A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column on Wesseh Freeman (a.k.a. “Weesay”) and his oil can guitar. He’s the blind artist from Liberia who had a video go viral last December. You guys responded so enthusiastically that I got in contact with Freeman. Through his biggest fan/helper in Liberia, Sachin Ramchandani, I’ve been able to become friends with this amazing guitarist.
Have you ever bought a guitar slide and had intentions of ripping new leads with it, only to discover when you get home that it’s damn near impossible to use? Yeah, I’ve been there, too. Playing slide guitar, well, takes a little dedication in practice, but also in the way you set up your gear, too.
I sat down with Mark Pirro, bass guitarist for the Polyphonic Spree and Tripping Daisy, to talk about the greatest of DIY recording techniques: recording something in the bathroom. Pirro had a completely unique take on the subject, using the bathroom as a mixdown echo chamber!
Somebody with a cell phone camera approached Weesay on the street and asked him to make up a jingle for O! Chips potato chips. Weesay picked up his three-string "can guitar" and proceeded to rock out. The result was a two-and-a-half-minute video that was viewed by millions.
Last week, I showed you how to take a common 2x4 plank and easily turn it into a playable lap steel guitar. (You can see those plans right here.) For this week, I've built a second 2x4 lap steel and improved its sound and setup; I even gave it a hobo-art look. I’ve listed links to the parts at the very bottom of this story, where you'll also find a new demo video.
Something major happened on the two-hour drive back home that evening: Instead of wringing my hands and lamenting the gig (as was usually the case), I started asking myself, "What are the specific details that went into my bad performance?" I turned off the radio, set the cruise control on the car and went through my whole act, song by song.
This is one of the easiest homemade guitars I have ever built, and it only took me one hour to make. This lap steel was made from an extra 2x4 I had in my shed and just a few saw cuts to the wood. I even used a pre-wired acoustic soundhole pickup so there was no wiring needed. Anybody can build this lap steel!
While countless other guitar companies introduced their own versions of Strats or dreadnaughts at the 2015 Winter NAMM Show, a California percussionist named Andy Graham had the most adventurous and groundbreaking booth this year with his SlapStick instruments.
In the past month, Eddie Van Halen donated a replica of his Frankenstein guitar to the Smithsonian—and Les Paul’s Black Beauty sells for $335,500 at auction. Both guitars are iconic and have created legendary music. And both guitars look like they’ve been hacked at with chisels, cut with coping saws and fitted with mismatched parts.