To make music, you don’t really need separate supplies from the world you live in. You can hum or croak, clap your hands, or create percussion by tapping on a table or ripping up a magazine (see this performance in an elevator by the Arcade Fire for an awesome example of the latter). And in the interest of making music where music was perhaps not expected, some people make instruments out of surprising materials. Sometimes they look cool, sometimes they look goofy; let’s take a look and judge for ourselves!
One very popular method of recycling into a musical instrument is making a guitar, banjo, or ukulele using the hollow body of a cigar box, a cookie tin, or other container as the body of the instrument. This fellow built a fiddle using a shortbread tin for the main component, dubbing it “Biscuitin'”.
Here is another gent playing the blues on his electric cigar box guitar:
If you want to make your own cigar box stringed-thing instrument, a great resource is Cigar Box Nation for news, instructions, and a community of do-it-yourself instrument makers to talk to!
Diego Stocco is a musician who uses unexpected items in conjunction with traditional instruments to create new compositions. Here he combines parts from several stringed instruments to create the “Experibass:” a quadruple-necked instrument played with a bow and various household items (got to love the percussive fork!). Fun fact: Stocco played the experibass in the score for the recent Sherlock Holmes movie.
If you are interested in seeing more strange, recycled and repurposed instruments, check out Oddmusic.com. More cool pieces can be found at Experiemental Musical Instruments. Then there’s the New York-based project “Bash the Trash”, a group of artists and educators who emphasize the importance of environmental issues with children, and make cool sounds using all things that commonly get thrown away. Here’s a video of them doing their thing:
Check out their website here for inspiration. Then go gather your friends and make some noise!