Introduction: A Cheap & Easy & Simple Music Transposer

Picture of A Cheap & Easy & Simple Music Transposer

I play guitar sometimes. If the tune's chords are out of my vocal range, I use this transposer, made with two wastes CDs.
The picture is self-explaining. The small disc contains the originals chords of the song, and great the wished ones.

Both discs are united by the center and turn one on the other.

I used a pair of washers to fill up the central hollow of discs, and another pair of greater washers to unite the set with an aluminum rivet. A screw can also be used, or what the talent suggests to you.

In the case of the photo (the first photo), a song in E will be transposed to A.

D --> G
C --> F
F --> A#
... and so

(Pardon my deplorable english. I speak spanish.)


violetlass (author)2012-10-10

This is something they teach you in music theory, it just a simple tool used to help find a "key" that might be easier for you to sing or play. I remember this "clock" as they would call it. But still fuzzy on how to use it because its been almost 10 years since learning about it. I do understand the concept thou. Good idea.

rimar2000 (author)violetlass2012-10-11

Thanks Violet!

mechaninja (author)2011-02-01

say what?

rimar2000 (author)mechaninja2011-02-01

I don't understand your question. Please consider that my native languaje is Spanish, not English.

dermord (author)2010-10-04

che me lo explicas bien en español? que no entendi mcho jejej grax

rimar2000 (author)dermord2010-10-05

Mirá, no lo expliqué demasiado porque lo que vale son las fotos. Es muy sencillo: un disco grande sobre el cual gira concéntrico uno más chico. Podría ser un CD grande y uno chico, pero como estos son caros, lo que hice fue cortar uno grande. Los unís por el centro con lo que puedas, puede ser un tornillo, un clip, etc, pero que puedan girar uno respecto al otro. Luego dibujás 12 sectores iguales, correspondientes a los 12 semitonos de la escala cromática, les ponés el nombre sobre ambos discos, y listo. Cuando coinciden los nombres, no hay transposición. Si querés subir por ejemplo de C a D#, girás un disco hasta hacer coincidir la C de uno con la D# del otro, y buscás las demás notas o acordes de la misma manera.

Ya que estamos, ¿me votaste para el woodworking contest?

(Look, I explained not too much because what counts are the photos. It's simple: a large disk over which rotates a smaller concentric. It could be a great CD and one little, but as these are expensive, what I did was cut a big one. Link them at the center with you can: a screw, a clip, etc, but each CD can rotate relative to the other. Then draw 12 equal sectors, corresponding to the 12 semitones of the chromatic scale, put the name on both discs, and play. When the names match, there is no transposition. If you want to go for example from C to D #, turn a disk to match the one C to D # on the other, and find the other notes in the same way)

By the way, "voted you for me at the woodworking contest?

rimar2000 (author)2008-12-07

Nice logo, hackerlife.

hackerlife (author)rimar20002008-12-07

Muchas gracias senor! sabes.... Never mind, my Spanish is "muy malo." Do you know what it is? Its the symbol for the band H.I.M., its a combonation of a heart and a pentagram, called a "heartagram," and it represents love and hate.

shaunak (author)2008-11-06

Brilliant idea. Is it based on the cycle of fifths chart>?

rimar2000 (author)shaunak2008-11-07

No, es mucho más simple que eso (No, it is much simplest than this). Pardon, It is more difficult for me to explain it, than for you to see it. Look a minute and you will understand.

emuman4evr (author)2008-09-13

I don't get what this is or how to use it. But I desperately want to. No entiendo. DIME!!!! Sorry, I didn't mean to sound so harsh.

rimar2000 (author)emuman4evr2008-09-13

Let suppose that you want to sing a song in Am but you would like more to sing it in Em because your voice is more (or less) sharp: 1) In the inner circle you locate the A, in the outer the E 2) let match the inner A with the outer E 3) Then, all the notes or chords of the song in Am in the inner circle will have its corresponding in Em in the outer circle. Example: D--->A, E--->B. Sorry I don't speak English. If you don't understand my explanation, you seek you a friend that knows something about music, surely he will be able to help you.

emuman4evr (author)rimar20002008-09-14

Oh. Ahora entiendo cómo utilizar este. Gracias.
¿Ha considerado utilizar iGoogle para traducir frases?

rimar2000 (author)emuman4evr2008-09-14

Sí, he utilizado Google, pero es mucho mejor. Por lo menos, era así hasta hace unos meses. (Yes, I have utilized Google, but is a lot better. At least, was thus until some months ago.)

