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Thread: Bedpan-dolin

  1. #1
    Jo Dusepo, luthier Dusepo's Avatar
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    I am a luthier specialising in historical and world stringed instruments. You can see more info at my website.

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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Weird, but oddly cute. Although I would think that, copper being a somewhat soft metal, it might not serve well as a resonating sound production material. Brass, on the other hand ...

    To be fair, this is a bed warmer, not a bed pan. Very different functions.

    I believe a true bedpan-body instrument has flushed, er, flashed through these pages before. Also, instruments with toilet seat bodies. These last were electric instruments, hence did not need to utilize an acoustic chamber.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Thanks, Jo. I always jump at the chance to post this great video, with a "commodium".

    "www.myspace.com/axelrodcaryandfoss
    The cello player built the mandolin out of a metal bed pan. He calls them 'commodiums'. You can buy one from him. Keith Cary is his name. It's Bill Foss playing the thing. Axelrod on guitar."


    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Weird, but oddly cute. Although I would think that, copper being a somewhat soft metal, it might not serve well as a resonating sound production material. Brass, on the other hand ...

    To be fair, this is a bed warmer, not a bed pan. Very different functions.

    I believe a true bedpan-body instrument has flushed, er, flashed through these pages before. Also, instruments with toilet seat bodies. These last were electric instruments, hence did not need to utilize an acoustic chamber.
    One could substitute for the other, in a pinch!
    I like it too and this one appears electric, if that copper cover is a pickup. Appears far more sophisticated than the owners other artwork, so we’d need provenance. I especially like the treatment of the ‘f’ holes and the peghead trim, both of which imply effort and skill. Acoustic quality? Dunno, but copper that’s been originally spun tends to work-harden a bit, especially if it’s not particularly pure. Wood, though, is a better damper than resonator - wooden bells don’t work well!

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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    I had contacted the maker of the "commodium" (Cary) a few years back to inquire about cost, etc. He replied that he wasn't making any more of them (at the time) because folks were not taking them seriously as instruments but rather as a novelty. Hopefully he responds with current info.

  9. #6
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Myspace is still active? Maybe yes, maybe no, but there's not much at that page.

    Quite an extensive article here.

    Behold, in all its glory: the Commodium.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a demo by the builder, with another fine photo:

    Last edited by journeybear; Oct-10-2021 at 9:44am. Reason: further research
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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    Ranald 

  11. #7
    Registered User Ranald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    I had contacted the maker of the "commodium" (Cary) a few years back to inquire about cost, etc. He replied that he wasn't making any more of them (at the time) because folks were not taking them seriously as instruments but rather as a novelty. Hopefully he responds with current info.
    That's interesting. I also asked Keith Cary a few years back too. He didn't mention the "novelty" aspect, though I take his point. Keith is a luthier, and said he was focussed on making other instruments, and didn't want to make a commodium at the time. Here's a good article about Keith, his work, and commodiums, with a an observation that supports what you were saying, ajh..

    https://www.fretboardjournal.com/fea...of-keith-cary/


    "He quickly grew tired of hearing the same jokes over and over about the 'bedpandolins,' Keith says. 'They were really loud, and people appreciated the novelty of it, that they are made from bedpans, [but] I’m really not that nuts about that aspect of it anymore, because I think they are great instruments and I don’t want the novelty to distract from that. But I still enjoy building them for people I don’t know'.”
    Last edited by Ranald; Oct-10-2021 at 10:48am.
    Robert Johnson's mother, describing blues musicians:
    "I never did have no trouble with him until he got big enough to be round with bigger boys and off from home. Then he used to follow all these harp blowers, mandoleen (sic) and guitar players."
    Lomax, Alan, The Land where The Blues Began, NY: Pantheon, 1993, p.14.

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  13. #8
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard500 View Post
    Wood, though, is a better damper than resonator - wooden bells don’t work well!
    Huh? What are we playing, then, if not wooden resonating chambers?

