitar magazine carried a short article on it sometime this year but can't remember exactly when.

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


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(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4166
 

saw mr. big open for RUSH back in 89-90 wasn't too impressed really. they used a drill then. seemed pretty lame.

#4491....


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

I've used one for drawing, but not for guitar.
Somewhere (probably YouTube) there is a video of two guys playing Misirlou, using a kitchen hand mixer. They added a piece of card (like we used to do as kids with our bikes, to get an "engine" sound on the spokes) as a pick

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S_dLVFlS9I

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

An electronic watch (with moving hands) held up to the pickup makes a cool "ping" once a second that sounds like the sonar sound effect out of an old submarine movie.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2268
 

hmmmm....I'll be back, I got to try something.
OK, I'll forewarn the paramedics

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

That did sound an awful lot like "Hey y'all, watch this!"

A guitar and a treadmill could go wrong in so many ways...

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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 Bish
(@bish)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3765
 

Alan had that one. I was thinking of Mr. Big, too.

Then I was going to comment on Neztok's, then Misanthrope's and then Rico's posts. They just kept getting funnier.

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


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(@trguitar)
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"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@denny)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 452
 

TR- Always cut AWAY from your body!

Denny


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 Bish
(@bish)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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Nice tapping technique. :D

Bish

"I play live as playing dead is harder than it sounds!"


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(@daniel-lioneye)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 235
 

I tried out the drill technique. I took a 3 sided pick, put it through a long bolt, then put in my drill. It works, but it takes some time to find the best place to hold it and how to finesse it to sound good(distortion is your friend). While I was trying this, I found out that the pick ups will pick up the drill sound, making my overdriven amp sound like a car going through the gears.

Guitars: Electric: Jackson DX10D, J. Reynolds Fat Strat copy
Acoustic: New York and a Jasmine.
Amps: Austin 15 watt, Fender Deluxe 112, Fender Champion 600 5w, 0ld 1970's Sears 500g.
Effects: Digitech Whammy, Big Muff Pi USA, MXR, Washburn Distortion.


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(@ricochet)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

Neztok's nephew shows talent!

TR, can you try that again with the chainsaw on a treadmill?

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@trguitar)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

I would have Ric but the treadmill is out on the porch to make room for the christmas tree.

Thats a cute kid, buy him a guitar. 8)

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

Unless you're EVH, drills shouldn't be anywhere near guitars. The thought of it scares me! And that chainsaw? Ahhhhh.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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