Five Harder DIY Musical Instruments to Make This Weekend ;-)
It’s no secret that we’re crazy about DIY, especially DIY instruments. Just you, some pieces of wood and metal, a whole lot of patience and the pleasure to actually build something with your own hands. That’s the simple joy of it, and something that you can easily share with your kids. So, now that you’ve built your Loog, dare you tackle something a bit more complicated? We’ve already shared some pretty easy-to-make DIY musical instruments to build for your kids in our blog before, but let’s take it a knotch higher this time…
This is a very old, folk and traditional hand-made bass from the early 20th century that’s great to play along your own Loog or acoustic guitar. Usually used in ensemble folk and jug bands for decades, all you need to make one is a steel string cable, a metal washtub and a broom for the instrument’s “neck”. Find the entire guide to build a washtub bass here.
The Hang Drum is actually a new and very interesting instrument. Created in Switzerland in the early 00s, it’s a new kind of percussion instrument, very much like a reverse steelpan, that is used to create rythm and melodies. It has a very beautiful and ethereal sound. All Hang Drums today are built on demand and tend to be very expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t build a rough version of it yourself! Using only a propane tank and some power tools -and LOTS of patience to tune it- you can create a really cool sound that’s not as clear as with the real thing, but still awesome. Full instructions here.
The Theremin was the first electronic instrument ever made – it was created in the 20s by Leon Theremin, and is still the only instrument that you can play without touching it. Moving your hand near one of its antennae changes the pitch, while doing so over the other controls the volume. It’s very difficult to play in a “classical” way but SUPER fun to just make blurpy, ghost sounds. You can build a small and simple Theremin easily for under $20. Are you good at fiddling with electronics? Even if the answer is no, this is a good starter proyect. Instructions and a complete list of items needed here.
The cigar-box guitar is actually the grandfather of the Loog guitar. It’s much more complicated to build, but so totally worth it. These babies are fretless instruments, so they are much more challenging to play than a regular guitar, but sound great with a slide and some practice. Want to try one? We already have an entire blog post showing different instructions to different kinds of cigar-box guitars for all kinds of skill levels.
Turn Anything into an Instrument
If you’re more into pocket Thereminds than Cigar-box guitars, then you’ll probably love this one: Makey Makey is an invention kit that lets you control your computer with anything. Drawings, pieces of clay-doh, bananas, pieces of cardboard… ANYTHING. The concept is simple: Makey Makey is just a small card with cables and alligator connectors. You plug those alligator connectors to anything, and plug the Makey Makey to one of your computer’s USB ports. That’s it – the possibilities are endless. Look at this video that shows a few of the thousands of musical instruments that you can build. It includes musical paintings, a piano played with balloons on the ceiling, touch-sensitive fur, organ gloves, and much, much more!