Sunday, April 17, 2016

Vibrations performance I. 

materials needed: electric string instrument, amplifier, speaker, audience

to produce sound, physically apply the instrument to the speaker housing and turn up the volume until vibration feedback starts to occur. 

when one string reaches its maximum amplitude of vibration, mute that string and allow another string to create feedback

after each string has been "played" experiment with the tuning pegs on the headstock to create different tones. first tune the instrument down as tuning the strings any tighter than standard tuning often results in broken strings.

please limit yourself from pressing down the string onto the frets or fingerboard as this is too close to the conventional way of playing string instruments.

feel free to use any effect/ loop pedals to create interesting sounds/ interactions

disclaimer: keeping your instrument fully un-tuned for any length of time after this performance is ill advised as the instruments neck may drift out of its proper alignment.

-Jim Wehmeier

Performance results. 

     i played this piece for an audience and originally tried to manipulate the sound using string harmonics on the neck of the instrument (harmonics are when a player only partially presses on a string  at specific frets of the neck of an instrument allowing both halves of the string to vibrate. see Jaco Pastorius' portrait of tracy) this form of manipulation of the instrument was unsuccessful because it did not change the tone of the vibration and it also did not mute the vibrating string either. 

while performing i wished that i had a third hand arm. for my performance i routed the strong signal from an amplifier at max settings into a small speaker. the force of the extremely high gain signal made the speaker shake violently. i held that small speaker to the bridge of the instrument facing outwards.. so as i was saying about wishing i had a third hand: one hand was holding the speaker to the instrument and the other was managing the strings on the neck, i wanted a third hand to cup around the small speaker and manipulate the sound my moving my hand over the sound holes. this concept works similarly to how a musician with a talk box (see peter frampton or bon jovi's living on a prayer guitar riff) shapes the sound of their instrument with their mouth


  1. Having known you these past few blocks, I had a certain expectation of what your performance would be like. Especially after last block where you integrated intermedia in your final project I expected you to interact with the audience verbally, and you did just that. The interaction with us was a good strategy as the performer, for it got us more connected to your stage persona as the muscian setting up before his performance. I liked the unexpected glitches as you were setting up. At first, I did not think the delay was intentional, but towards the end I noticed it was which made a good comedic effect. The incorporation of the various sounds carried with it a futurism attribute and I can tell the movement was an inspiration. Good job.

  2. I agree. I liked your interaction with the audience. I liked the sounds and visually how it looked. I would experiment with things that are not associated with the guitar - as in playing the guitar but with objects not intended. Where is your documentation? Photos, Please!

  3. What if there were two people playing a single instrument? That would be unconventional AND you'd have 4 hands!

    I liked your piece, and if you do it (or something like it) again, make it longer with more sets of instructions :)

    In all of your pieces so far, I have really liked the indeterminacy with which you perform!