The yellow machine you’re looking at is “Le Mécanophone,” otherwise known as a 1935 Citroën truck, equipped with 42 different car horns. But this thing doesn’t just beep, it’s basically a calliope on wheels. We want one of these just so we can honk at traffic all day long.
THE BEST Musical Instruments
Those little felt-covered things that strike the strings in piano are known as hammers, but they definitely couldn’t drive a nail. Musician Mattias Krantz wanted to see what would happen if he replaced all 88 of the piano hammers with real metal hand tools. The resulting sound is surprisingly pleasant and melodic.
Made by Japanese toy company Kiko+ and gg, this beechwood burger and fries are designed for kids, but we’d be happy to play with our food too. The cheeseburger clacks like a castanet, while the fries make the sounds of maracas. We want one of their telephones for our desk too.
If you look around, you can find a bargain-basement drum kit for about $200. But if even that’s not in your budget, you could do what Deden Noy did, and make your own drums from plastic buckets, water bottles, scrap metal, and packing tape. Check out his YouTube channel for more performances.
When is a flute not a flute? When it’s a street barricade, of course. Musician Xavier Lozano demonstrates as he performs a brief piece of music on a metal barrier he drilled out to work as a wind instrument. Lozano is known for his ability to transform unusual objects into musical instruments.
Maker of unusual instruments and musician Nicolas Bras is back with another strange music maker. This time he’s showing off a one-string violin that uses its player’s mouth to produce resonant frequencies. In this case, it isn’t a totally original invention – it’s based on a Vietnamese instrument known as the k’ni.
What do Kenny G and bagpipes have in common? Well if you watch this video by science and nature vlogger Charlie Engleman, you’ll find out. Along the way, you’ll also learn how to make your own bagpipes from a latex glove, two straws, and some appropriately Scotch tape.
Artist Dennis Van Hoof shows off his violin-making process which combines modern tech with traditional woodworking. He uses a Shapeoko XXL CNC router to carve the instrument’s pieces from olive wood, replicating the shape of a Stradivarius violin. The finished piece incorporates epoxy resin to fill in the gaps in the wood.
Wonder World shows us an unusual guitar that uses a motorized wheel to strum its strings, so the person playing it only needs to worry about the frets. Anthony Dickens‘ unique instrument has a other interesting innovations like the ability to output sounds one string at a time with the push of a button.
Invented in the 1950s, but rarely seen, the Cristal Baschet is a musical instrument that produces sounds by stroking a series of glass rods attached to metal rods. The ethereal sounds it produces are the perfect complement to Hans Zimmer’s theme from Interstellar, performed here by Marc Chouarain at SFL Studio Féerique.
Nicolas Bras likes to make unique musical instruments. He recently created an instrument out of skinny PVC pipes designed to make that popping sound you make by hooking a finger in your cheek and yanking it. He then goes on to play the perfect song on it – Hot Butter’s Popcorn.
Most wind instruments are made from wood or brass. But it turns out that a plastic straw can be modified to make music too. This video shows how late Danish musician Peter Bastian was adept at performing on a drinking straw with holes cut in it. Flutist Naveen Kumar shows how you can make your own here.
We all know that breathing helium makes you sound like Mickey Mouse. But does that pitch change affect the air you blow into a saxophone or a bagpipe? The guys from The King of the Random conducted a few experiments to test out the impact of helium and sulfur hexafluoride on the frequencies wind instruments produce.
There’s a musical instrument called a steel guitar, but it’s named for its metal slide, and not the material it’s made from. But metalsmith Paul Pinto decided to actually make a guitar out of the weighty metal. Watch as he cuts, welds, forges, and grinds a steel plate into a beautiful chrome-plated instrument. Now how does it sound?
Developed by Magenta using Google AI tech, Tone/Transfer takes ordinary sounds like a human voice and makes them sound like a musical instrument. It can also digest the sounds made by one kind of musical instrument and map them onto a different one. You can play with the online demo for yourself.
Music equipment rental company Gate to Hell shared footage of them assembling an enormous drum kit at Essen, Germany concert venue Turock. After the massive rig of percussion instruments was set up, musician Jürgen “Ventor” Reil from the band Kreator put the drum set to the test.
AKAI Pro’s standalone digital wind instrument can be played like a flute, oboe, or saxophone. It has 200 built-in acoustic and synthesized sounds, and can be listened to via its built-in speaker, a 1/4″ audio output, or headphones. It also works as a USB-MIDI controller.
The MicroFreak Vocoder Edition, is an an updated version of Arturia’s hybrid analog/digital synthesizer with voice-enhancing capabilities. It includes a 16-band vocoder and a gooseneck electret mic for capturing your voice. Those with a standard MicroFreak can add vocoder ability via a firmware update.
The music that they create might not be the most melodic, but the way “post-electronic” London quartet Oscillatorial Binnage makes its strange and ethereal sounds certainly is creative. The band plays instruments made from recycled objects that reverberate when exposed to electromagnetic fields.
It’s not often that you encounter a musical instrument that you’ve never heard of. Well, here’s your chance to see and hear 72 of them, all played back-to-back by musician and inventor Nicolas Bras, who created each of these unusual instruments from scratch, mostly using things you can find at your local hardware store.
Musician Tolgahan Çoğulu shows off a unique instrument he put together after his son Atlas gave him the idea. The acoustic guitar uses LEGO studs all along its neck, allowing for microtonal positions throughout the fretboard. The trick was to build a custom 3D printed baseplate for the LEGO bricks to click onto.
The latest edition of the Roadie automatic tuner is twice as fast as the Roadie 2. It can tune almost any stringed instrument with geared pegs in a couple of seconds, and can quickly wind new strings to the proper tension before tuning. It also supports alternative tunings, and doubles as a vibrating metronome.
Here’s an unusual musical instrument we never heard of before now. Created in the 17th century, the enormous baroque theorbo is basically a lute on steroids. Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny explain the history of the theorbo, and provide a sampling of the sounds that it produces.
The kalimba is a small musical instrument that’s played by thumping your fingers on its springy metal keys. But the same idea can be DIYed using a bunch of popsicle sticks, screwed in place at varying lengths along a board. Mr. Mash shows off his homemade instrument, along with an abridged version of his how-to video.
Typewriters have gone the way of the dinosaur, rarely used by anyone but the most hipster of writers these days. But the Boston Typewriter Orchestra continues to get use out of these mechanical office relics, even when forced to work from home due to their in-person concerts being canceled.
David Klavins builds musical instruments unlike any other. Combining design elements from upright and concert grand pianos, he builds modern, vertically-oriented instruments, including the world’s tallest piano, measuring 15 feet tall. Great Big Story went inside of Klavins’ workshop for a demo of these impressive pianos.