    Wooden bells DO work, though they are constructed differently from metal ones, being made of substances with different characteristics. Wood IS softer than metal, or some plastics, but it works rather well when used right - and selected for the right combination of qualities. Balsa wouldn't work too well but spruce, maple, and birch seem to do just fine, when properly shaped.

    PS: Ranald - we found the same article! Here's another ...
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  15. #9
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    A few past threads on the genre can be found here.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  17. #10
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Re: wood as a resonating substance when struck –– there is the marimba...
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

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  19. #11
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Well, not much point in making too much of this. Metals do a much better job of vibrating when struck than wood. A metal-bodied instrument with wooden strings isn't going to sound like much. But these wooden boxes with strings that we are so fond of bashing about owe a good deal of their sound production to the materials used to construct them. They fare a good bit better than cigar boxes, for instance. The materials used, the way they are shaped, the size and shape of the chamber constructed, all these and other factors matter. Unless it's just the finish that is vibrating, and the wood is just a lacquer delivery system ... but I don't think that's the case.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  20. #12
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Anyway ... This hasn't anything to do with the bedwarmerdolin Jo found for our amusement. I wonder how it sounds. I wish people would post soundbites when they offer oddities for sale. There's no frame of reference for this all-important aspect of their existence.

    And though that does look like a pickup, I don't see a jack. More photos would help as well.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

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  21. #13
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    My friend Julie Mangin holds an event every year called the Tacky Treasures Roadshow, sort of modeled after the Antiques Roadshow. One year Cathy Fink showed up with a bedpan banjo, made using a plastic bedpan. You can see it here: http://www.tackytreasures.com/top/bedpanbanjo.html

    Pete

  22. #14

    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Well, not much point in making too much of this. Metals do a much better job of vibrating when struck than wood. A metal-bodied instrument with wooden strings isn't going to sound like much. But these wooden boxes with strings that we are so fond of bashing about owe a good deal of their sound production to the materials used to construct them. They fare a good bit better than cigar boxes, for instance. The materials used, the way they are shaped, the size and shape of the chamber constructed, all these and other factors matter. Unless it's just the finish that is vibrating, and the wood is just a lacquer delivery system ... but I don't think that's the case.
    Sorry about touching this off, but I fear we tripped over a common semantic crack in the pavement of knowledge, i.e. the word ‘resonance’ is used to mean different things in musical or scientific contexts. I was using the technical definition, which relates to any oscillating system with damping; a tuning fork is a simple example of something that oscillates at a single, fixed frequency with very little mechanical damping. It’s the fork itself, mostly. The resonance of the fork is very limited to that frequency, and the loss of mechanical energy per cycle is very low. A plucked metal string, clamped to immobile supports at both ends, also can have low damping, but is more complicated in that it resonates at all the harmonics, with diminishing amplitude for each one. (Electric guitar is a closer analog)
    A string connected to a soundboard via a bridge, with a thin plate putting acoustic energy into a box cavity is a far more complex system. There may be mechanical resonances (modes of the plate, modes of the string) but more important, it’s the acoustic effects that we’re after, and the box has many air resonances, so what we hear are sound waves produced by (mostly) the top plate, modified, damped, or enhanced by the shape of the box and its ports (soundholes).
    We do not want an instrument that has a pronounced, low damping resonance at one note, like an organ pipe, but several octaves of more or less uniform sound. This is anti-resonant, or if you prefer, the sum of many mechanical and acoustic resonances. We like to hear some sustain, too, which means that the damping of the energy in the wood and by the emitted sound wave is low. So if there’s not much sound (electric guitar string), not much energy goes into producing it, and sustain can be very long. If we stuff a mandolin with foam rubber, it will absorb and damp the sound and turn it into heat, and sustain will vanish.
    Rather than go on about this, I present a photo of an 1898 mandolin experiment that I bought this year. Nothing but early, early, aluminum sheet and steel strings. Doesn’t sound great.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  23. #15
    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    OK, I see, I think. So we don't disagree? Cool.
    But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong. - Dennis Miller

    Furthering Mandolin Consciousness

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    Default Re: Bedpan-dolin

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	196889 the mighty pandolin
    kterry

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