Today is the start of a farewell concert tour by guitar great Peter Frampton, which means if you want to hear him play some of the songs that he made famous on his landmark double album “Frampton Comes Alive,” this is the time to do it.
One of the most famous tracks on that album is the fourteen minute jam “Do You Feel Like We Do,” in which Frampton manages to sing through his guitar.
Or is the guitar coming through his voice?
This musical melding of voice and instrument actually dates back to the 1930s, when jazz guitarist Alvino Rey set up a system that turned his head into a resonator and transmitted the sound vibrations through his steel guitar.
That’s essentially how Frampton’s talk box works today: the sound of the guitar comes through a tube attached to a microphone stand, and he puts his mouth over the end of the tube.
As he plays, he mouths the words of the song, which go back out through an amplifier and cause cheering crowds to acknowledge that yes, they do feel like Peter Frampton does.
It’s shown up in other pop and rock records, too.
And that train that says “I think I can” in the original “Dumbo”? Talk box.
It’s graduation season, and one grad who used his voice recently is Ahmed Ali, who just graduated from the Transitions Plus program in Minneapolis.
It’s a program that helps students with learning disabilities and other needs prepare for the transition out of school.
Ali gave the graduation speech for the program, and as a nonverbal student, he gave his speech in a really neat way: through speech software he helped develop.
He told his fellow graduates that life is like a relay race: “every time you achieve something you pass the baton to the next person. Guess who you are passing the baton to? It’s you.”
How Talk Boxes Work (HowStuffWorks)