Mbira  and New Technologies

Joshua Bishop on WordPress

1… I have both fibreglass and natural deze… The natural one is now the only one I will play but it did take a long time to get hold of. I can only describe it as a more ‘natural and wooden’ sound – subjective of course. I am surprised there hasn’t been more experimentation with hardened papier mache, I even considered trying wooden venir at one point but never got round to it.

2… Amplification. I think the electronic pickups do not capture the whole sound of the mbira. As with any acoustic musical instrument, it needs proper microphones to pick up what the listener would normally hear. This seems to be the only way of capturing the ‘true’ sound, gourd and all.

3… Having made my own mbira once and making minor adjustments several times since completion, I cannot imagine the struggle it must be with wire. I am not aware of any effect the flattened bolt method has on the sound so it would have to be a strong argument to convince me otherwise!!

4… I’m a bit on the fence for buzzing. I use bottle tops because they last and are easy to come by, but I must admit it doesn’t sit very comfortably with me! I would imagine shells are to bottle tops as fibreglass is to a calabash deze – but havn’t really had the time to compare…

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