The Lightsaber Sound Effect

We came across an interesting found sound that resembles the tone and harmonics of the Lightsaber, every geek’s favorite weapon. The Lightsaber sound was one of the first Ben Burtt (sound designer of Star Wars) made for the famous sci-fi series. The original sound effect was created using a mix of an old projector’s hum and the warm feedback from a microphone passing an old television set.

Today, we are going to teach you how to recreate a different version of this sound using common household items. Well, more common than the old projector and television set. The items you will need for this sound experiment is an electric shaver and a water jug (the big ones used in water coolers).

Here is a quick sample of the lightsaber sound effect. That’s the source sample with no editing or eq work. To get the best audio signal, try placing the microphone right above the opening of the water bottle pointing down. You can adjust this as you begin recording and checking levels. You will have to hold the water jug off the ground. Letting it rest on the ground will decrease the amplitude and muffle the higher harmonics of the sound.

Take the electric shaver and place it against the water bottle’s side towards the bottom. For the best effect, keep the shaver parallel to the ground. You will have to press the shaver hard against the water bottle to create more of the low frequency hum versus the harsh sound of a shaver hitting plastic. Ok, the harsh sound is really nice and dirty; maybe that could be used as well.

Experiment with the placement of the shaver and you will capture far more strange sounds than just the lightsaber-like effects. For example, try placing the shaver directly underneath the jug. Also, try using different items like oil pans and plastic bowls. Stay tuned for sample packs from this session.