Slide guitar : bicycle parts

The electric slide guitar is a very open instrument concerning manufacturing, few adjustments and great freedom in materials and possible objects! For the basics, take a look at the video tutorial here:

We’re gonna take a look at the welded bike version:

The material itself is not really important for the sound, wich is almost entirely produced by the strings and the microphone or microphones. We can use anything, as long as it is strong enough to withstand the tension of the strings. I tried to modify as little as possible the original object.

I folded and welded one of the rods to make the bridge, drilling it from side to side (drill diagonally from the line of the strings to prevent the buzzing strings)

I welted one of the rear wheel mountings at the center of the handlebar to make the head of the instrument, there was just enough space to put all the mechanics (I’m pretty proud of that). The mechanics hold with a mixture of glue and washers, if you are better craftman than I you will find a better solution!

I had to add a non-bicycle foreign piece as a head bridge, a piece of steel angle welded to the handlebar shaft. The pitch of the instrument, the distance between this head bridge and the body bridge, is 63 cm, rather close to a standard electric guitar.

The axis of the saddle is used to support the microphone, I closed the pedal location, drilled and lengthened the microphone’s wires because I REALLY wanted to plug my Jack cable here!

For the end, a bicycle air chamber strap, I had to.

For the untrained slide players, it is difficult to play just without any visual cue, if necessary you can put a few marks on the strings with a permanent marker, they must be marked again from time to time but it helps.

To know where to put the landmarks, you will find on this link a tool to calculate the frets location.

Do not hesitate to try slide guitar with any objects and materials, it works!


I wish you a good DIY, please send me your feedback and experimentations in the comments, and subscribe to not miss the next articles!

A propos Nicolas Bras 12 Articles
Homemade Instrument maker, rare and strange instrument seeker / Bricoleur d'instruments, chercheur d'instruments rares

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