instruments on the playa

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike

instruments on the playa

Postby Enli » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:32 pm

Hello hello!

So, I've often heard that bringing instruments to the playa (wood instruments in particular) is bad because of the danger the environment poses to them - not to mention you have to compete with a million amplifiers pumping out techno! :lol: That's understandable to me, but I recently spoke with a friend who brought a guitar to BM a few times and had no problems. It piqued my interest in the possibility of sharing music on the playa.

Specifically I am considering bringing a fiddle; I know it will probably be far more needy than a guitar. Dust + rosin + delicate bow strings = maybe a big ugly mess. I would consider spending a bit of money on a cheapie violin if anyone feels the danger would be too great for my (already cheapie!) fiddle at home. If I did bring an instrument I'd definitely be willing to spend a lot of time babying it, cleaning it, re-soaking a humidifier and whathaveyou.

Have you ever brought a wooden instrument to the playa? How did your instrument fare, and how much upkeep did it require?

I am very interested in hearing about your experiences bringing instruments to the playa and whether it's a damned terrible idea or if I should go for it. :)

"Saltless" Enli
Neverwas Haul
BM 2009

Mistress of Time, Server of Tea
The Bomb Bay Tea Company
BM 2008
User avatar
Enli
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:57 am
Location: CA

I

Postby knowmad » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:22 pm

I make and Play Cedar Flutes; about the only problem I noticed (and learned from) is the Alkaline dust will pit the finish on your piece. I should have wiped it down better maybe with a bit of vinegar first and then wax. but Interments and music is so welcome. when you play on the open playa the sound just gets sucked away, other times it caries for weird long distances, and gets some bizarre heat/air/distortion sounds to it.

Look around on eplaya Seems I remember seeing some one organizing a symphony
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
User avatar
knowmad
 
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:33 pm
Location: Puget Sound
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: 09-11 Specialist Clan
12 BWS BDV/DPB

Postby Elliot » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:20 pm

:D
I cannot address the feed and care of the fiddle, but I would love to hear you play in Black Rock City!
:D
Elliot's Bicycle Service, Camel Saddlery and Beverage Salon 5 & G as before, probably.
Ali Elliot Fy Fasan, proprietor

Caravansary Black Rock 2014



ImageImageImage
Millicent The Bus; pedal-vehicles on Playa and in Kinetic Sculpture Races.
User avatar
Elliot
 
Posts: 5307
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Burning Since: 2006
Camp Name: Elliot’s Bicycle & Beverage Emporium

Re: I

Postby Enli » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:12 pm

knowmad wrote:I make and Play Cedar Flutes; about the only problem I noticed (and learned from) is the Alkaline dust will pit the finish on your piece. I should have wiped it down better maybe with a bit of vinegar first and then wax. but Interments and music is so welcome. when you play on the open playa the sound just gets sucked away, other times it caries for weird long distances, and gets some bizarre heat/air/distortion sounds to it.


Thanks! That's a great point, I forgot that the alkali could have an effect on the varnish. And I love what you said about the sound.. I can't wait to experiment.

elliot wrote:I cannot address the feed and care of the fiddle, but I would love to hear you play in Black Rock City!


Yay! I'll be happy to play a tune for you. :D
Neverwas Haul
BM 2009

Mistress of Time, Server of Tea
The Bomb Bay Tea Company
BM 2008
User avatar
Enli
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2008 6:57 am
Location: CA

Postby Mojojita » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:35 pm

We have brought giutars to the playa for a dozen years now. Our biggest concern is the extreme lack of humidity. It helps to keep a bit of damp sponge in the case - works like a cigar humidor. Don't forget to loosen strings during travel as the elevation changes as well as heat and humidity can have a profound effect on the neck. Metal guitar strings are shot and have to be changed after a week of playa - they corrode very quickly. Be sure to keep instruments packed away when not in use and you should do fine.

