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How to make a GuitarCam Mount™

 

 

Initial Design Experiments

I started off by using junk lying around the house as building materials. I made several attempts using duck-tape, rubber bands, scrap metal etc… I even took apart a goose-neck lamp for its flexible neck so that I could somehow attach it to the guitar and angle the camera. But none of those things work well. After of just throwing things together and experimenting for a few hours, I finally sat down and really thought about what I was going after.

First Prototype

I originally made two prototypes. Again, both from hardware I had laying around. The first was made out of 1/4″ x 1″ x 16″ piece of aluminum stripping. I bent it in the middle to form a right angle. On one end I drilled a whole and bolted on the camera. I found that a normal hardware bolt could fit into the standard mounting cleat of most cameras. I secured the other end to the to the headstock with a c-clamp. It was very simple and light. The problem was that the aluminum flexed and wobbled too much. I wanted it to be more rigid so that the camera would not pick up more vibrations then necessary. Also the c-clamp didn’t secure tight enough because it only provided one pressure point. Tightening it too much could damage the guitar, too little and it was shaky.

So back to the drawing board. I tried to visualize what I needed and how I could make it. I wanted something really simple, easy to put together, easy to use, economical to make, and something strong and sturdy. I decided to try and think of a way to use wood. Aluminum or plastic was ugly, anyway. Finally, by taking some time to imagine what could work, I came up with a solution.

Second Prototype

The second generation prototype was made out of 3 pieces of 1 inch wide wood strips and some bolts. I basically sandwiched the top end of the headstock with two strips of wood and tightened them together with bolts and wing nuts. Then, I attached an arm at a right angle that would be used to hold the camera.

The attachment mechanism worked like a strong, sturdy vice that applied even pressure to the top edge of the headstock. This decreased the the risk of harm to the finish dramatically. The wood design was still simple but a bit heavier, which is somewhat of a drawback. The big advantage is how firmly it attaches.

The rigidity of the wood and the firmness of the attachment dramatically increased the visual effect of the stationary guitar in the foreground, while the background moved. This essentially the inverse of what we are used to seeing on the screen. A very neat effect.

After achieving an acceptable prototype it was time to take a walk to the hardware store to get some nicer materials to make a second one. Here is how I built the second model (the one I have been using for all my videos since…) :

Materials

1. Two 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ wood strips (any kind of wood but pine is light wight and economical)
2. One 8″ x 1 1/2″ x 1/2″  wood strips
3. Two “L” shape corner braces and screws
4. Two 1/4″-20 x 2″ bolts. (the “20” refers to the threading)
5. One 3″-20 bolt
6. Three wing-nuts to fit the bolts

How to build it:

1. Cut wood into 2 x 5 1/2″ inch pieces and one 8 inch piece.
2. Drill wholes from about a half inch in from the edges of each piece.
3. Drill holes for corner bracing screws.
4. Create right angle with the 8″ piece and on 5 1/2″ inch pieces.
5. Attach corner braces.
6. Put in bolts, tighten and your done!

The added weight makes the guitar a little top-heavy. Obviously, using a light-wight camera will make it easier to use. The change in weight distribution may take a little getting used depending on how heavy your camera is.  The lighter the camera the better.

Changed the way I do video:

Since building my first GuitarCam Mount™ back in May 2010, I have not looked back. You can see that all my videos on you tube now are done using the GuitarCam Mount™. It has made it so easy for me to record my performances, practice sessions, and improvisations, and ideas. With modern technological advances making digital memory so cheap, its very possible to record, and document a lifetime of guitar playing…like a video guitar journal.

I also love how the fretboard and face of the guitar become like a stage on which the strings and fingers dance. The moving back-round adds another layer of dimension and a space for more creativity. In the future I plan to take advantage of the background space by recording songs while moving through interesting landscapes. I definitely want to go hiking with the GuitarCam Mount™!!

Do It Yourself

If you are the DIY type and you build on one, I’d love to see it, as well as any video work you do with it. You can upload your videos using the GutarCam Mount™ on YouTube as response to my how-to-build-it tutorial.

 

19 thoughts on “How to make a GuitarCam Mount™”

  1. Can you please get these back in stock!? I can’t believe there’s no official products out there on the market. You have the only purchasable product I can find.

  2. Thanks for the great videos, John! Oh, I didn’t see this one before making my earlier comments. I WAS originally thinking of using 3M Dual Lock to fit my GoPro Hero 2 to either a Velcro strap or capo, but after having watched your video, I realise the camera should be a bit higher above the neck!

    Anyway, after watching THIS vid, I now WILL use the flat mounts that come with the GoPro, and will mount them on some aluminium brackets. This is even lighter than wood and stronger than steel, so there won’t be any vibration. Not sure whether to use the QubeLok system or just plain old rivets … hmm. Or Velcro?? Questions, questions. Hope to tackle this this weekend!
    Cheers ..kc (aka “Ben T_ideas”)

  3. If the headstock were to become heavier than the body, you think it would damage the neck?(I’m using a mini dvd type camcorder; canon d210, sort of heavy) Great design though, tried it today and it was awesome. just a little worried about the weight on the headstock!

  4. Would it be a harm to the guitar neck if the headstock is heavier than the body?( my camera is a mini DVD type and is heavy but compact; canon d210) I used a different type of wood coz I couldn’t obtain pine but still works fine. Thanks!

  5. It amazes me how generous you are John. Thanks for putting the instructions up. I hope you never stop playing guitar.

  6. Hey John,
    just out of curiosity, do you know which camera would be best for videoing guitar? like I have my audio line in anyway so it will be muted but for picture quality what do you recommend?
    – Lucas

  7. Lots of thoughts and much knowledge went into this design. If the mount was made of some other material or just plain bulky, that would have put strain on your left wrist when you attach the thing on and play the guitar. That thing plus the weight of the camera times the amount of time you play… I am glad you managed to find material light and long-lasting enough for you to put together this mount, and it saves you so much time from having to write down musical ideas, improvisations and so forth. The angle’s from where the camera records is not as comfortable to me though–it’s like a person looking down at one’s feet. I guess you can look at this in a number of ways, and the main point is you really won’t miss a thing recording your brainstorming sections like this.

    1. I just want to make a correction on what I said about straining on the wrist. See, I obviously don’t play guitar, but then I try to imagine what it’d be like to have the cam mount on as one plays. Anyway, I think it’d be weird to have so much weight so close to the far neck of the guitar that if it gets heavy enough, the whole mount and all would topple. I completely forgot to think about the guitar body itself should be heavy enough to balance that weight at the tip of the guitar. All in all, it’s just fyi.

  8. Hi Jonh:
    Have you considered attaching the mount to a capo? (say a 12-string heavy one?). It would be more versatile. You could actually use the camera capo with another real capo to put some distance between the camera and your fretting hand.
    F. Craig Glynn
    glynnfc@gmail.com

  9. Hello John, thank you for providing the information and motivation to build the guitar cam mount. It’s one hell of a good idea. I’ve been following you since April 2010, keep on doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome.
    – Keith

  10. Wow, thanks for the link. Also: BIG THANK YOU for sharing your design. I have been in love with this view for some time now, but there was no way I was going to duct tape or do anything that would hurt my dearest Les Paul. I came across your design and not more than 2 hours later I had it up and running. Brilliant! Thank you again.

  11. This was fairly simple and inexpensive to make. I love to use it. I find that it changes the sound of the guitar a bit when I play, but maybe it is the way I hold the guitar when the camera is mounted. I am not used to the weight and it is a bit cumbersome at first, but like all things you get used to it. Thanks for sharing!

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