Introduction: PVC Trombone

Picture of PVC Trombone
Ever wanted to play those cool "glissando's" with those great horn players in jazz bands, ska bands, brass bands etc. but couldn't afford a real brass trombone ? Here is your Instructable to make one with just cheap pvc tube and some garden hose stuff. Start blowing your pants off and really annoy your neighbors !

WARNING: I'm not a trombone player so any ear-damage after seeing/listening to my video is at your OWN RISK ! (In fact I'm only trying to make music especially with DIY instruments)

This instrument was actually used in my legendary band "Studio KREUSCH" in which I played the bass. The one I had back than was really nice and bigger but was stolen after a performance at a local club so If you recognize my trombone....I want it back !!!! (Does this say anything about the quality?.......naah.)

This is my first instructable and English isn't my native language so any comments are very welcome so I can improve my instructable skills.

Step 1: What Do You Need?

Picture of What Do You Need?

Hmmm, what is missing here? ..Ehm, oh yes the hole saw which you can put in to your drill for making the 6,5 cm diameter "puck".

All measurements are in the metric system, while I'm Dutch. Only the tubes diameter are in inches while they sell them like that here to. (Do I smell here a conspiracy of American/English electricians?)

The rest is listed in the picture.

Step 2: Making the Bending Jig

Picture of Making the Bending Jig

First you'll have to make a jig for bending nice curves in your tubes.
Start with a sheet of plywood on which you draw a line in the middle so you can line it all out.
Then take the hole saw an make the "puck". Best thing with these is to start at one and in the wood and before you are trough it turn it over and drill from the other side. this way you won't splinter the edges of the wood.

Next you put a bolt into the hole in the middle of the "puck" and put it into a drill very tight so it won't turn. fasten a round file in your vice and slowly push the circle against the file. So you'll end up with a convex side of the "puck" in which the tube will fit. (of course you could do this without the drill but hey..I've more instructables to make!).

Drill a hole on the line in the plywood and attach the circle to it. Then take a piece of 3/4" tube put it against the circle and take a piece of lumber and put it on the other side so it fit snuggly. Mark the place and drill the two holes to attach the woodblock with bolds and nuts. Do the same with a piece of 5/8" tube. Make sure to line the block in a 90 degree angle with the pencil line so it will be easier to see if the tube is bend enough.
Attach the woodblock to the board.

Well this was the hardest part of this instructable so from now on it's only getting easier ;)

Step 3: Measure and Saw the Pvc Tube

Picture of Measure and Saw the Pvc Tube

If you don't have the right lengths of tube measure it and saw it to the right length.

Two pieces of 5/8", one of 40 cm, another one of 120 cm.

One piece of 3/4" of 100 cm long.

Don't forget to sand the edges.

Step 4: Bending the Tube

Picture of Bending the Tube

If you have the right lengths you can start bending.

First mark the middle of the 100 cm tube and the 120 cm tube.
This is important while you have to try to keep both ends the same length and this way you can line it with the marking on the bending jig.

Before you bend you have to put the bending spring in the tube. If you don't have these or can lent them you could try to fill the tubes with sand and close them with a cork or something (I haven't tried this with pvc but did it with thin copper tubes before and that worked).
This is to prevent the tube from braking and to prevent dents. Al tough I had some dents in my bending it isn't that of a big problem for the sound.

Don't forget to adapt the bending jig to the proper size of the tube.

Do the bending easy and make sure the curve is still in the middle all the time.

After the bending you can pull the spring out with the attached rope.

Step 5: Making the Holds

Picture of Making the Holds

I don't know if I named them right but the pieces of wood, I called them holds, are there to keep the tube parallel and to have grip on the trombone.

First measure the distance between the middle of tubes of the 3/4" tube piece and sign this on one of the wood pieces. On these points you drill a hole with a 3/4" speed drill. Don't drill right away trough it but when the point of the drill is on the other side, turn around the wood and drill from the other side. This way you won't have any splinters on the edges.

Put the hold on the tubes.

Do the same with the thinner tube but make the hold twice. One to keep the bended tubes parallel and one to put the straight end the bended one together.

Step 6: Adding the Mouthpiece

Picture of Adding the Mouthpiece

To fit the mouthpiece on the 5/8" tube you'll have to put a connector for that size on it. That way it really fits nice on the tube. There's no glue necessary but if you want, you can use hard pvc glue.

The bigger the mouthpiece the lower the notes that are possible to make.

Step 7: Adding the Funnel

Picture of Adding the Funnel

My funnel, off course in the National Dutch color orange, fits snugly in to the 5/8" tube but to secure it I glued it with hard pvc glue and taped it in place with electrician tape.

