Electric Whisk

I’ve had a set of conventional whisks that have been part of my stick bag for years. I always wished that they were made in a such a way that I could connect an alligator clip to each prong, then use it to control other electronics. Unfortunately, prong insulation is not a high priority for whisk manufacturers.  After seeing how successful my Sidrassi-Tom was at incorporating electronics into my acoustic drums setup, I decided it was time to try to build some of my own whisks.

The initial parts were easy enough to source. Thick, silver-plated steel wire from a local craft shop, aluminum tubing from the hardware store, 6-core cable, alligator clips, and strain relief cap, all from the the local Maplin. The most difficult part to find was what would actually hold the metal prongs in place. Wood was the obvious choice as it’s easy to cut and drill, but I could not find any dowels of the appropriate thickness to hold tight in the tubing. After trying a few different things it hit me like a ton of bricks. Paintbrushes. Paintbrushes come in all kinds of thicknesses, and are generally tapered, ensuring a very snug fit. The only hard part once I figured that out was finding the cheapest/thickest brush I could.

Once I had all my materials in place, the actual construction wasn’t too difficult. After a lot of patient drilling, and waiting for epoxy to dry, I had the finished whisks.

At the moment I am mainly using them with my Ciat-Lonbarde Kitten-Nettiks, but they would work with any electronic device that relies on bridging a connection to activate or alter a sound.

Below are some videos of them in action, along with some photos of the build process.

The whisks are featured throughout this whole video.

You can also hear the whisks starting around 2:12 in this track.
Where The Skin Meets The Bone by Rodrigo Constanzo

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Rodrigo Constanzo is a performer and composer living in Manchester, England. He is an avid improviser and performs regularly using home made electro-acoustic, and modified electronic instruments.

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