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Make musical instruments yourself - instructions

Make your own orchestra. With rain stick, bumbaß, rattle drum and kazoo every song becomes a hit! We show you the handicraft instructions for the musical instruments here

We have rediscovered and varied a few crazy instruments for you - with them every song becomes a pop concert! We'll show you how you can make the instruments yourself in the following four building and handicraft instructions.

Instrument: the rain stick

The Indians of South America used it to conjure up long-awaited downpours: the rain stick. However, these instruments were made from dead cacti and desert sand. Since both are in short supply in our part of the world, we have considered another variant.

You need for the rain stick:

  • 1 cardboard shipping tube (approx. 7 x 70 cm) with lids
  • 500 g lentils
  • about 200 to 250 nails (about 4 cm long)
  • hammer

And this is how the rain stick is built:

1. Use the hammer to hit the nails into the cardboard cover - in a row that runs in a spiral around the pipe (red). The distance between two metal pins should be about one and a half centimeters.

2. You repeat the same thing, but offset by 180 degrees. That means: The first nail of the second spiral is exactly opposite the first nail of the first spiral (blue).

3. Seal one end of the tube with the lid. Now you can fill in the lenses at the other end. As they fall through the tangle of nails inside, it sounds like pattering drops.

If you now also put a lid on the second opening and slowly swing your rain stick back and forth, you can hear a whole downpour concert.

The real sound hobbyists among you should also try other fillings - rice, for example, has a really good noise (uncooked, of course ...).

Instrument: the bump bass

Should he make music? Originally, the Bumbaß was actually more used to make noise than to make music. Since the 17th century it has been equipped with bells and cymbals in Europe for that special noise. Our bump bass, on the other hand, plays the most beautiful melodies: we have given it a lever and turned it into a real solo instrument.

To build the instrument you need:

  • 2 wooden strips (1 x 2 x 150 cm)
  • 1 balloon as a resonance body
  • 1 piece of twine as a string (approx. 2 m)
  • 1 cylinder screw with nut (0.5 x 4 cm)
  • Pencil, saw and folding rule
  • Screwdriver and glue
  • Drill and 5 mm wood drill bit

And this is how the bumbaß is made:

1. First you saw two parts out of a wooden strip, one of which is 1.20 meters and one 30 centimeters long. From the other bar you make three pieces: one also 1.20 meters long, the other two 20 or 10 centimeters - these will be the lever and the bridge of the bass.

2. Now you have to drill a couple of holes: At each end of the two long strips and the lever. The lever must be pierced again 6 centimeters from its already perforated end. The 30 centimeter long piece is a little tricky. It must also be pierced at one end, but through its narrow side. Take a close look at the drawing - and ask an adult for help!

3. Now is glued: You glue the 30-centimeter piece between the two long parts, as shown in the picture. When the glue has dried, screw the lever up between the long strips so that it can still be moved easily without wobbling.

4. Next you blow the balloon up - not too hard, otherwise it will no longer be elastic enough and will burst if your bass playing becomes too violent. Now thread the string through the free hole in the lever and the one at the bottom of the instrument. Knot the ribbon tightly so that the balloon can be wedged between the thread and the wood without falling out.

5. Finally you push the short piece of wood between the balloon and the string. When you strike the thread - your string - this bridge transfers the vibration to the resonance body - the balloon. Try a little: The bridge should sit at the end in such a way that the string does not purr when you play on it - that is, it must not touch the balloon between the bridge and lever.

6. Now the game can begin! Hold the bump up. Strike the string with the index finger of one hand and operate the lever with the other. Its movement changes the tension of the string and changes the tone higher or lower. A good bump bass has a range of more than an octave - enough for a serenade under the Christmas tree!

Instrument: the rattle drum

This type of drums can be found just about everywhere in the world. Only the construction material is always different: skullcaps, coconuts - whatever is there.

For starters we recommend our version made of cork and cardboard. Nevertheless, it is exciting to experiment with different eardrums: paper, plastic or aluminum foil - everything sounds different. Try it yourself!

You need for the drum:

  • 1 cardboard shipping tube (approx. 8 cm diameter) with lids
  • 1 round wood (1 x 30 cm)
  • 2 corks
  • 2 pieces of string (15 cm each) and a pair of scissors
  • 2 eye bolts
  • 1 small wood screw
  • Screwdriver and saw
  • Drill with 10 mm drill
  • possibly a drill bit for pre-drilling

And this is how you make a race drum:

1. You saw off an 8 centimeter long piece of the cardboard tube and drill a hole in it - as in the picture.

2. You put the log in this hole. This will be the drum handle. So that it holds, you turn the small screw from the outside through the cardboard and into the wood where the wooden stick meets the tube wall from the inside. If that is too difficult, you have to use the drill.

3. At the side you turn the two eye bolts into the cardboard. So that they don't tear out, you should put small pieces of cork from the inside.

Cut one of the corks in the middle and press a piece from the inside against the cardboard wall while you screw in the eye bolts - then they automatically drill into the cork. Then put the lids on the two openings.

4. You also cut the second cork in half and then drill a hole through each of the two parts. This can be done, for example, with a drill or a screwdriver. Now thread a piece of string through one of the cork pieces and knot it so that it cannot slip back through the hole.

You knot the other end to one of the eye bolts. Attention: The attached cork must reach exactly into the middle of the shipping envelope lid. You repeat the same with the other cork and the remaining thread.

5. The rotary drum is ready. If you hold it by the stem and turn it between the palms of your hands, the cork pieces will be thrown onto the cover lids in time. Just the thing for hot rhythms in the cold season!

Instrument: the kazoo

The kazoo (pronounced "kasuh") is just as funny as it sounds. The principle by which it works has been known since time immemorial - since someone came up with the idea of ​​blowing on a blade of grass: the membrane vibrates through sound waves and gives the sound its strange, scratchy sound. But our kazoo is much more sophisticated than such a stalk. And: It's still very easy to do!

For the kazoo you need:

  • 1 hollow bamboo tube (about 15 mm diameter; from the hardware store or gardening store)
  • Adhesive tape
  • 1 cigarette paper
  • Pocket knife and saw
  • fine sandpaper and round file

And this is how the kazoo is built:

  1. Saw a piece about 20 centimeters long from the bamboo cane. Attention: Where the bamboo has its typical ring-shaped knots, there are partitions inside the tube; But you need a continuously open piece.
  2. About three and five centimeters from one end, you notch the pipe three millimeters deep with the saw. Carefully cut out the wood between these notches with the knife in layers - until you have "carved" a hole. In the end, this opening should be evenly rectangular!
  3. Now sandpaper and a file are used: Use the file to smooth out the interior until it is free of fibers. The two ends are rounded off with the sandpaper so that you do not pull splinters into your lips when blowing it in.