Cheap Slides, Cool Pics, D.I.Y. Piezo Pickup Build Idea


I found when one doesn’t have what one needs, it’s time for creativity and improvisation!

As a blues player and live-music fan, I LOVE improv. anyhow.

So I’d sent all my guitar slides home after Cornerstone Festival and decided as long as I was going to try and build a few cigarbox and found-object guitars, all slide-based, why not try some copper pipe from the local hardware store?

I think someone at had mentioned this before, but what a cool deal… as they had a piece in the back, cut and burnished (took the inside sharp burrs off after cutting to 2 and 1/2 inches long as per my desire) and the 3/4 inch pipe works great for my finger (I uses slides on my left ring-finger).

Works and sounds fine! Not sharp, no cuts. they are slightly light but plenty weighty for my taste.

Got four new copper “slides” for about 2 bucks. Store-bought slides are 8 or more dollars each.

Also, I have long preferred nylon picks. They don’t break and all you can do is lose them or give them away. Jim Dunlop’s are my faves, 60 mm. BUT… I have also bought MatchPicks, pretty cheap and they are Dunlop 73 mm. Nice, cheap, always around if needed in what looks like a matchbook.

Lastly, those who build cigarbox and/or found-object instruments know about taking Radio Shack doorbell buzzer piezo elements (flat discs with 2 short wires coming off ’em) and carefully breaking them out of the plastic, soldering on a 1/4 in. female jack, and after drilling into the guitar’s box and electric-tape wrapping the little wires, one has an electrified home-made instrument when plugged into an amplifier.

Well, some have used various Altoids boxes in their builds to build little tranny amps inside, or even to hotglue these piezo pickups inside of (also for a bridge, sometimes for a nut too).

I have found Altoid Smalls (litte box, usually about a dollar per box with the sugar free mints in ’em) to be THE small piezo pickup holder. Very cool indeed, and they look interesting on these do-it-yourself guitars.

Have fun! Enjoy your summer! Love Jesus above all!

And thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn


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