We’ve heard how partially-filled drinking glasses can be used as musical instruments before, and musician Fin Draper knows how to get the most out of them. Listen up as he creates a groovy beat with a beer bottle, water glass, beer glass, three tumblers, and a rocks glass, accompanied by a bass drum.
Awesome Musical Instruments
At NYC’s MoMA, composer Dorit Chrysler used the movements of iconic Calder mobiles to control Theremins, musical instruments played without physical contact. As the metal sculptures moved, they produced sounds by affecting the electromagnetic fields of the Theremins, resulting in a musical “collaboration.”
Want a grand piano for your house, but don’t have enough room for one? Why not 3D print a mini version? Breaks’n’Makes shows off a tiny grand piano model he built based on a design from Mechanistic. It’s fully functional, with keys, hammers, and strings, and it even tiny working casters that it rolls on.
Musician Rob Scallon has been working on a series of DIY instruments that can be assembled quickly and inexpensively. For this build, he and his buddy Simon created a makeshift piano in less than a day, using a bunch of spare guitar strings, tuning pegs, door stoppers, and other bits and pieces from the Home Depot.
This insane three-headed instrument is the brainchild of musician Steve Vai and guitar-maker Ibanez. It combines a fretless 12-string neck, a half-fretless bass neck, a seven-string guitar neck, plus an electric harp at its base. This beautiful beast was designed by Moti Kashiuchi and crafted by Kazuya Kuroki of Ibanez Japan.
Musician Rob Scallon was searching around for interesting guitars and accessories, and came across this oddity from Chibson called the Whammy Davis Jr. It replaces a whammy bar with a 4-foot coil of metal that produces a warbled sound. It’s not something that belongs on every song, but it is a cool analog gimmick.
We never heard of a portative organ before, but it’s a type of small pipe organ that uses a bellows to push wind through its pipes. Nippocast spent a year building such an instrument from scratch and boiled down his efforts into this 20-minute time-lapse video. You can hear how the finished organ sounds here.
Inventor and musician Nicolas Bras continues to expand his collection of unconventional musical instruments with a gizmo that looks like a guitar had a chunk taken out of it. Nic assembled a pair of bass guitar pickups and eight lengths of piano wire on a wooden block, resulting in a wonderfully weird and unique sound.
Inspired by the machines of Wintergatan, Daniel de Bruin, and Matthias Wandel, fellow maker Ivan Miranda created his own musical marble machine. He designed and built it from scratch using 3D printed parts, a resin drum, and an aluminum frame. The ball bearings make notes by falling onto a MIDI controller keypad.
A hurdy-gurdy is a musical instrument that makes sounds by rubbing a spinning bow against its strings. Vinheteiro made a low-budget approximation of the instrument by combining a fishing reel with an acoustic guitar. His version only has one string, and the sound it produces is like a kind of traditional Asian music.
Vineteiro follows up on his comparison of inexpensive vs. fancy-pants pianos with another round of very different musical instruments. After the jump from the $40 hunk of junk to the $600 used upright, the shades of grey become fuzzier and fuzzier to our untrained ears.
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?
This unique electric guitar features swappable pickup and control modules, letting musicians change the sound of their instruments on the fly. The handmade guitar is made from walnut, ash, or cherry wood, and comes bundled with two pickup modules and a standard control module. Additional pickups go for $199 each.
Nicolas Bras likes to make unique musical instruments. He created this unusual 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.
Burls Art and his pal went camping in search of wood and other materials they could build a guitar from. In addition, they built the instrument in the forest entirely using hand tools. It didn’t take long to forage the supplies, but it took nearly a week in the woods to create the guitar.
Rather than go with an off-the-shelf synthesizer, Edward Black Rose built his own from scrap wood. Its wooden keys make strings vibrate between a laser and a photocell, then send that signal to a software synthesizer. It’s not ideal for creating polyphonic sounds, but it’s a clever design nonetheless.
Inspired by a fan-submitted design, this miniature model of Fender’s iconic Stratocaster electric guitar is accurate down to the smallest detail. The 1074-piece model features tiny strings, an official Fender strap, and a 1965 Princeton Reverb amp with a visible interior. It comes with bricks for both red and black guitar bodies.
The Roadie 3 is an automatic tuner for guitars, basses, ukuleles, and other stringed instruments. We took one for a spin to see how quickly and accurately it works on a guitar, along with testing it on a less common instrument – a bouzouki. Overall, it’s an impressive tool for any musician who plays strings.
Musician Grégoire Blanc previously impressed 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.
Piano builder Adrian Alexander Mann created this elongated piano, which measures 18 feet, 9 inches long and weighs over a ton. It has the longest bass strings of any piano, resulting in deeper harmonics and a richer overall tone without affecting pitch. Listen as musician Hyperion Knight performs on the impressive instrument.
After crafting a handmade guitar out of a shelf, luthier Tchiks Guitars came up with a new guitar challenge – to see if they could build a guitar body and headstock out of a single slab of cherry wood. Sit back and enjoy the quietly satisfying process of cutting, carving, and sanding to create a beautiful and functional 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.