Come see us at Jungle Camp and we'll swap a song or five.
User avatar
Mojojita
 
Posts: 1034
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:17 am
Location: Under your bed

Postby LeChatNoir » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:06 pm

An eplayan from way back, Rian Jackson, brings (or at least used to bring) a fiddle to the Burn every year. She’s doesn’t hang around the board anymore, which is too bad, but regardless she’s discussed this topic before on here and I bet with a search for her username and the word “fiddleâ€
The New and Improved Black Cat... now with 25% more blather
User avatar
LeChatNoir
 
Posts: 5831
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2003 8:52 am
Location: Louisville, Ky

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:21 am

Reed instruments must be the worst on the playa, since they're the most vulnerable to drying out.

Still, looking forward to hearing more live acoustic music!!!
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby jpx » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:52 am

i've had good luck bringing a Backpacker guitar to Black Rock City, with no need to baby it. i really did just throw it over my shoulder and cart it around, on my bike, storms, anyplace. i didn't have problems with it at all though i did break the same string twice, and carry double spares now.

"not to mention you have to compete with a million amplifiers pumping out techno!"


you'd be surprised, the piano at the skinny kitty lounge could hold its own ... quite handily...
for me and my true love will never meet again
User avatar
jpx
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:33 am
Location: montreal, QC

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:50 am

Ha, the SKL had its own ampitheatre. ;)
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby LittleJack » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:22 pm

As an inveterate picker, I had to bring an instrument last year. My main instrument is mandolin, and they're almost as touchy as fiddles, so after much thought I brought my manjo (banjo headed mando), aka My Man Joe. I've wired the inside with sound activated EL-Wire, which makes it even more fun. The advantage of the manjo, besides being a somewhat carnival instrument, is that I can take the resonator off of the back and clean the inside out with compressed air before giving it a very light wipe with vinegar and water. And whoever mentioned the strings was quite correct, plan on changing them when you get home.

I went to an acoustic jam last year and had a blast. I'd love to jam more with folks on the playa, or heaven forbid maybe even morris dance or Irish dance! There was an Irish bar last year where I ended up jamming with some folks, albeit briefly.

-Little Jack
User avatar
LittleJack
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Alameda, CA
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Hushville

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:05 pm

An Irish Bar? :roll:
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby LittleJack » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:58 pm

Yep, nice little bar, too. It was across the street from AEZ, down maybe a block towards the 10:00 side.
User avatar
LittleJack
 
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 2:20 pm
Location: Alameda, CA
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Hushville

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:28 pm

Aye, wrong side from my camp. Missed a lot of things.
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby phil » Mon Mar 22, 2010 3:28 pm

User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 2975
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: Codgerville

Postby knowmad » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:23 am

Ugly Dougly wrote:Aye, wrong side from my camp. Missed a lot of things.


how in all hell's blazes, do you have a wrong side to your camp? ya'll burn weired.
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
User avatar
knowmad
 
Posts: 3304
Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:33 pm
Location: Puget Sound
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: 09-11 Specialist Clan
12 BWS BDV/DPB

Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:59 am

knowmad wrote:
Ugly Dougly wrote:Aye, wrong side from my camp. Missed a lot of things.


how in all hell's blazes, do you have a wrong side to your camp? ya'll burn weired.


It was the wrong side of Black Rock City.

Course, it's all wrong. Ain't right neither. ;)
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby Ranger Genius » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:41 pm

I brought a wooden astrolabe one time. Worked fine. No permanent damage.

I think I misunderstood the question.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”
User avatar
Ranger Genius
 
Posts: 2418
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain

Postby illy dilly » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:01 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote: Course, it's all wrong. Ain't right neither. ;)

We couldn't get ours right side up all week!

Enli wrote: I am very interested in hearing about your experiences bringing instruments to the playa and whether it's a damned terrible idea or if I should go for it

I'd say go for it!!! I don't know anything about instruments, but I do know that hearing live acoustic music sitting around the camp is amazing.
Why don't ya stick your head in that hole and find out? ~piehole
Plan for the worst, expect the best. Make the most out of it under any conditions. If you cannot do that you will never enjoy yourself. ~CrispyDave
User avatar
illy dilly
 
Posts: 4798
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:02 pm
Location: Denver, CO
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Gnome Dome

Postby phil » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:49 pm

Ranger Genius wrote:I brought a wooden astrolabe one time. Worked fine. No permanent damage.

