This is the first of an evolving series of tootophones that I have made. I leave it up for historical interest, but suggest you try the "Tiny Tootophone" for the basic mouthpiece, and the "Tootophone Sax and Trumpet" for some interesting body variations using x-ray film. This PVC design is not even in my "top ten" list any more. My latest tootophones have only one fingering hole.
The body of this tootophone is made of 1/2" CPVC pipe, which is used for hot water plumbing and is of a smaller diameter than 1/2" PVC pipe.
The tootophone is similar to a soprano recorder in terms of size and finger spacing. The mouthpiece is heat formed to make it a little narrower than the CPVC pipe.
The reed is cut from a piece of plastic from an old flat screen monitor I disassembled. Just about any semi-stiff, clear packaging plastic will work to make a reed that vibrates.
I have always liked the idea of playing saxophone, but found the bamboo reeds to be frustrating to get sounds out of. For some reason, these plastic reeds are a lot easier to blow. Being less frustrating to blow, the tootophone is more fun to play, at least for a beginner. Being more fun to play, I play more, and that's what it's all about. Tootophones are fun to play.
Figure maybe a dollar in material and many hours playing around. This is very cost effective entertainment.
Be sure to check out the audio files at the end, to hear what the tootophone sounds like.
Step 1: Finger hole spacing
The distances between holes are copied from a soprano recorder. The holes are not all placed on the center line down the pipe. Since some fingers are longer than others, the holes have a little sideways displacement to increase comfort while playing. When penciling hole locations, hold the pipe as you would while playing it to find and mark a comfortable side displacement for each finger hole.
There are seven finger holes and one hole for the thumb on the opposite side of the body -- the same as on a recorder.
On a recorder, double holes at #6 and #7 help get half tones. I elongate my holes and just half-close them when needed.