I was thumbing through the Summer 2006 issue of The FretBoard Journal (Number 2), a gorgeous magazine for stringed instrument players, collectors, and builders, and came across this short piece about "tone balls." These are the "nebulous balls formed from the bits of lint, dust, hair and insect husks that fall into the soundholes of guitars and mandolins."
Steve Olson, who repairs guitars at Elderly Instruments in Michigan has been collecting tone balls for years and has "catalogued dozens of examples by make, model and year of the host instrument." He says his favorite tone balls are the "densely compressed, perfect spheres formed by rolling around under the cone of old National guitars (top left)."
The Fretboard Journal Number 2 is sold out at the publisher's website, but is available at Elderly Instruments' website for $9.95 (the same issue contains an article I wrote about a ukuele strumming robot used to break in newly-made ukuleles).
The Theremin, an electronic musical instrument that you play by not touching it, celebrates the 100th anniversary of its invention next year. Smithsonian looks at the history of the first successful electronic musical instrument that New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg described as sounding like “(a) cello lost in a dense fog, crying because […]
The world can be a loud, scary, chaotic place. You may need this.
Enjoy this beautiful song “Everyone Hides” from Wilco’s forthcoming 11th album, Ode To Joy, out on October 4. The album is also available in a limited-edition vinyl box set designed by my Grammy-winning pal Lawrence Azerrad who co-produced the Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition with Tim Daly and me. Check out the specs on […]
When it comes to data analytics or deep learning, there’s one language behind the apps and algorithms that power the biggest companies of today: Python. The best part about this tool is that as versatile as it is, it’s actually fairly easy to learn. But mastery? For that, you need more than just a beginners’ […]
Your smartphone’s GPS is a modern necessity for some trips, but how do you use it safely? It’s been a problem ever since phones went mobile. A certain phone mount even shelled out the money for a commercial during the Big Game, so clearly there’s a market for the solution. Turns out there are a […]
There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading for fuel; absorbing the great ideas in nonfiction books so you can apply them in your own life. In today’s hectic pace, it can be difficult to find the time to do that reading – especially for the entrepreneurs and professionals who can benefit the most from […]