I think I misunderstood the question.

Depends on what an astrolabe is. Do you pluck it? I have visions of plucking the 'labe. Astrolabe. Sounds like an instrument to me.

Didn't Jane Fonda have one in Barbarella?
User avatar
phil
 
Posts: 2975
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:10 pm
Location: Codgerville

Postby TomServo » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:51 pm

Just don't clean it all week. Used to play Bass Clarinet, should stay nice and hydrated...BUT Definitly keep it in its case when not being used. Never got this picky, but do they make a wax for woodwinds?
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Postby Ranger Genius » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:18 pm

phil wrote:
Ranger Genius wrote:I brought a wooden astrolabe one time. Worked fine. No permanent damage.

I think I misunderstood the question.

Depends on what an astrolabe is. Do you pluck it? I have visions of plucking the 'labe. Astrolabe. Sounds like an instrument to me.

Didn't Jane Fonda have one in Barbarella?


Image

You could pluck it, but it wouldn't do you much good.
“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”
User avatar
Ranger Genius
 
Posts: 2418
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 8:07 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain

Postby Joe Buck » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:49 pm

Hi Enli,

I play (and make) Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes). I have brought a set of pipes out the last couple of years and the worst thing that happened was I blew a reed, which is something you, very luckily don't have to contend with. One set is made of ebony and the other boxwood and I have not noticed any problem with the wood or finish since returning. The Boxwood set is finished with a violin varnish too, so pretty much just like the surface of a violin. One thing that was in my favor is that I live in Salt Lake City, which has basically the same relative humidity as the Playa. I would have to say that most Irish pipers would probably be aghast at the thought of bringing such a complicated and expensive instrument to the playa, but I made the suckers so I can repair them if something goes wrong, theoretically. I am also careful to protect the pipes from the heat of the day and try not to open the case in a full on dust storm! One (very) sarcastic Irish piper I know commented that all the smoke in your typical Irish pub (before the smoking ban that is) could be no worse to the pipes than a playa dust storm, and after playing in too many dingy smoke-filled pubs I would have to agree, at least the residual playa smells, well, if not good at least OK, in a nostalgic fashion LOL.

As far as getting rid of the playa dust, I remove the reeds from my pipes (there are 7 reeds and 7 different pipes on the suckers) and blow off any dust with compressed air. I have a compressor in my workshop, but you can pick up a couple of cans of compressed air at any computer store, the stuff for blowing off computer parts and such. I asked a good friend here who makes violins for a living and he strongly advised against using anything but a dry clothe to wipe off the fiddle, and compressed air to blow out the insides. The varnish is very resilient to dry dust, but vinegar or alcohol-based solvents will remove some varnish. Also, he pointed out that violins are put together with hide-based glue, which is not permanent and allows them to be taken apart for repairs, even after centuries. Hide glue becomes liquid when heated, so make sure you keep the fiddle protected from the day-time heat (not in the trunk of your car!).

What type of music you play? If you have any Irish tunes in your repertoire we could play pipes and fiddle, although you would have to drop your open-string tuning two steps because I'm bringing an old-style set of pipes pitched in B. My fiddle-making friend does this all the time and it's a great sound, very much an old-school sound prevalent in Ireland before the potato famine!

