“Hula Girl” Guitar and Ukulele Shaker!

I have finished writing my book “Left-Brain Lutherie:  Using Physics and Engineering Concepts for Building Guitar Family Instruments:  An Introductory Guide to Their Practical Application”.  Details can be found here.

There was a point when sales were slow that I created small shakers to “break in” my newly built instruments (and keep me company in my lonely basement).

Basically, I took a small (3″) Radio Shack speaker and first removed the cone and metal rim, being careful not to cut away the little “ears” on the paper cone to the driver.  I then glued a short piece of dowel to the center section of the speaker, and a clothes pin to the other side of the dowel.  See Figure 1. below.

The tip of the clothes pin was then sawn into for ~ 1/2″ creating a slot wide enough for any string to fit into.  Then a hole was drilled at right angles to the slot, through and across the upper of the wooden pins.  The hole is a size appropriate to whatever small brad or nail you might have handy.  See Figure 2. below.

Figure 1.  Side view of Hula Girl Shaker Figure 2.  Top view of Hula Girl Shaker

To use, the clothes pin is opened, a string of choice goes into the slot, the pin clamps onto the bridge and the whole thing held in place with the brad/nail and clamping pressure of the clothes pin.  See Figure 3. below.

Figure 3.  Hula Girl Shaker in place

Connect the speaker to your favorite FM station and enjoy.  At one point I had ~ dozen ukuleles and guitars all serenading me with classical orchestral music!  Very large positive changes occur during the first week or so.  My ukuleles seemed to prefer Hawaiian music…;)

There was a brief interlude when I was working with Dean Markley to try to come up with a simpler, more robust transducer and also see about breaking the existing patent description for the guitar shaker.  My thought was to have a relatively inexpensive setup for every music store so that the better guitars would always be in the condition of being played, albeit softly.  Same for home players of better instruments.  Alas, Dean’s attention span was all too short, but the idea still has merit.

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