Bradford Reed

Bradford Reed is an American multi-instrumentalist, experimental luthier, and member of the avant-garde band King Missile III. In the 1980s he invented the pencilina, a custom made string instrument.

Bradford Reed
B square.jpg
Background information
InstrumentsBells, drums, drum programming, guitar, kranton, melodica, organ, pencilina, percussion, piano, sampler, synthesizer, vocals
Years active30
LabelsManifatture Criminali, Shimmy Disc, Instinct
Associated acts[King Missile|King Missile III][Anthems of the Void][Ohmslice][Satellite and the Harpoonist][Reel Orchestrette]


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

The pencilina is similar in construction to two long connected thin zithers. Its two "necks" each have a bridge, tuning pegs, and a set of strings; six strings on one neck and four on the other. Both are open tuned. The treble tuning is adjustable via a multiple tuning bridge. Wedged over and under the strings is a wooden drum stick for the treble/alto/tenor 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, resulting in various harmonic overtones. 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. It's played by striking its strings with sticks and 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
Bradford Reed What's Good for the Goose Is Good Youngbloods 2019
Satellite and the Harpoonist Satellite Man Tonic Records 2020


External linksEdit