Handmade Music Clubhouse

Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

Weird Musical Instruments


Contrabass Saxophone

Guy plays amazing instrument at Trance Festival

Amazing Vietnamese Guy with Weird Musical Instruments in SFO

a strange-looking musical instrument but sounds good

The Vytrobulus (Weird Insrument)

Dude rocks out on a monster sized Flying V guitar.

Pat Metheny Pikasso 42-string guitar

Introduction of handmade vegetable musical instruments

The Bottle Band – Don’t worry be happy

Carrot clarinet

Strange Instruments


Strange Instrument

Unusual instruments


1. Stalacpipe Organ

The world’s largest musical instrument, the Great Stalacpipe Organ, is located deep in the Luray Caverns in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Covering three and a half acres the harmonic sounds are produced when the stalactites are electronically tapped by rubber-tipped mallets. Mr. LeIand W. Sprinkle of Springfield, Virginia – a mathematician and electronic scientist at the Pentagon – is to thank for the magnificent instrument after he invented it in 1954.

2. Cymbalom

The cymbalom is referred to in various names: the cymbalum, cymbalom, cimbalom (most common spelling), ţambal, tsymbaly, tsimbl, santouri, or santur. It’s a type of hammered dulcimer found mainly in the music of Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Greece andIran. In the video the instrument player looks like he has really long nails but they are actually specific tools attached to his fingers and are called “Bow Hammers”. They allow the player to pick at the bow strings and create that unique sound.

3. Bazantar

This instrument is a five string double bass with 29 sympathetic and four drone strings and has a melodic range of five octaves. It has been specifically designed to withstand the increased string tension which creates that sympathetic sound.

4. Musical Saw

Who would have thought a workman’s tool could be used as a musical instrument? The ethereal tone it creates when played is quite similar to haunting sound of a woman’s clear voice. Alfred Schnittke used the musical saw in a number of his works. The instrument is classified as an idiophone under the Hornbostel-Sachs system of musical instrument classification.

5. Kaisatsuko

Yuichi Onoue (in the video) of Tokyo, Japan is the inventor of the kaisatsuko. Unlike a bow that is usually used to vibrate the strings of an instrument the kaisatsuko uses a small hand crank which spins a nylon wheel. The rotating wheel acts just like a mechanical bow in a technique that is very similar to the Hurdy Gurdy, which was invented in the 11th century.

6. Gravikord

Robert Grawi invented the gravikord in 1986. It’s an electric double harp that has been modeled on the 21 string West African kora. It is made of welded stainless steel tubing, with 24 nylon strings. What differs it from the kora is the bridge which is a synthetic material designed differently allowing for a greater range of pitches.

7. The Glass Armonica

The name glass armonica derives from the Italian word “armonia”, which means harmony. This unusual instrument is made up of a series of glass bowls or goblets that graduate in size, resulting in gentle, harmonious tones. The mechanical version was invented by Benjamin Franklin.

8. Theremin

Creating a sound very similar to the musical saw the theremin is one of the earliest fully electronic musical instruments. Russian inventor Léon Theremin created it back in 1919. What makes it so special, even to this day, is the ability to play it without actually touching it. It consists of two radio frequency oscillators and two metal antennas. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.

9. Ondes Martenot

Maurice Martenot invented this instrument in 1928. It is an electronic musical instrument with a keyboard and slide. The sonic capabilities of the instrument were enhanced with the addition of the filter banks and switchable loudspeakers. It lets off an eerie sound very similar to the theremin and the musical saw. Many famous composers have used the ondes martenot including Olivier Messiaen.

10. Aeolian Harp

The Aeolian Harp is unique becaue it’s played by the wind. It gets its name from Aeolus, the Greek god of wind. During the Romantic Era these harps were very popular in households. Although they are less popular these days they are still hand-crafted.


Glass Armonica

The glass harmonica, also known as glass armonica, '"hydrocrystalophone" or simply armonica (derived from "armonia", the Italian word for harmony) is a type of musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction, making it both a crystallophone and a friction idiophone). Despite being played with wet fingers, the sound is produced by vibration of the solid glass, so that the glass harmonica is not a hydraulophone even if played completely submerged in water.

