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plans to make a music box

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-----Original Message-----
Sent: 09 July 2010
Subject: plans to make a music box
I stumbled upon your site recently in my search for my long-term goal to make my own music box. (I was considering trying to figure out how to fit a glockenspiel inside a music box, although I suspect one small enough to fit would be much higher octaves than I could get with a traditional music box.)

I was wondering if you knew how to make the comb/prongs for music boxes. (if not the wheel/spool as well) (diagram of parts on right side)

Thank you for your time.


Most likely the traditional style glockenspiel would indeed be too big to fit inside a music box and as you say, making it smaller makes the pitch way too high. One way to get around this - although the tone will be effected a little - might be to make the bars much much THINNER! This makes the pitch lower and allows you to shorten them to bring them back up to pitch - overall just smaller. You might be able to do this enough. I've never actually made the prongs for a music box before - definitely not the wheel - but the prongs would be very similar to those on a log drum or mbira (thumb piano). The ends of the prongs have to all be at the same point so as to line up evenly along the wheel... but the length is controlled by the depth of the cut into the sheet metal that makes the prongs. Obviously the longer the prong the lower the pitch. The cut on one side will be shorter than the other but that should not affect the sound too much as long as the difference in pitch is not too great - have the prongs lined up from lowest to highest and it should work ok.

Hope this helps
Jim McCarthy

answers by Jim MCCarthy - 15/02/2008

For more help on instrument building you can email Jim.

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