Home made instrument piece from today.

I ended up with an extra free hour and a tune in my head, so I sat down and banged this out. I think it turned out with a very nice feeling.


This was done on an instrument that I built that I still have not given a name to. I was inspired to make it looking at cigar box guitars and other ethnic instruments of the world, especially the rudra veena with it’s “hollow” frets.

The Rudra Veena
Rudra Veena

I had just begun an attempt at building a cigar box guitar (my first attempt at acoustic instrument building) and had decided to try out some techniques on another instrument first before applying them to the cigar box guitar which I was already too fond of to risk ruining.



The result is a short instrument made from a note card box, with deep scalloped frets and two strings. One for drone and the other melody. The fretting is dulcimer style, with cut nails for frets. It has it’s idiosyncracies, but I love it. I mostly sit it on my lap with the resonator between my knees and pluck the strings while sliding one finder from fret to fret, but recently I recieved an egyptian fiddle as a gift and have been using it’s bow a lot on various things including this and really loving the sound.

This melody that came to me today was one i actually came up with a long time ago, but today it seemed perfect for this instrument. So I recorded the melody first then added some humming and then a bowed drone. I think it summed up what I felt for that melody nicely. Enjoy!

Rain made out of Sun

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4 Responses to “Home made instrument piece from today.”

  1. Daniel Thompson Says:

    Nice piece and nice instrument. I made something similar once. It was more primitive than yours. It was kind of a two string fretless dulcimer. It sounded a little bit like your instrument and was a lot of fun to play around with.

  2. howsthatsound Says:

    thanks. this piece really got me in to building acoustic instruments. it’s really not that hard. if you look at a lot of instruments from third world countries certain kinds are very cobbled together. as if they just accept that it is not going to be “perfect” but do what they can with what they have. these are always the ones i’m most drawn to. there is always some strength in the areas in which they “fail”. for my purposes i’ll call it character. 🙂 i find if you are not afraid to “fail” a bit, you can pretty much make anything. now if i can just find more time… 😉

  3. nikki Says:

    nice but whats the name of the instrument???

  4. howsthatsound Says:

    well, since the instrument has no real lineage, as it is a hybrid of three or four different instruments from different cultures, coming up with a name proves fairly difficult. so for the time being, it is nameless. giving it a name would certainly make talking about it easier, but there’s really no “instrument-esque” name that would shed light on what it actually is more than calling it tim or frank. i guess i could just call it a card box idiophone, but that’s not really very illuminating either. perhaps i’ll just call is sam or something. any ideas?

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