Electric Coconut Thumb Piano





Introduction: Electric Coconut Thumb Piano

About: I live on the east coast of Canada, (New Brunswick). I have been tinkering and building things all my life and still manage to learn something new and exciting every day.

If you are like me and every time you crack open a coconut you find the shells just too cool to throw out then this instructable is for you.   The idea of making a coconut shell thumb piano came to me one afternoon while I was trying to come up with some way to entertain my 3 and 5 year old girls.  Of course after making them each one I needed to see if I could amp one up for myself.  This was way too cool of a project not to try. As usual with all my instructables look to the image notes for the details.

Step 1: Lets Get Wired

In this step you will have on hand half of a coconut shell that you have already sanded flat across the opening and sanded off all the stringy bits on the outside. You will also have harvested a piezo element from a Dollar Store window alarm as well as a 1/4 inch stereo or mono jack. You will also need about 6 or 8 inches of speaker wire (or the power cable off an old AC adapter). Some wood for the top and some hot melt glue.

Step 2: Sound Board Meets Body.

Here you will glue the sound board to the coconut shell. I should mention that I am using a very high quality industrial hot glue for this project. Also pick a spot on the sound board to drill about a one inch hole that will be your sound hole. Just look at the pictures to get an idea of where it should be.

Step 3: Building the Bridge

Start with a couple of dowels cut to fit your sound board , you'll have to figure out how long they need to be based on the size of your coconut shell. You will also need a piece of 1/8 inch by 3/4 inch steel bar stock.  with a couple of holes drilled in the ends that will allow a screw to slide through. And of course you'll need some hot glue.

Step 4: Making the Keys and Setting Them in Place.

Now it is time to make the keys for your piano. I chose a 3/8 inch band saw blade that I cut into 5 pieces each about 3 inches long.

Step 5: Demo

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    Awwww, your two models are so cute!!!

    Plus it's pure genuis.

    Thanks, I still enjoy playing this silly thing.

    Great job, I liked the distortion ;-)

    Thank you to all of you who voted for this instructable in the recent Radio Shack Audio contest. It is a real honor that you thought enough of my work to secure a third place finish. Also, congratulations to the other competitors on a job well done and deserving finishes.

    You are my competition, but i must say I love the sound you get out of these, its much more pleasing than my 8-bit noise maker. And they look nice to boot. good luck tomorrow, I cant wait to find out the judges decision.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to thank every one who voted for me in the Audio contest, to just make it to the finals was and is a blessing. I don't care if I win, what I do care about is that you take the time with the young people in your lives to explore the world around you and above all else, make beautiful music.

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the DIY Audio Contest!! Good luck to you!

    Will it work whit no electronic element (no wires and jack and stuff) :) thx

    3 replies

    They work quite well that way.

    nice doing it tomorrow :)

    post some pics or a vid.


    Owwwww, love it!

    Oh too cool. I love the sounds that come out of those thumb pianos.
    Oh and what a great idea to share. Nice! :)

    this is beautiful. such a lovely tone!

    looks like a fun instructable  great job   will have to make some for grandkids thanks
    and your kids are cute