Junkmusic/Homemade Percussion

homemade percussion home

Two sticks.

(A staff, actually and a much smaller and thinner stick.)

A wooden staff and another shorter and thinner dowel can be used to good effect, in conjunction with stamping the feet and/or perhaps another player's staff or stick... Once again, we saw STOMP do it first, but nonetheless, it works, its fun and easy to teach, and it can fit with other junk solutions. We happened to find cheap lengths of bamboo on clearance at Pier 1, so we are using them, but any broomstick will work..We find that using a much thinner dowel for the short stick, perhaps like a thin timbale stick opr even thinner, gives more sound options. A hefty chopstick even works. Stomp, in contrast, uses sawed off shorter lengths of broomstick, roughly the same width as the staff, for which they use broomsticks. . This is sturdier and works better when connecting to another person's stick...

Jingles or other bells can be added to your staff, and using velcro, you can make these jingles or shaker elements optional..however even without jingles, the staff & stick can be quite an expressive instrument.

Playing Tips - You can get pitches based on how and from what point you hold the staff. one good way to get variety is to hold the staff about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the top then play above and below that hand. Other tones are available as well. Playing the staff while it is in the air or held very lightly from a nodal point gives a marked contrast in sound to a normally or tightly held staff..:-].

Use care when working with a bamboo staff on concrete surfaces, because you can quickly cause damage to your staff. we much prefer a wood floor, and even bring a piece of plywood to put down when working on concrete..A typical rhythm based on the universal 3+3+2..

We assume you are right handed, and will hold the staff in your left hand with the smaller stick in your right. Right is the stick(red), Left is thre staff on the floor (blue).


For more advanced students: Experiment with playing cascara patterns with the stick as the staff plays either clave or the blue part above, and so on. it's nice to play something like the short 6/8 bell part with the right hand, for example, and switch in the staff hand between clave and simple downbeats..if I ever get my new sound card configured right, i shall post examples; thanks for your patience; check back..

It will take patience to develop complete control over the sustain of the staff, and the behavior of the jingles, if you decide to use them, but this is part of what make the instrument expressive..even without mastering these subtle facets, the sticks are still useful..

An article is forthcoming which will detail practice rhythms to build up one's facility on this instrument, and to integrate it with other inexpensive junk instruments..stay tuned

This instrument can easily be used in conjunction with other instruments here at Rhythmweb.

For more homemade ideas, try our main homemade percussion page, or join us at the Junkmusic group at yahoo..


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