Cookie Tin Guitars and Vegetable Orchestras: Unconventional DIY Instruments

Ransom Riggs

I washed dishes at a local restaurant for a whole summer when I was 15 to save up for my first guitar -- a Rickenbacker 360 -- which I'm still not all that amazing at playing. The folks in these videos, on the other hand, spent between one and maybe twelve bucks on the raw materials for their instruments, and with a little know-how and creativity, were able to DIY themselves guitars, resonators, pan-flutes and other unconventional music makers -- many of which sound great. Here are some of the most interesting DIY instruments we could find on YouTube.

Radish slide whistle

This Japanese guy is the king of vegetable wind instruments. Check out his amazing slide whistle, which I hope he keeps in the refrigerator when he's not playing.

BBQ resonator guitar

This guy made a Dobro out of a BBQ -- hence, it's called the Dobroque. I think it sounds great.

Cookie tin guitar

This English schoolteacher creates DIY guitars in his spare time. Check out his bluesy cookie tin:

Rubber band guitar

Another surprisingly good-sounding instrument, made from rubber bands dropped by the postman outside a mailbox.

Carrot pan flute

Zamfir this guy is not, but his creation is pretty amazing nonetheless.

Altoids tin guitar

How do you get a high school death metal guitar sound out of an Altoids tin? This guy managed to.

Giant flying V guitar

This guy made a flying V guitar so large that it makes him look positively Lilliputian next to it.

Cucumber trumpet

More veggie-winds from Japan:

Songs Inside the Box

... is a documentary film about cigar box guitar-makers. Check out this trailer for a DIY movement you probably didn't know existed.

Vegetable orchestra

A dozen people demonstrate the virtues of playing with your food.