Instructables

Coconut er-hu (mongolian violin)

This er-hu (Mongolian violin) was made a while a ago. At the time i did not take pictures of the process so i do not have detailed step by step instruction but none the less Its quite simple. I am bet anyone could make this in a few hours tops.

sound sample in mp3 below..
mixed in with guitars and other percussive and drone instruments..


Things needed.

1 - coconut ($1.75 at grocery store)
1 - broom stick or a 1 inch dowel.
2 -10 gauge guitar strings. used left overs.
1 - stick of bamboo
roll of string (used red nylon as stronger)
Small piece of left over plywood.
to stick it all together Glue. (I use sumo(brand) glue as it sets fast and bonds tight within minutes)
& other misc thing when it comes up.
total cost about 20 dollars max. Violin bow (bought the bow for 5 dollars a pawn shop).
 
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Step 1: Coconut sound body.

...Sound body...

Cut coconut in half, scoop out the coconut flesh then let dry (spoon works great)
After its dried (few minutes in the sun) we need to level it so the plywood rests on top evenly.
To achieve this glue some sandpaper on a flat surface (table) then with a circular motion sand the cut face of the coconut, till the all the edges are flat to the table. This is the most difficult step as it takes some patience. The outer husk hair also takes time to sand to a clean surface.

The photo shows a a different coconut half for an idea to work with. Also changed the neck rest on this project for better neck rest.

Step 2: Plywood top

Placing the coconut on a plywood, trace an outline on the plywood. This gives you the shape for the top sound board. Cut the plywood with a coping saw. Once the cut is finished, drill then file a sound hole somewhere in the mid of the plywood. Not to high up as we need to glue the neck to the plywood. After so, leave it aside for the moment as we move to the neck.
keomoechi11 months ago
Very simple and easy to make. Wanting to make 'violin-like' instruments for ages but most were too difficult. Sounds nice.
bwells22 years ago
The erhu is Chinese.
thereallara3 years ago
Great job! Very inspiring.
Thanks for this! I made one based on your description, with a few changes. I used a staircase bannister for the neck, and upgraded the appearance a bit with a rosewood fingerboard and soundboard.

I have a set of two videos showing the whole process of making it, start to finish:

Part 1 (coconut preparation to finished body)
Part 2 (adding the pegs, strings etc and showing the finished instrument)

Now I just have to learn to play it. :)
himalion (author)  carriepatrick713 years ago
Beautiful work with the whole instrument! This makes me really happy. Wishing could give u a big hug at the moment.. here xoxo..

ok so for what i see would help you from the video posted are..
l. a nut and a bridge would give more volume and keep the strings at equal length so tuning is of ease
o. nylon strings do sing well after enough resin gets coated on..
v. frets, and you have a two string uke! too
e. good work. happy.

also Right, thought for a staircase banister. Have some cabinet doors, sound like wind harps..

Thanks for giving me happiness..
Scriptone3 years ago
Great instructable, love your composition with all the instruments. I wonder what would happen I used violin strings, will it have the erhu sound? I'm going to try this with a bowl!
Devrimm4 years ago
   This is the enstrument, which can give an authentic wonderull woice I've ever heard. Thank you very much. 
   Some yeears ago, I made an enstrument like that with 4 strings. This is my style !!!

   Devrim
  
himalion (author) 4 years ago
 thanks for your comments.. Update : added a mp3 of the er-hu.. Recorded and mixed with other instruments..
higherlife4 years ago
 This is exactly what I was looking for. I wish I could hear what it sounds like, though. Nice, nice work.
ambdukias665 years ago
VERY cool! reminds me a lot of a cigar box guitar and gives me some ideas on how to build my next cbg. Thanks for the great instructable.
dskw5 years ago
Any update regarding a sound or video sample? I'd really like to hear how this self made erhu sounds. :) Did you get that horse hair bow? Did it effect the sound quality?
mahendar5 years ago
They make a similar instrument in India. I don't know what they call it(has diff names in diff places). It gives out a very loud sound, because they use a tough hide instead of plywood to support the bridge. perhaps some of u cud experiment on that aspect.
This is absoloutely brilliant! I'm midway through making one of these, but i'm not sure how to play it once done? Any tips? I demand video/audio of you playing this thing!!! :D
liny5 years ago
its weird, but the Erhu doesn't have a fret board xD... nice anyway
TRL10875 years ago
Nice Instructable. I've always wanted an erhu, just didn't want to spend the money. You got my vote right there. You're aware that the erhu bow goes UNDER the string, right? Nice, still.
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