If you like it you can tape a microphone in the funnel and "tape" your music.
Here is a instructable how to make one from an ear bud


Step 8: Putting the Pieces Together

Picture of Putting the Pieces Together

Ok, I think you can figure out how to put this together eh?
Well, the thicker tube fits over the thinner one so that won't be a problem

Put the mouthpiece against your lips and, with tight lips, blow your tunes!
Doesn't worked right away? keep practicing. Pro's talk about em brochure, it's the way you tighten or loosen your lips and it can be a tricky technique to master but with a little practicing you probably blow better than I do!


BlakeW1 (author)2015-06-22

also, does anybody know if it is actually an f horn, or is it too indistinct to tell?

BlakeW1 (author)2015-06-22

also, does anybody know if it is actually an f horn, or is it too indistinct to tell?

sullivanj523 (author)2014-01-10

I like the basics and stuff. I'm an acual bass trombone player and the ambatchure thing is really easy.. Make your lips as tight as they will go and blow fast air. You should get a buzzing sound and when you hear that just do the same thing into the trombone and you can glissando the crap out of your homemade t-bone.

BlakeW1 (author)sullivanj5232015-06-22

Yeah, but if u actually start playing, u might not want to lower ur jaw and not press your lips together as hard. Another way to think of it is like a fake fart

BlakeW1 (author)2015-06-22

lol! Nice design, the only thing I could think of to add would be a working tuning slide in the back. You could maybe use some 3/4 inch pvc inside of some 1 inch or something like that. Also, it might help to use actual off joints instead of just bending the pipe. The funnel on the end makes it look a bit odd, but overall it would be great I play bass bone, and it thought it would be cool, though aittle hard, to make a bass bone with triggers?. Thanks, if I end up making a bass bone out of pvc I'll comment with a photo

woody558 (author)2009-04-18
BlakeW1 (author)woody5582015-06-22

Woody, I play bass trombone, and. O it will not work unless you don't care if you sound like a dying elephant or not ?

rgreen10 (author)2011-09-17

Does anyone know what the range of this is? Could I possibly get it down to C2 or up to D4?

Princess2011 (author)2010-03-28

Is there anything that needs to be placed between the pvc piping to keep the air from leaking out or do the two pieces seem to be a good fit?

chow-lab-mix (author)2010-03-21

I made a trombone out of straws......... I don't have the measurements right.

How is the PVS sax coming along?? I am really looking forward to that inscrutable, whoever it was who said they were making it. Hurry!! (:

I mean PVC sax not PVS. sorry. typo

woody558 (author)2010-03-20

I couldn't find 5/8 inch PVC pipe at my local home depot. Where can I get it? Is that the inside or outside diameter?

SeMi_AuToMaTic (author)2008-01-11

sweet! i love the idea. sorry about your trombone. but the pink panther (original) is primarly tenor sax.

Dave A (author)SeMi_AuToMaTic2008-01-12

Oh well, i'll have to think about making a tenor sax out of pvc tubes then ;) I know people build them from bamboo and I ones started with a clarinet out of pvc so it must be possible

whiteoakart (author)Dave A2009-12-04

I am almost there, Aeolus.  The reed mouthpiece is the hardest part, but I finally conquered that one yesterday.

Dave A (author)whiteoakart2009-12-04

Nice! I'm looking forward to the instructable.

I am working on a PVC sax. Almost there. The reed is made from a discarded debit card.

New Instructable coming soon!

78Andy (author)2009-11-03

So you were able to bend PVC pretty easily? Is there a certain wall-thickness that is best for bending without breaking?

Dave A (author)78Andy2009-11-19

In step 4 you can see how I did it. Using the bending spring is very important; without it you´ll certainly brake the pvc.

silver93 (author)2009-06-25

excuse me what is a speedrill?

Dave A (author)silver932009-06-25

Sorry, the proper English name would be aspade bitI think.

An Villain (author)2009-06-14

lol funny video, pink panther.

whiteoakart (author)2008-11-22

Dit is uitstekend!

Great Instructable, Aeolus. Of course, I am biased since there is a special place in my heart for DIY instruments.
Dr. Seuss-a-phone

Your english is very good and will only get better with writing more Instructables.

I have been looking for a DIY mouthpiece. I used a trumpet mouthpiece for my Dr Seuss-a-phone, but I am trying to reduce this cost substantially. We have a great music festival every year called "Riverfolk". I am usually involved with kids' activities. We have a DIY instrument making workshop every year. Usually, this consists of PVC Didgs, shakers, and coffeecan bongos. We have talked about bugles, but I have not found a suitable inexpensive mouthpiece. I think you may have solved my problem! Dank u!

