Awesome Musical Instruments

OCTAV Wearable Pipe Instrument

OCTAV Wearable Pipe Instrument

Blue Man Group put the sound of banging on pipes on the map. Imagine if Doc Ock got their hands on their music makers, and you’d have a pretty clear idea of what OCTAV is. Created by industrial designer Asaf Wainberg, the wild-looking wearable is a set of plastic drain pipes that have been cut to different lengths to produce notes.

MIDI-controlled Slide Whistle

MIDI-controlled Slide Whistle

The slide whistle is one of the goofiest-sounding musical instruments out there. Now, thanks to the engineering smarts of mitxela, we’ve now got a way for a computer to play music on a slide whistle using MIDI commands. It uses a pair of servos and a scissor mechanism to move the slide, and a pump to blow into it.

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World’s Largest Drum Kit

World’s Largest Drum Kit

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.

Creative Musical Saw Sounds

Creative Musical Saw Sounds

Musician Grégoire Blanc previously wowed us with his cover of The Great Gig in the Sky. This video isn’t quite as melodic, but it’s just as entertaining. Enjoy as Blanc demonstrates 10 ways to make interesting and captivating sounds by playing a saw and a violin bow in concert with effects pedals and synthesizers.

Lottie Canto Colour Palette

Lottie Canto Colour Palette

The Colour Palette is a 17-key kalimba that incorporates on-board reverb and delay effects and a 1/4″ output for recording. Musician Simon the Magpie demonstrates the instrument’s sounds and capabilities, then mods it to his own whim. It’s currently sold out, but you can sign up to be notified when more are in stock.

World’s Horniest Truck

World’s Horniest Truck

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.

Piano with Real Hammers

Piano with Real Hammers

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.

Burger + Fries Musical Instruments

Burger + Fries Musical Instruments
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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.

Low-budget Drum Kit

Low-budget Drum Kit

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.

Playing the Barricade

Playing the Barricade

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.

The Mouth Violin

The Mouth Violin

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.

Latex Glove Bagpipes

Latex Glove Bagpipes

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.

CNC Carving a Violin

CNC Carving a Violin

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.

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Self-Playing Circle Guitar

Self-Playing Circle Guitar

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.

Interstellar on Cristal Baschet

Interstellar on Cristal Baschet

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.

The Popcorn Pipe Organ

The Popcorn Pipe Organ

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.

Making Music with a Straw

Making Music with a Straw

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.

Does Helium Affect Wind Instruments?

Does Helium Affect Wind Instruments?

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.

Making a Literal Steel Guitar

Making a Literal Steel Guitar

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?

Google Tone/Transfer

Google Tone/Transfer

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.

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EWI Solo Electronic Wind Instrument

EWI Solo Electronic Wind Instrument

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.

Arturia MicroFreak Vocoder Edition

Arturia MicroFreak Vocoder Edition

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.

Oscillatorial Binnage

Oscillatorial Binnage

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.

72 Homemade Instruments

72 Homemade Instruments

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.

LEGO Microtonal Guitar

LEGO Microtonal Guitar

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.

Roadie 3 Automatic String Tuner

Roadie 3 Automatic String Tuner

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.

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