Altoid tin pocket thumb piano

Altoid tin pocket thumb piano

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MAKE Flickr photo pool member Yapruder has a great gallery of thumb pianos, pictured here – one made from an Altoids tin… “Pocket thumb piano using Altoid tin and street sweeper bristle tines. My very first foray into plucked idiophone construction. Circa 1989.”Link.


  • Kalimba mbira sansa likembe thumbpiano lamellaphone (photo set) – Link.
  • RP Collier Thumb Piano Project – Link.
  • Altoid tin project on MAKE, they’re minty – Link.

4 thoughts on “Altoid tin pocket thumb piano

  1. wy__ says:

    The question I ask myself is how is this thumb piano made? Are there tutorials somewhere? Also, what are “street sweeper bristle tines” – Google images provides with nothing whatsoever :-)

    I totally love thumb piano’s and I have a little metal box crying out to be modded…. pling pling…

  2. abend says:

    Street sweeper bristle tines are thin strips of springy steel left behind by street sweeping trucks. The trucks have rotating brushes that lose bristles as they sweep. The bristles are flat, rectangular in cross section, and usually less than 10″ long when found. They can be found in the gutters of most American cities.

  3. c_wolf says:

    I live in Chicago, and although they sweep the streets often, I have never encountered these metal tines. So, I did some googling and found this:
    This link is to a website where you can buy the kinds of metal prongs you will need to make a thumb piano. They also sell thumb piano kits. Hope it helps!

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