A DIY violin with a spring reverb tank inside

A funny thing happened on the way to the digital instrument age – builders rediscovered novel acoustic and electroacoustic inventions, too. Take this gorgeous example by builder/composer/musician David Hilowitz. And it all started with a broken amp part.

That’s right, the spring reverb tank here is upcycled – salvaged from a broken part inside a Fender amp. The reverb tank gets installed inside the body of the violin, inside the resonating chamber. It’s an electroacoustic instrument here, though with very simple electronics – you need a pickup and a jack to capture the vibrations in the tank. David walks through the whole process:

[embedded content]

The sound is unearthly, adding a massive reverberation to the normally dry sound of a box violin. And some of its unruly characteristics suggest other feedback possibilities.

It’s no Strad. “It’ll probably fall apart in a year or two,” David admits. But what a year or two that’ll be.

I’m posting this in part because I expect it’ll trigger some other posts from other folks. By all means – carry on and let us know what reverb tank creations you’ve built / seen.

David, based in Philadelphia, has a bunch of music to check, too, both a rock project:

https://manwomanchild.bandcamp.com/

And composition / scoring project, which “focuses on the intersection between modular synthesis and violin music.”

https://davidhilowitz.bandcamp.com/

Here’s a lovely atmospheric creation or two:

Plus he has a Patreon, where he’s developing a sampler project – ah, interested in that, as well!

https://www.patreon.com/dhilowitz

This one I’m embarrassed to say is new to me (yeah, every now and then it happens), but it involves a custom sample player format and player software. Huh, I can’t think of the one that everyone uses that has things about it that might be, you know, less than decent… cough ahem…