Benjamin Franklin invented a radically new arrangement of the glasses in 1761 after seeing water-filled wine glasses played by William Deleval. Franklin, who called his invention the "armonica" after the Italian word for harmony, worked with London glassblower Charles James to build one, and it had its world premiere in early 1762, played by Marianne Davies.

In Franklin's version, 37 bowls were mounted horizontally nested on an iron spindle. The whole spindle turned by means of a foot-operated treadle. The sound was produced by touching the rims of the bowls with moistened fingers. Rims were painted different colors according to the pitch of the note. As were dark blue, Bs purple, Cs red, Ds orange, Es yellow, Fs green, Gs blue, and accidentals white. With the Franklin design it is possible to play ten glasses simultaneously if desired, a technique that is very difficult if not impossible to execute using upright goblets. Franklin also advocated the use of a small amount of powdered chalk on the fingers which helped produce a clear tone in the same way rosin is applied to the bows of string instruments.

MozartBeethovenDonizettiRichard Strauss, and Camille Saint-Saëns all composed works for the glass harmonica. European monarchs indulged in it, and even Marie Antoinette had taken lessons on it as a child from Marianne Davies. One of the best known pieces is the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the ballet The NutcrackerTchaikovsky's first draft called for glass harmonica, but he changed it to the newly-invented celesta before the work's premiere performance in 1892.

Here is a documentary about Glass Armonica

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" on the Glass Armonica



The Dubreq Stylophone is a miniature electronic musical instrument invented in 1967 by Brian Jarvis. It consists of a metal keyboard played by touching it with a stylus - each note being connected to a cheap voltage-controlled oscillator via a different-value resistor - thus closing a circuit. Some three million Stylophones were sold, mostly as children's toys. Rolf Harris appeared for several years as the Stylophone's advertising spokesman in the United Kingdom.

Here is how it works and sounds:

Hexstatic - Stylophone

Aeolian harp

An aeolian harp (or æolian harp or wind harp) is a musical instrument that is "played" by the wind. It is named for Aeolus, the ancient Greek god of the wind.

The traditional aeolian harp is essentially a wooden box including a sounding board, with strings stretched lengthwise across two bridges. It is placed in a slightly opened window where the wind can blow across the strings to produce sounds. The strings can be made of different materials (or thicknesses) and all be tuned to the same note, or identical strings can be tuned to different notes.

Here is an example (wav-file) of the wind playing from thewww.harpmaker.net, which builds these instruments.

And here is a clip, by Sarah Deere "Jones Celtic and Aeolian Harp"

vOICe Java Applet

Voice - is a free online soundscape synthesizer and sequencer. This Java applet allows you to draw your own 64 × 64, 16 grey-tone image and immediately hear the corresponding 64-voice polyphonic visual sound being synthesized on the fly! See and hear how The vOICe mapping works for your input. The 64-channel sound synthesis maps the image into an exponentially distributed frequency interval for a one second visual sound.

An interesting thing, though it is not easy to produce something well sounding.
On this animation page you can see how different images sound.

The best of Theremin

This a great theremin cover of a song by Gnarls Barkley. Just great.

Hang - a steel drum

hang is a steel drum. It is struck with the fingers, the sound is generally much softer than a steel drum, and can be played in many ways to produce a large variety of sounds.

The hang was devleoped in 2000 in Bern, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer (PANArt Hangbau AG) and introduced at Musikmesse Frankfurt in 2001. Its name comes from the Bernedialect word for hand.

The hang is typically played resting on the players' lap, and can also be played on a stand. The inner note on the bottom dome is the bass note, and when played in a dampened way allows change in pitch. Seven (in the bass version) or eight (treble version of the Hang) notes are tuned harmonically around a central deep note. The hemispheres are hardened by a process known as gas-nitriding.

In the spring of 2006 the hangmakers presented a new generation of Hanghang (plural form of Hang). The new instruments have an upper surface of annealed brass and a ring of brass around the circumference.

Here is an introduction video to Hang:

A couple of videos of a good hang drummer

Hang Drum- Manu Delago

And a great video of Hang Drum played live by Beate Gatscha.

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