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diy making unusual musical instruments

Updated on February 5, 2016
unheardofinstrume profile image

As a self employed experimental musical instrument maker and avid tinkerer I have made these pages for those of a similar bent as a resource

Unheardof Instruments

I welcome you to the world of unusual instrument making. I made this lens as a kind of mini site to point to my own site;

www.unheardofinstruments.com

and I hope to inspire people to try their hand at it too as I get a lot of pleasure from doing things myself and often times people just need a sense of being able to and then they get inspired to go on and create something wonderful that enriches the world and creates joy and wonder. Every time I take them out I get a lot of smiles and kids especially are naturally drawn to music and I never tire of seeing them gawk at me playing a mouth harp or busking on the double bass banjo.

There are many avenues to creating sound and lots of broken instruments and resonant junk to work with hiding in junk shops, rubbish tips, attics and even in nature. If the cave men did it so can you! I am happy to respond to emails about advice, tips, sourcing parts, design, acoustics, product enquiries etc. so feel free to contact me via the site.

What follows is a rambling rave about the projects I had the most fun with and some photos, I hope you like it.

cheers

ron

classical recycled resonator guitar
classical recycled resonator guitar

What the...???

?what were those things?

It's a double bass banjo standing next to a banjo bass viol. (of course) I borrowed from the banjo family, the Smallman guitar and by experimentation sought to make a double bass like instrument more cheaply and easily so I could play one. Chinese made basses have become 4 times cheaper in the meanwhile (I don't understand how) but I still am so glad I did it as the tone and volume are awesome. I have now made four and more are on the way.

My love affair with the double bass began when a good friend had loaned me a lovely 120 year old one made in Germany in exchange for a lend of my electric 8-string fret-less bass I had made and having already made an electric bass I had become hooked on upright bass. I am very happy with the results so far but am looking for further improvements always.

I like to attempt to make improvements in volume, tone and playability over the standard version of the instrument and have succeeded with the recycled resonator guitars, double bass banjo, banjo cello and I also enjoy repairing, making, setting up and recycling instruments because it is an object of art for making art and brings joy and wonder to the world whenever it is played and seems a good use of planet time. One of my double bass banjos is in a school which I think is great.

I hopefully also gain some unique insights during the journey of constructing them and playing them so as it goes along it gets more exciting as each new experiment unfolds. I also get to playing with some tonal qualities which are musically unique and fun. I have also made electric basses and guitars, electric violins, acoustic guitar and re-skin and repair drums (which are great fun to play and one of my favorite things to do is get into a drum circle and jam.)

I recycle broken guitars into resonators using speaker cones as the resonators which works well and decoupage them, in this case with some cutouts of high times which I made especially to sell at the Nimbin Mardi Grass. It worked in this case. Doing the art is msomething I enjoy doing too and there is a photo of one here. I take instruments markets and festivals where I also sell medicinal herbs and generally recycle/rebuild instruments for fun and sometimes profit.

Check out

www.unheardofinstruments.com

if you want to see more and check out the links below too.

I have a load of different mouth harps and jaw harps for sale as well as other musical treasures and have reanimated electric guitars and drums, etc. at any given time listed on my ebay store too.

I am fascinated by acoustic physics, harmony and resonance and the myriad ways the simple principles of oscillation feature in living systems. If there is a God it must be a musician I reckon.

My eBay shop - where you can find some unusual instruments and antique car parts too and whoi knows what else

I have a bunch of instruments and musical treasures but also a lot of vintage Porsche and Mercedes car parts listed in my shop, I have been a part time wrecker which is a kind of recycling too, it helps pay the bills.

Jaw harps, mouth harps, dan moi, kubing, moorchang, jews harp, guitar, bass, drums, slides, tuners, picks and all sorts of musical treasure available just ask (even if it isn't listed). I can usually find instruments and parts on request, do repairs etc.

Photo Gallery - some pictures of instruments I have made

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The first 8-string bass I madeAwesome bugarabu I skinned up and recently soldRecycled resonator back showing the decoupageMy electric guitar under construction, silkwood body, Australian rosewood neck, ooline fretboard, kinman pickups, hardtail.Another resonator under construction (this one is finished/sold)An SG clone I assembled and set upA frankenstrat made from several different guitarsA US strat I sold, made from parts.another resonator back, first one I sold specially themed to sell in Nimbin where I worked.
The first 8-string bass I made
The first 8-string bass I made
Awesome bugarabu I skinned up and recently sold
Awesome bugarabu I skinned up and recently sold
Recycled resonator back showing the decoupage
Recycled resonator back showing the decoupage
My electric guitar under construction, silkwood body, Australian rosewood neck, ooline fretboard, kinman pickups, hardtail.
My electric guitar under construction, silkwood body, Australian rosewood neck, ooline fretboard, kinman pickups, hardtail.
Another resonator under construction (this one is finished/sold)
Another resonator under construction (this one is finished/sold)
An SG clone I assembled and set up
An SG clone I assembled and set up
A frankenstrat made from several different guitars
A frankenstrat made from several different guitars
A US strat I sold, made from parts.
A US strat I sold, made from parts.
another resonator back, first one I sold specially themed to sell in Nimbin where I worked.
another resonator back, first one I sold specially themed to sell in Nimbin where I worked.

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