6 Bangin’ DIY Percussion Projects

Craft & Design Music Workshop

If I had to guess, I would think that percussion instruments were the first musical devices invented by man. One can literally make rhythm out of a stick hitting another wooden surface. Fortunately, our rythm-making abilities (or at least tools) have improved dramatically as a society. Here are a few instruments that you can make yourself, if you want to take a step up from just tapping your desk!

Custom Professional-Looking Snare Drum


To start out, this drum shows that you can build a snare drum that looks nearly indistinguishable from one that’s commercially produced. This model uses purchased hardware for the top and bottom, but the cylinder portion is formed out of cherry veneer using a custom medium density fiberboard (MDF) frame.

Snare Drum from Scrap Wood


For a snare drum that looks incredible, but uses an entirely different process than the previous DIY model, look no further than this piece. It’s made not with bent veneer, but with many pieces of scrap wood glued together, then cut into shape.

Percussion PVC Organ


As it’s featured on Make:, and I actually helped build it, it would be hard not to feature this interesting device. Our particular model features eight distinct pipe-notes that are tuned by incrementally sawing off pieces of the horizontal tubes.

Hank Drum


This drum is in some ways reminiscent of a steel drum that you might think of people playing in Caribbean islands. It is, in fact, a drum made by cutting sections into a (never filled!) propane tank. The name is a play on Hank Hill, the fictional propane and propane accessories salesman, and the “Hang” instrument, which uses a similar concept, but costs thousands of dollars.

Lego Harpsicord


A stringed instrument, the harpsichord is activated by “banging on” keys, thus making this class of instrument eligible for this list. The fact that this one is made out of Lego blocks meant there was no way I could leave it off!

Arduino Auto Drummer


Although this could possibly fall into a “robo-band” category, since it’s a “solo act,” this drum is included here. Check out the Make: article about how to build this contraption!

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


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