Erika Laing of the local duo Faithful Sinners organized the first ever Pittsburgh Musical Saw Festival, which includes three local acts and one touring act, all of which incorporate the musical saw in different manners.
When did you become a musical-saw enthusiast?
I saw it used by Asylum Street Spankers — she used the musical saw for a soundtrack for a silent movie, and I thought that was really cool, and I also saw it in Delicatessen, the film, and got really excited.
Are these just regular saws?
I started on a regular saw from Home Depot because I thought this was the kind of hobby that probably wouldn't last — so I better get something that'll also cut wood, just in case. But they also make musical ones, and much later, my brother got me a Stradivarius; they make violins, but they also make musical saws every now and then. Pretty much a few hundred are made a year, across the world. They're thinner and usually a little bit longer.
Are they also less sharp?
Some don't have teeth at all. Mine has teeth, but they're not as sharp as my original saw. The first one I played would cut through all my pants. The one I play now will cut my skin, but I don't get as many cuts as I used to. My old saw case had blood on it, which is sort of gross but also hardcore.