In the recorder family, the great bass recorder has a range starting at the C below middle C (that is, the viola range). Instruments in this range provide much-needed bass support for wind ensembles.

Because the recorder's size necessitates keywork, which must be made precisely, commercial great bass recorders sell for $1000 - $2000. Now you can create your own for about $30-40.

Note: the prototype in this video reflects an earlier revision of hole placement. The revision in this Instructable features better tuning.

- 1.5" nominal Schedule 40 PVC pipe (e.g. from Home Depot for $5 per 10' length) x 4'
- 2" nominal Schedule 40 PVC pipe (for the key segments) x 3"
- Several 3D-printed parts (for fipple and key mechanisms; see https://www.shapeways.com/designer/ssngai)
- 2mm craft foam (for key pads) 
- 3/16" diameter wood dowel (from Home Depot) x 5"
- Size 16 standard rubber bands (a very common size) x 5
- Tacky glue (e.g. Aleene's Original Tacky Glue)
- Hot glue

- Free online electronic tuner (http://www.seventhstring.com/tuner/tuner.html)
- 3/8" drill bit (I use an Irwin Speedbor spade bit intended for wood--yes, wood.)
- Small round file (for insides of holes)
- Flat file (for surfaces)
- Tape measure
- Calipers (optional)
- Masking tape
- Hacksaw

Note: For updates and improvements, and also to learn of other alternatives for various steps, please contact the author.

Step 1: Prepare the Body Tube

Cut pipe to 48.0". (Note: the previous version specified a length of 48.25".)
If you do not cut the pipe squarely (perpendicularly), the fipple piece may not fit, or there will be some uncertainty as to the proper location to drill the toneholes. Obviously, as one of your two cuts you can use the pre-cut side of the 10' length. 
Use the file to remove burrs.
Use the better-cut side for the bottom of the instrument (bell).
Before you proceed, it might be a good idea to wash the pipe a little.

Mount the endcap fipple with masking tape.
Excessive air leakage may cause distortion of tuning. As long as the cut was fairly straight, one strip of tape on each side should hold it down well enough.
Don't glue the fipple down yet. You will need to remove it during tonehole drilling and mount it again at the end.
The best orientation is rotated 90 degrees right of centerline. In my opinion, that makes for the most comfortable playing position, which is illustrated in the video.
If you want, you can swab the pipe end with alcohol. You don't know where that thing's been.

Blow to play your first note (the bell note or base note)!
Confirm that the pipe plays within about 10-20 cents of 130.81 Hz (C below middle C).
Any frequency within this range is pretty much acceptable, since frequencies will vary as much as 30-40 cents with your blowing pressure.

<p>I am a bit lost with:</p><p>Several 3D-printed parts (for fipple and key mechanisms; see https://www.shapeways.com/designer/ssngai)</p><p>What exactly should I order? </p><p>I have everything else and am ready to go. </p>
<p>Very good work, thanks for sharing it.</p>
Nice work! That's got a great sound. The graphics are great, but could you include a close-up photograph of one of the key assemblies on the instrument? I think it would help to see the actual key/rubber band finished setup as well as the diagram. <br> <br>Thanks for sharing this!
This is amazing. You seem to have done the impossible. <br>

About This Instructable




More by sngai:A Homemade DIY Bass Recorder for about $20 A Homemade DIY Great Bass (ie Viola-Range) Recorder for $30-40 Building Your Own Homemade Flue Pipe 
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