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On Making a bamboo Xylophone #1 - (Question from Peter Adderley)

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Adderley"
To: Jim McCarthy -
Sent: Wednesday, 24 July 2002 13:19
Subject: bamboo
I've been looking for a few web links on how to build a xylophone from bamboo.
Although experimentation can be fun, it can be time-consuming.
I have quite a large store of seasoned bamboo from 7 cm diameter and less.
My primary aim is to develop a workshopping method for small children in groups.
Besides I get endless requests from neighbourhood kids for my bamboo to make bongs.
I'd rather be able to show them something a little more useful.

Hoping you can point me in the right direction.

Kind regards,
Peter Adderley

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Dear Peter..

I can not think of much in the way of existing resources, but what you are talking about shouldn't be too difficult a task. Try to make your notes from lengths of bamboo that have no joins. this should just be a matter of making your cuts carefully. The nodal point of this bamboo bar will be about 1/4 of the way from the end. Hold the bar gently here between the tips of thumb and finger, ant tap the middle. If the note is too low, cut the length down a little - if the note is too high as is more likely, cut a small arch from the middle of the bar, so that you can see the inside of the tube. The more bamboo you remove, the more the pitch will be lowered. Then find the exact nodal point (as before) at each end - hold and tap, and vary the holding position by tiny amounts till the longest vibration is obtained. Drill horizontal holes at these points through the width of the bamboo. When you have a row of these notes you can thread a string through all the notes - perhaps with a felt washer between each one. If you rig up a simple frame so the row of notes is suspended on the two strings you will have something very similar to the types of instrument that are common in places like Indonesia.

Hope this is helpful - Don't hesitate to drop me a note if you have any questions?

Jim McCarthy

Jim Reccomends for comprehensive blueprints and building guides to make your own marimbas.

answers by Jim MCCarthy - 21/06/01

For more help on marimba building you can email Jim.

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