Bradford Reed

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Bradford Reed
Loz bradford reed.png
Background information
InstrumentsBells, drums, drum programming, guitar, kranton, melodica, organ, pencilina, percussion, piano, sampler, synthesizer, vocals
LabelsManifatture Criminali
Shimmy Disc
Instinct Records
Important Records
Associated actsKing 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.

Inventor Bradford Reed playing his pencilina

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 book Nice Noise by Bart Hopkin and Yuri Landman.


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
OHMSLICE Conduit Imaginator Records 2017


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