THE NEG-GUITAR

PLAYABLE MICROTONAL GUITAR, 2012

NEG-FI [US]

 

Neg-Fi’s sound is based upon acoustic beating. This 
phenomenon is created when two tones of close, but 
not quite identical, frequencies interact. As the sound 
waves alternately reinforce or cancel each other out, 
an effect similar to tremolo can be heard. As the 
frequencies drift apart from each other, the rate of this 
observed oscillation will increase, and as they approach 
unison the speed will decrease - until eventually 
stopping altogether as the tones reach unison.  
Neg-Fi harnesses these oscillations in their sound 
by purposefully tuning to notes in-between the standard 
Western twelve-tone temperament. This adds a unique 
texture and density to the sound, and makes it possible 
to play three tones within a single half-step of each other 
on two strings. The purpose of this work is to create a 
simplified representation of the foundation of Neg-Fi’s 
music in an easily accessible and interactive presentation.
A simple piece of wood, with only a few alterations, 
has been outfitted with spare parts - tuning pegs, nuts, a 
pick-up, a bridge constructed out of a piece of pipe, and 
an input jack - to create a very simple two-stringed guitar. 
The strings are tuned specifically to slightly above and 
slightly below the standard low-E on a guitar. Metal ‘frets’ 
placed at intervals up and down the instrument provides 
the ability to create a few other notes. The intent is that 
by playing the instrument, the audience will be able to 
experience oscillations through microtonal music. Distortion 
and octave effects pedals have been added to further 
enhance the exploration of these sounds, in addition to a 
tuner and a small headphone amplifier with volume control.

Neg-Fi’s sound is based upon acoustic beating. This phenomenon is created when two tones of close, but not quite identical, frequencies interact. As the sound waves alternately reinforce or cancel each other out, an effect similar to tremolo can be heard. As the frequencies drift apart from each other, the rate of this observed oscillation will increase, and as they approach unison the speed will decrease - until eventually stopping altogether as the tones reach unison.  Neg-Fi harnesses these oscillations in their sound by purposefully tuning to notes in-between the standard Western twelve-tone temperament. This adds a unique texture and density to the sound, and makes it possible to play three tones within a single half-step of each other on two strings. The purpose of this work is to create a simplified representation of the foundation of Neg-Fi’s music in an easily accessible and interactive presentation.A simple piece of wood, with only a few alterations, has been outfitted with spare parts - tuning pegs, nuts, a pick-up, a bridge constructed out of a piece of pipe, and an input jack - to create a very simple two-stringed guitar. The strings are tuned specifically to slightly above and slightly below the standard low-E on a guitar. Metal ‘frets’ placed at intervals up and down the instrument provides the ability to create a few other notes. The intent is that by playing the instrument, the audience will be able to experience oscillations through microtonal music. Distortion and octave effects pedals have been added to further enhance the exploration of these sounds, in addition to a tuner and a small headphone amplifier with volume control.

 

THE NEG-GUITAR

About the artist: 

Neg-Fi made their debut as a band in December 2003 with a series of home-recorded cassettes and art objects for the annual DIY holiday event La Superette. Using dissonant and percussive sounds from detuned guitars and bass as building blocks, Neg-Fi creates short, metallic compositions, which sometimes also feature walkie-talkies and handmade devices. Releases include 2007’s Listen-OK!, a split EP with noise artist Eiliyas; 2010’s mid-side; and a new LP Unmergency due in 2013. Neg-Fi have performed in a dozen countries at venues ranging from museums to DIY spaces, including Issue Project Room, NY; City Museum, St. Louis; BIGZ, Belgrade; Ateliers Mommen, Brussels; Babel Teatro, Argentina; and Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile. Their composition Neg-Lagoon was featured in Nancy Garcia’s installation Lover’s Alarm Clock at the Bas Fisher Invitational in Miami in 2011. Both members are former members of the Glenn Branca Ensemble, and appear on Branca’s 2010 release The Ascension: The Sequel.

NEG-FI [US]