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Title: Pencilina  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Prepared guitar, Electric instrument, Outline of guitars, Electric guitar design, String resonance, 3rd bridge, Experimental luthier
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Bradford Reed
Genres Avant-garde
Instruments Bells, drums, drum programming, guitar, kranton, melodica, organ, pencilina, percussion, piano, sampler, synthesizer, vocals
Labels Manifatture Criminali
Shimmy Disc
Instinct Records
Important Records
Associated acts King Missile III

Bradford Reed is an American multi-instrumentalist, experimental luthier, and member of avant-garde band King Missile III. He is proficient at such instruments as drums, guitar, melodica, piano, and synthesizer. In the 1980s he invented the pencilina, a custom-made string instrument.


The pencilina is a custom-made string instrument that Reed invented in the 1980s. The instrument is a double neck 3rd bridge guitar.

Similar in construction to two long, thin zithers connected by a stand, the pencilina's two "necks" each have a bridge, tuning pegs, and a set of strings; six strings on one neck are tuned like a guitar and four strings on the other are tuned like a bass guitar. Wedged over and under the strings in each neck is an adjustable rod, a wooden drum stick for the guitar strings and a metal rod for the bass strings, which divide each string into two segments with different pitches. The divided strings can be then played separately, creating a tap harmonic-like tone.

There are four built-in pickups: two are contact mics mounted in the bridges at one end of each neck, and two are guitar-style electromagnetic pickups which are placed under the strings toward the opposite end. In addition, there are four bells – a fire bell, a door bell, and two brass telephone ringer bells – mounted at the end of one of the necks. The pencilina is played by striking its strings and bells with sticks. The strings may also be plucked or bowed.

The Pencilina is described in the essay 3rd Bridge Helix - From Experimental Punk to Ancient Chinese Music & the Universal Physical Laws of Consonance, written by Yuri Landman.[1]


Artist Album Record Label Release Year
Bradford Reed Ultra Fresh Super Vibe Ft.Lb. Records 1992
Bradford Reed Live! At Home Ft.Lb. Records 1996
John S. Hall The Body Has a Head Manifatture Criminali 1996
King Missile III Failure Shimmy Disc 1998
Bradford Reed The Stars My Destination Ft.Lb. Records 2001
Bradford Reed Solo Live Songs Ft.Lb. Records 2003
King Missile III The Psychopathology of Everyday Life Instinct Records 2003
King Missile III Royal Lunch Important Records 2004


  • Bradford Reed on

External links

  • Bradford Reeds homepage

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