bob.smitty (author)2008-08-06

Brilliant in its simplicity and functionality. It is certainly way cheaper that Sibelius to do transpositions, and it also works to transpose keys for other instruments (with very minor mods... incidentally, i didn't trouble myself cutting the CD, but used the clear CD like filler on the bulk packaging.

rimar2000 (author)bob.smitty2008-08-07

Thanks for the compliments, Bob.

guitarman63mm (author)2008-07-12

Personally, to be a competent musician, I think you should have a decent sense of transposition (not that you don't, but I'm putting it out there as in idea)

rimar2000 (author)guitarman63mm2008-07-13

Really, is thus. But not all musicians are competent, and this little device intends to be a help for who (as I) we integrate the group of the simple fans.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-21

you speak very good english.

qwerty90210 (author)2007-12-03

you speak better than I do

singlespeed (author)2007-06-28

Good Idea! For mine, I used an old CD as the base layer and one of those clear CDs that come with spindles of blanks as the top. Same result, just without the cutting.

rimar2000 (author)singlespeed2007-06-28

Yes, it is the best solution, but I didn't have none of those small CDs. To make the cut was not easy, because the policarbonate is quite hard.

juandela (author)2007-05-07

not only is that cool, your english is better than many americans i meet.

rimar2000 (author)juandela2007-05-07

Thank you. Here in Argentina I have co-workers, university professionals that are not able to write a complete sentence in Castilian (Spanish).

blodefood (author)2007-04-07

This strikes a chord with me. :-)

mikecraghead (author)2007-03-01

This CD wheel inspired me to make a paper one - I've seen others on the web, but I think this one turns out cleaner: Chord Wheel pdf
Laminate the pieces and stick them together with a tack (point bent sideways & taped). Far less durable perhaps, but maybe a touch less labor involved?
Keep up the good work!
Mike Craghead

rimar2000 (author)mikecraghead2007-03-01

Yes, my first was in "cartulina" (bristol board, according to, I speak spanish)
The CDs has better aspect, but it is necessary to get one of the littles CDs, else to cut one big, and also is the topic of the central hole that it is necessary to stuff with washers.

implaxis (author)2006-11-28

Excellent idea. I had actually spent a lot of time making one for myself out of cardboard and a Word Document, but for scales. I actually had three wheels, two like you have above (with flats noted also, below the sharps), and one smaller one showing the relativity to the scale you are playing. Easier to show than to say.

I also have a separate one for the circle of fifths and the blues scale. Just got inspired on a new way to do it (better, even!).

How did you cut the inner CD without cracking it?

Ingerson (author)implaxis2006-11-30

Please do an instrucatbale about your transposer as I am very curious about it.

implaxis (author)Ingerson2006-12-01

Thanks for your interest. I have not made a new one yet and am still thinking about how to make it the "best" way, with the suggestions I've seen here. It might be several days before I can get to it.

rimar2000 (author)implaxis2006-11-28

Why you do'nt put an instructable about your transposer? I do'nt understand well, maybe because I speak spanish, not english. The inner CD was made as follow: I put the CD with a washer into it's hole, beetween two bigger washers, strongly tight with two nuts on a 2 inchs length screw. Then I put the group in the drill, and while this was rotating, I took it with the angle grinder. (Pardon my english, I can't do it better)

robgonzo (author)2006-11-27 me of this product.
I ordered one of these and when I got it I did the old forehead slap thinking I could have made one.

rimar2000 (author)robgonzo2006-11-27

It seems that Chord Wheel much more complete and elaborated product. The mine is very simple and without more pretenses than to make conversion. The idea is so obvious that sure have been make before by many people. It doesn't pretenses to be an invention.

RyanPotter (author)2006-11-26

That's great! I'm a horrible singer, but I do play guitar, and sometimes when I need to transpose chords, it can be a hassle. Great, simple, useful idea! AOL CD's, here I come!

MercuryCrest (author)2006-11-26

That's great! I play Alto (Eflat) sax and sometimes need to change the scale if the piece I'm playing is written for Soprano. That, and I'm going to transpose some guitar pieces to saxophone some day soon....Thanks for a great idea.

trebuchet03 (author)2006-11-26

Wow, what a great idea :) I don't have any use for it now - but I could have during the high school marching band days :P

TheCheese9921 (author)2006-11-26

can someone say use for aol disk lol that should be a group or something

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