When the Maker and the Player Met
Over the last two weeks we launched another Maker Module–building a license plate guitar. MAKE magazine featured the project as a DIY weekend deal. It sounded perfect. With a few trips to Radio Shack, the local hardware stores, and a great place in New Hampshire called CB Gitty, who made a quick special order of fretted necks in a few days, we were ready. Doug Alford, Gould’s famous glogger, and Billy Ayotte, our Maker, set to work with a few kids.
From the onset, the directions looked pretty straight forward and supported. And then the Maker and the Player met. The space between the vision of the making and the vision of the playing is obscure at best. Here is just a quick list of the making that was done on the fly by Mr. Ayotte:
1. used V-Carve Pro to build maple bridge because the bridges were not on the parts list
2. used the table top Shop Bot to cut the bridges (whew!)
3. used the Shop Bot to cut a hole in the guitar because a nibbler is an impossible find in wester Maine
4. on Sunday morning read the Cigar Box Nation advanced building manual to figure out string positioning
5. sent someone out for some Ernie Ball slinkies
6. design a truss to support the neck
Bringing the DIY / Maker culture into a school is exciting. Here is a video of Mr. Alford testing the prototype:
With all the excitement, it is hard to remember that when you put electricity, wood, magnetic pick ups, grounding loops, and a tuning machine together to make a something, you are really doing a project that combines electronics, wood working and mechanics. There is a subtle art to making this all come together because precision in the craft is what makes the guitar sound good.
As a write this, Mr. Ayotte is working on the magnetic pick up as he is also helping a student work on Inventor in the background. Proof that Makers need to be agile!