When you use your imagination to
make or find percussion instruments for yourself, you are following
a tradition that stretches back thousands of years to the dawn
of human music making. It's an essential part of being a percussionist.
is only a starting place for ideas. Think outside the box... or
the egg, as the case may be..
Bowls - Etherial metal sounds from 'housewares' conjure
that is hard to get any other way.. have
Boxes - Inexpensive and rich in tone, a cigar box
or other small wooden box can be a nice instrument.
What works? Use your EARS. The 21st
century urban environment provides tons of cool sounding material
resources, many of which we explore here. Also, if you don't know
about Stomp, check them out. (the link is below.) You'll never
look at a hardware store the same way again. Beautiful sounds
come from things like copper tubing, bushel baskets, dowel, pipe,
pvc pipe, coffee cans, vitamin jars, bb's, old keys, hub caps,
brake drums, frying pans, you name it. If it's made of wood, metal
or certain types of plastic, it will probably sound good..
Being round or hollow is an added benefit.
ears and your imagination are your handiest tools.
Certain plastics, especially polycarbonate
resins, have incredible sonic properties, and in the right hands,
a sparklett's bottle is as delicate and subtle as the finest UDU.
We alter 'em, and here we tell you HOW, in "STU's
Here are a few
recommended books to get you started. We checked 'em all out. No
sense in re-inventing the wheel here..these are the best books available
on the Web dealing with homemade percussion instruments.
Sound Designs: A Handbook
of Musical Instrument Building
Reinhold Banek & Jon Scoville
This book is a must. SOUND DESIGNS
will teach you how to build truly unique musical instruments,
including oil drum gongs, beautiful tongue drums and temple
blocks, thumb pianos, cowbells, tube drums, willow whistles....on
& on. Sources for these and many other designs are drawn
from cultures world wide - from the Stone Age to the Space
Age. The necessary materials can be purchased easily, or simply
found in nature or a junkyard. Arthur Hull recommended this
one to us, and it's our favorite one. Thanks, ATA!
Musical Instrument Design
Practical Information for Instrument Making Bart Hopkin
Bart Hopkin has for 14 years
published and edited the quarterly journal Experimental
Musical Instruments. In the course of that work, he's
been in constant contact with musical instrument makers of
all sorts, as well as acousticians, scholars and theoreticians
-- lots of truly skilled, knowledgeable and creative people.
He brings his experience to this book, and it shows. No other
single resource contains the theoretical and practical information
found in this book
Making Simple Musical Instruments is a friendly,
accessible and informative collection of home-buildable instrument
plans, supplemented with generous amounts of additional background
information, beautifully presented with lots of graphics.
Not just percussion instruments, this book covers strings
and winds as well.
How to Make Drums,Tomtoms
& Rattles: Primitive Percussion Instruments
for Modern Use. Bernard S. Mason
Complete, thorough directions are given for
making a variety of drums, many from such simple, everyday
materials as wooden kegs, flower pots, coffee cans, buckets,
old inner tubes and airplane cloth. Also such drum related
articles as drumsticks and many different kinds of rattles
are described with additional instructions on how to make
them. A very inexpensive book, well worth the cost.