DIY MUSIC: More Nerd Fun with Piezo Contact Mics

I had horrible insomnia a couple of nights ago so I started playing around with a piezo mic and my little Honeytone amp to see what noises I could get from what. Here are my findings:

  • WORKED: You can tape the contact mic to your chest and amplify your heart beat. Just make sure you crank the levels. (Nerd side note: You can stomp on a stompbox to the beat of your heart and its fun because as your heart rate quickens, you have to change your stomping pace. Oh, insomnia.)
  • DIDN’T WORK: Sadly, my metal soap dish attachment for my stompbox doesn’t really work. In fact, I tried different kinds of metal and steel plates on the board and they basically gave the same sound as the wood. When played separately, they can have a slightly “pingier” sound to them, but it’s not noticeable enough to warrant attaching something to the board.
  • WORKED: I taped the contact mic to both the bottom of a metal rack from my convection oven, and to a hand-held cheese grater, and scraped them with bamboo skewer sticks. A pretty cool sound for strange percussion players! (see pics below)
  • DIDN’T WORK: I strung metal jewellery wire across two bathroom hooks, attached to a wood block, and tried to play it with a bow. Didn’t work. The vibration was too weak to resonate into the wood, where the contact mic would pick it up.
  • WORKED: I attached two bathroom hooks to a block of wood, strung different-sized rubber bands on them, taped the contact mic to the wood and started playing the bands. (Much like the Kleenex-box guitars of our youth.) Worked like a charm! (see pics below)

What have you tried? Leave a comment below or email me at!

First Draft Stompbox Attachment

Convection Oven Percussion 2

Amplifying a Cheese Grater


~ by hooksandladders on July 15, 2009.

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