Playing the Mild Steel

The two strings on this big chunk of wood are played by striking with beaters. With each strike, the player holds the beater against the string for the duration of the tone. The beater thus defines one end of the string’s vibrating length. By striking at different points along the string, the player gets different pitches. There’s a magnetic pickup near one end. The strings are made from thick wire of relatively soft steel, sometimes referred to as “mild steel.” The beaters are heavy metal rods with the ends wrapped in rubber bands. Given the thickness of the steel strings and the padded heaviness of the beaters, the tone is bassy and rhythmic.

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