Hope to see you on the playa!
User avatar
Joe Buck
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:39 pm
Location: City of Salt

Postby jpx » Fri Mar 26, 2010 10:43 am

Joe Buck wrote:Also, he pointed out that violins are put together with hide-based glue, which is not permanent and allows them to be taken apart for repairs, even after centuries. Hide glue becomes liquid when heated, so make sure you keep the fiddle protected from the day-time heat (not in the trunk of your car!).


does anyone know, either in theory or from personal experience, whether a repaired fiddle will be weaker at the point of the repair? or, is it like epoxy, where the glue can be harder than the substance being glued?

very sadly, i walked my viola into a doorframe, so there is a huge crack that i have had to have repaired. in a way this good, since this can now be the playa viola. but i'm concerned that the glue will not stand a chance in the heat of the playa.

nobody cries when you cut up a viola...
User avatar
jpx
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:33 am
Location: montreal, QC

Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:28 am

Joe Buck wrote:What type of music you play? If you have any Irish tunes in your repertoire we could play pipes and fiddle, although you would have to drop your open-string tuning two steps because I'm bringing an old-style set of pipes pitched in B. My fiddle-making friend does this all the time and it's a great sound, very much an old-school sound prevalent in Ireland before the potato famine!

Hope to see you on the playa!


That would be a feast for the ears!
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby Joe Buck » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:30 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:
That would be a feast for the ears!


Well, maybe if I could play like Mick O'Brian it would be!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tnWxsNshZQ&feature=related[/youtube]

I have a similar set of B pipes, based on a set made by Maurice Coyne ~1840, but I lack the musical fortitude and skill of Master O'Brian I'm afraid.

Nothing more steam-punkish than a set of Uilleann pipes with all those metal levers and complicated valves!

JPX, you probably did the viola a favor by relieving internal strain in the wood! I would imagine that it will be more stable post-repair because of it, but I would ask the guy who repaired it if possible and get his 2 cents worth. I'm always amazed to watch my friend repair violins, he always asserts that they are much more resilient than people (i.e. their owners) think. I've seen him pry the top right off a violin with out much fanfare, just pop it right off with a knife!

As far as the heat, I avoid playing my pipes in direct sunlight, but mostly because the reeds hate it and they are more happy in the evening on the playa when it cools off. I camp in a VW Bus which is pretty well insulated from the day-time heat. I keep the pipes in their case, well covered with some form of simple insulation, like a sleeping bag. They do just fine.
User avatar
Joe Buck
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:39 pm
Location: City of Salt

Postby Ugly Dougly » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:58 pm

That's beautiful. I would love to provide a venue for this music. It looks like I might have a Bizar Muzik (or something) camp for unusual and experimental music. or Barbarian Cafe for that matter. You'd be welcome to a gig there however it winds up. :)
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 27, 2010 7:44 am

Maybe I'm way off base here, but I'd be more concerned about how the repair might affect the tone.
And you might want to talk to a luthier about glues. MOst of us are just spit-balling.
Simon's real sig line?

Embrace the Sock

Winners never quilt, quilters never win...
User avatar
theCryptofishist
 
Posts: 37472
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:28 am
Location: In Exile
Burning Since: 2017

Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:46 am

Violas never get respect. There's an entire category of viola jokes online. :)
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
User avatar
Ugly Dougly
 
Posts: 16353
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:31 am
Location: San Jose, CA
Burning Since: 1996

Postby Polkageist » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:09 pm

Wow, I hope I come across the Irish pub location. I could just install myself in there and merrily play music forever and ever.

Considering that I love my instrument, and I've never been out to Burning Man, my plan is to buy a cheap-ass fiddle and case (~$200 worth) and proceed to play music for everybody with that.

If it dies in the desert, it lived the life of a good cause.
Polkageist
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:19 pm
Location: Alaska

Postby Elliot » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:15 pm

:D
Yesss! More real music on the Playa!
:D
Elliot's Bicycle Service, Camel Saddlery and Beverage Salon 5 & G as before, probably.
Ali Elliot Fy Fasan, proprietor

Caravansary Black Rock 2014



ImageImageImage
Millicent The Bus; pedal-vehicles on Playa and in Kinetic Sculpture Races.
User avatar
Elliot
 
Posts: 5307
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
Burning Since: 2006
Camp Name: Elliot’s Bicycle & Beverage Emporium

Next

Return to Q & A Tips and Tricks

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests