Back in 1977 I formed a four-piece band. Punk, post-punk, something like that.
I wrote the songs, sang, and played a mix of rhythm and lead guitar.
I had heard an the E-Bow on one or another album. I had never seen one, just heard it, and liked the sound.
I wondered how it worked. I imagined that it was something vibrating against the guitar strings.
Turns out, that’s wrong. But my naive mental model lead me to use a more-available (and surely less expensive) substitute: A vibrating dildo.
At the time I used it on one song, “Human Sacrifice”. I might have gone on to use it on more songs but before long the band split up.
Fast-forward to 2016 and I’m making music again. My debut was split across two albums (both named Maximum R&D).
One has a song called “TR3” that pays homage to the NYC downtown club scene where my band played. I used the vibro-guitar during the instrumental break of the song (it’s also mixed in the background during the verses).
Besides being able to vibrate strings, and make whirring and buzzing noises, you can smack the strings with the dildo, and get some pitch bending by hitting the base of the strings and sliding up and down.
On another track, “Morgen”, I used the vibrator on an electric bass guitar (it comes at the end of the piece).
The original dildo was stolen at a gig. Lost to history. So when I set out to make new music, and use the same technique, I needed a new tool.
I think I first ordered something from Amazon, but wasn’t super happy with it. That original dildo had a particular kind of not really soft, but also not brittle, plastic.
I went down to the local Fascinations, a sex toy shop. The sales lady there was super helpful in explaining the different attributes of vibrating accessories. (The motor-vibrating part is called “the bullet”.)
I now have a collection of about five or six devices of varying sizes. And always on the lookout for new ones. The trick is to get sufficient vibrating power with proper bounce while avoiding too much motor noise. (You can always get the motor noise by playing closer to the pickups; sometimes all I want is the vibration, not the motor buzz.)
None of my previous tracks were based solely on the use of the vibrator, so for this Disquiet I decided to make it the focus.