Dave A (author)whiteoakart2008-11-22

Graag gedaan ( Your welcome ). Always nice to hear that I've solved someone else's problem's now I only have to solve those of my own ;)

M1 Monty (author)2008-10-17

Pretty good! I'm a trombone player who has played at a few local gigs, as well as Disney and Universal in Orlando. Good design on teh 'bone. I'm surprised that it actually works, but, for now I think I'll just stick to my brass horn. Oh, and one recommendation: If you really want to learn how to play a brass instrument, buy a trombone mouthpiece (they're as low or lower than $12 on eBay) and start buzzing on it. Even the pros do mouthpiece buzzing, so it will definitely help you. If you want to actually start playing the t-bone, it would be good to get one. Just a student edition (no fancy F-triggers or D-triggers) will be good to start on, and you can rent these out from music stores. Next, find a private teacher and you're ready to go! One more thing: Please don't reply to this message... my e-mail is full enough. _

groton (author)2008-04-17

What is that PVC tube called ? Or do you know where I can order it . . Its yellow electric tube I thought? but I can't find any for sale on the internet... please help ;) And Kick ass instrument

rip333 (author)groton2008-07-22

it's cpvc.

CapnTac (author)2008-03-26


struckbyanarrow (author)2008-03-24

you sound like charlie from lost! omg its you charlie youre not dead under the ocean ! i love lost!!!!!! its on every thursday night at 9;00 pm on channel 3 abc yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

cheesehead246 (author)2008-03-11

you need to put the size of the plywood

SuperCoPilot (author)2008-02-09

this is definately gonna be the first instructable i make now i'm going to go find my lil bro MUA HA HA

nrbhagwat (author)2008-02-02

i was just wondering, what is the range on an instrument like this?

Dave A (author)nrbhagwat2008-02-02

Well I don't have a clue. Never tried to found out and since I'm not a real trombone player I think I'm not capable to play the full range.

Darth Trainman (author)Dave A2008-02-03

A real trombone? Well... I can hit anything between A low low low E ( 4 bars below low A Flat) and a high high high F (6 Bars above Regular G)...

Kiteman (author)2008-01-02

Excellent! Love the sound - #1 son is learning the trombone through school, and his first few weeks sounded just like your video. If you make one of these carefully, I can't see why it couldn't be an affordable practice instrument (trombones cost a fortune - we borrowed one).

Dave A (author)Kiteman2008-01-12

These were my first weeks to! But the last ones also, while my wive is complaining to much.

theKNEXfolo (author)2008-01-06

lol that looks awesum i play trombone in my band second chair too out of like 8 trombone players.

Dave A (author)theKNEXfolo2008-01-12


Darth Trainman (author)2008-01-04

Wow. I am a trombonist and I admit, trombones are VERY expensive.However, you just can't beat the annoying buzzing sound of a DIY trombone... Good Job.

SilentTecro (author)2007-12-31

"the circle saw/drill which you can put in to your drill for making the 6,5 cm diameter puck"
It's usually called a hole saw, I believe, if you're thinking of a round strip of metal.

Dave A (author)SilentTecro2008-01-01

Thanks, I'll change it. Haha I was thinking to hard because its the literally translation of the dutch word: Gatenzaag.

SilentTecro (author)Dave A2008-01-01

No problem. And I forgot to mention, good instructable!

Don Quioxte (author)2008-01-01

I've played brass trombone for about 5 years, I'd like to give PVC a shot. I'll upload some audio when I get around to making one. I will probably cheat and use a metal mouthpiece, though. Maybe not. I'm pretty good at buzzing on random pieces of tubing, I'll see how this goes.

SlothOnSpeed (author)2007-12-31

Terrific Instructable, and your English is better than mine. My only comment is that in the US, "Multiplex" is called "plywood." Otherwise, just perfect. I am amazed at the musical instrument you have made with next to nothing.

Dave A (author)SlothOnSpeed2008-01-01

Thanks. I'll change the words to plywood (now you said it I remember again). And yes, I think the best things you can make are as simple as can be.

GorillazMiko (author)2007-12-31

Great Instructable, I might show this to my friend, he plays a lot of instruments, maybe he'll like this. Thanks!

Dave A (author)GorillazMiko2008-01-01

Thank you.

burzvingion (author)2007-12-31

As a (brass) trombone player, I laughed when I saw the title, but it actually doesn't sound too bad. Granted, it doesn't sound much like a real trombone, but that's to be expected since the timbre is mostly due to the brass. Tuning it isn't something I'd want to have to do though :P

Dave A (author)burzvingion2008-01-01

Thanks, but no tuning necessary here. No one wants to play with me :(

Einsteins Circuitry (author)2007-12-31

I play the trombone... Couldn't imagine trying to play this!

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an arts and crafts teacher in a secondary school in the Netherlands. ( I love making things. Especially out of nothing ... More »
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