Posted by Billyjam, July 30, 2008 09:10am | Post a Comment

The one clear message from the always fun annual Bay Area Maker Faire a couple of months back was that we, a society weaned on consumerism, need to shake the shackles of dependency on corporations who sell us products shrewdly manufactured with a built-in obsolescence -- products whose mechanisms are deliberately made difficult to figure out.

To hell with that! We should not have to always hire others to fix our cars, fridges, vacuum cleaners, lawn-mowers, bikes, computers, etc., etc. when they (inevitably) break down.

Instead, we should learn all we can about the products we own and use daily. Furthermore, we should not only know how to fix these things when they break down but we should also know how to build our own things from scratch. DIY baby!

Of all the homemade items that people create, the most inspiring to me are homemade musical instruments created out of found parts. These can range from the most simple (an empty pork rinds bottle with a rubber band & piece of cloth tied on top as a drum) to the most intricate (an electronic keyboard built from found odds and ends).

Over the years I have seen/heard many great variations on all types of instruments, from string to wind to electric and I thought it was time to do an Amoeblog about them, drawing from videos I found on YouTube, where I even discovered an interactive thread on making your own instruments, which includes perhaps one of the most popular one among music instrument makers-- the cigar box guitar.

One is from the recent Memorial Day observed Morningside Build Your Own Instrument Day in Pittsburg, PA, featuring Jim Lingo's creative string instrument, which drew equal parts awe and amusement from those at the outdoor event. Then there is the homemade electric bass by KgldMond who built his instrument from a piece of wood, an old turntable, and a string. Finally, there is CrazyEzra's nice noise maker constructed out of a saw, a pick up and a big purple synth modulator.homemade turntable

Worth checking out is the homemade goose singing PVC bagpipes and the two how-to videos below on building your own turntable. One is by BlindShorty11 in Malaysia who recently built his own turntable (DJC80).

The other "homemade gramaphone, vinyl record player" is by JosePino, who built his device from a plastic cup, a pin, and some Lego parts. After finding that the plastic cup amplifies the high-frequencies but not the lower ones, he put a napkin inside the cup to tone down the higher frequencies and it worked. In fact, this is a technique that was used back in the last century by those who had portable wind up gramophones. The napkin was employed for both frequency and volume control.

And the very last video below is literally handmade. It is "manualist" Jerry Phillips, who, using just his two hands squeezed together (over a recorded Iron Maiden track), plays the lead hand.  If you have designed a musical instrument please share by embedding the video or picture or URL link in the comments below. Thanks!

Relevant Tags

Diy Musical Instruments (1), Maker Faire (1)