Introduction: DIY Speaker Talk Box

Use a DIY Speaker to make your very own talk box, as loved by the Rock and Metal fraternity and popularised by Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and the Daft Punk Classic "Around The World". It is a very simple concept of playing sounds down a tube that you then distort with the shape of your mouth.

Simple but effective.

The earliest known variation of the talk box dates back to 1939, when pioneering pedal steel player Alvino Rey attached a specially-wired microphone – designed to modulate his instrument’s sound – to his wife’s throat. In performance, his wife hid behind a curtain and “mouthed” Rey’s guitar lines, creating what was called a “singing guitar.”

What will you do with your talk box?

Step 1: You Will Need:

Picture of You Will Need:

A DIY Speaker (made)

A box

A short length of tube

A longer length of narrower softer tube

Shredded paper

Tape

Small pot

Plastic cup that fits snuggly inside the pot

Strong glue

Step 2: Glue the Cup to the Exciter.

Picture of Glue the Cup to the Exciter.

Glue the speaker exciter to the bottom of the cup, and then make a hole in the lid of your pot, just slightly smaller than the width of the shorter length of tube.

Step 3: Attach the DIY Speaker.

Picture of Attach the DIY Speaker.

Push the exciter and cup into the lid of the pot. This is going to act as our speaker cone.

Step 4: Make Inner Pot.

Picture of Make Inner Pot.

Make a hole in the bottom of the pot and thread the speaker cable through it.

Step 5: Stuff the Inner Pot.

Picture of Stuff the Inner Pot.

Partially stuff firmly with shredded paper, leaving space for the pot and exciter, then screw then lid with cup and exciter on. Give it a shake and a tap to distribute the paper. This is going to be the sound insulator.

Step 6: Fit the Tube.

Picture of Fit the Tube.

Pinch the tube so that you can insert it into the hole in the lid snuggly. This is going to be our sound outlet.

Step 7: Make a Hole.

Picture of Make a Hole.

This needs to fit the tube.

Step 8: Make Another Hole.

Picture of Make Another Hole.

Make a hole on the side the size of the battery, so that the circuit board can be mounted on the outside. We need access to the on/off, battery and volume.

Step 9: Stuff the Box.

Picture of Stuff the Box.

Pack half with shredded paper, place speaker pot inside, reconnect the speaker wires and push the tube through the hole. Finally pack tightly with more shredded paper. This is our sound insulation.

Step 10: Seal the Box.

Picture of Seal the Box.

Now seal firmly with tape. The idea is that only way sound can get out of the box is through the tube. Turn it on and play some music to see if the box is insulating the sound. Put your thumb over the tube to see if it stops most of the sound. if not, you might want to open the box up and insulate it a little bit more.

Step 11: Fit the Mouth Tube.

Picture of Fit the Mouth Tube.

Wrap some masking tape around the bottom of the longer thinner tube to make a snug fit with the talk box tube. This is going to be the tube that goes in your mouth. Having a separate tube means that it can be easily removed to wash after use. Breathing into the tubes creates a lot of condensation that you really don't want hanging around...

Time to test it out, play some sounds, put the end of the tube in your mouth and make exaggerated shapes with your mouth to change the acoustics and distort the sound. We connected the speaker to a keyboard and made some mean mouth shapes. Waaaa Oooooo Aaaaa Eeeeee .

Step 12: Decorate!

Picture of Decorate!

Don't half step here, let your inner prog rock creative spirit manifest itself in a physical form.

Now go impress your family and influence your friends. Evenings will never be the same again.

Comments

fstedie (author)2015-10-23

1) you didn't list "amplifer" in your parts list

2) IMO very few people are going to go through the trouble of making one without a video demo.

3) FIY: Peter Frampton was the first to popularize the sound decades before Daft Punk

techwillsaveus (author)fstedie2015-11-02

Hi,

Thank you for your comments! The DIY Speaker actually does include an amplifier that you solder yourself, so the list is indeed all you need to make the project.

We can't agree more about the video. There is one in progress demonstrating the hilarious output of the talk box, but we felt we wanted to unleash this instructable now rather than waiting for the edit. The video will be added as soon as it is finished.

Peter Frampton was indeed one of several talk box pioneers. We chose to use Daft Punk as we needed an example that was easily recognisable by the average 10 - 30 year old. We would however love it if this instructable was a catalyst for people to discover older influential artists, and I will edit the intro to give some pointers!

Thanks

nwonharp (author)techwillsaveus2015-11-21

Yeah , good project !

I made one years ago , then ended up buying a " Rocktron Banshee " talk box for my guitars . the Rocktron is sturdier and more " Road ready " for gigs . But , yeah , a good project !! Frampton is possibly the most recognizable one to use a talk box , from what I have heard , it is said that he used a Marshall guitar amp to power it , and was concerned that his teeth would start falling out from the power involved ( possibly an urban legend ! ) but there have been many others over the years .

Cheers , take care , and have a good day !

Rana Qamar (author)2015-10-23

Eyes.. :-D

About This Instructable

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Bio: Technology Will Save Us is a haberdashery for making technology in everyday life. We design, manufacture and sell DIY technology Kits and run workshops to ... More »
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