The Radio Lyre

An old cookie tin turned into a lyra

The story

The Radio Lyre is an instrument I built myself out of an old cookie tin (which looked like an old radio), some hardwood, 6 locking guitar tuners, and some strings.

Update: Fixed missing sample problem some early users seemed to have, it was a problem in the code ๐Ÿ™‚

This Decent Sampler instrument has 3 volume knobs. One for the Plucked samples of the instrument, one for the short Bowed samples, and one for a Sustained bowing of the instrument. You can play the instrument with all playing or play with just one sound at a time.

Instrument building a recent hobby for me and this instrument was really about experimentation. I wanted to see how the different materials would affect the tone and resonance of the instrument.
In the end, the Radio Lyre was finished and I tuned the strings in a pentatonic scale, however, the instrument proved difficult to play in real life. As it had been made over many short bursts during the summer, certain notes would twang much harder than others and plucking had to be done with utmost care. I decided to build another lyre instead- but then I remember Christian Henson’s Youtube video about unique sounds and finding and creating those samples yourself…
“This is a very unique sound!” I told myself and decided to sample the instrument before moving on. In the end, the sampled version is much more satisfying to play. It stripped out the difficult elements of the Radio Lyre and left me with all the good parts.

I also played the lyre with a violin bow and plectrum and found that this further added to the uses of the instrument. It has a little natural plate reverb (due to the tin) and a twang that is reminiscent of a sitar. It is my first Decent Sampler instrument and I am already using it in my own compositions, so wanted to share it with the rest of you.

All the best and do pop me a message if you use it!
– Gersom from Dekoningtan

How I made the Radio Lyre

Interface

Reviews for The Radio Lyre

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • This has a lot of character

    I find this is a very unique instrument, the sound it produces can be very useful in many musical situations. After you solve the problem with the missing sample, you may enjoy playing this instrument and creating interesting textures.

    OsvaldoDeJesusG07 November 2021
  • Unique instrument for sure

    This is a homemade instrument that sounds homemade. By that I mean, it doesn't sound like anything else. I have many synths and samples and this is in a category all it's own.

    ddailey12 October 2021
  • Unique Sound!

    Get your creative juices flowing with this instrument. This pack features 3 different elements; "Plucked", "Bowed", and "Bowed Sustained". These can all be blended together to create the target sound you are looking for. Overall, a nice little instrument that adds some unique experimental sounds to the mix.

    Jake17 October 2021
  • Unique and slightly trashy, this has character in spades!

    This is a really interesting homemade instrument with tons of character. It's well recorded, and really fascinating. Yes, it's going to tell you that there's a sample missing when you load it up, but once you're past that, it's a great instrument. There are three layers which can be balanced with the GUI controls: a rather muted sounding pluck, a quick bow, and a sustained bow. By default, all three are at max volume. It didn't make sense to me to use bot the quick and long bows together, but I found the combination of the quick bow with the pluck to be highly effective, and the sustained bow on its own was great too. Because you can't quite put your finger on what this instrument is, it would be at home in a score for a Western, but also equally at home in a score for sci-fi. Really cool and unique!

    Sam Ecoff27 October 2021
  • Fixing the missing sample

    At first I ran into a missing sample issue that I couldn't bypass at all. I managed to "fix" it by duplicating the "pluckedsoft2 2" and renaming it to "pluckedsoft1 2" which was the missing one, which I think that would leave me with just one less Pluck round robin - which is fine! Because you get to choose and mix between 3 different sounds together, plucked, bowed and sustained bow.

    The sound signature of the bow samples is the harsh one that reminds me of asian folk music. You can also have the pluck by itself, or you can just mix it in any way you want. It can be very interesting to say the least. Perhaps shifting one octave higher would make it a little more comfortable to play, but that's just me. I'm sure it will seem very useful to many creators that like experimenting with more eastern-like sounds. I am surely one of them!

    Alex Raptakis01 December 2021
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