Introduction: Electric Coconut Thumb Piano

Picture of Electric Coconut Thumb Piano

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

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

Picture of Demo

Comments

J-Five (author)2013-04-29

Awwww, your two models are so cute!!!

Plus it's pure genuis.

Macflame (author)2013-05-05

Excellent work!

friger (author)Macflame2013-05-05

Thanks, I still enjoy playing this silly thing.

bricobart (author)2013-01-27

Great job, I liked the distortion ;-)

friger (author)2012-12-06

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.

patdoherty (author)2012-12-04

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.

friger (author)2012-12-01

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.

poofrabbit (author)2012-11-29

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

rimar2000 (author)2012-11-21

Nice work!

skoko (author)2012-11-21

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

friger (author)skoko2012-11-21

They work quite well that way.

skoko (author)friger2012-11-21

nice doing it tomorrow :)

friger (author)skoko2012-11-21

post some pics or a vid.

ynze (author)2012-11-21

Owwwww, love it!

MaskMarvl (author)2012-11-21

Pretty cool... :D

Treasure Tabby (author)2012-11-20

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

audreyobscura (author)2012-11-20

this is beautiful. such a lovely tone!

jessyratfink (author)2012-11-20

That looks like so much fun! They sound great too :D

thebear1 (author)jessyratfink2012-11-20

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

About This Instructable

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Bio: 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 ... More »
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