Introduction: Electric Kazoo
How to make an easy electric kazoo! I've tried several different ways to electrify a kazoo, all with mixed results, as the hardware inside the kazoo can dampen the sound or narrow the range in which the kazoo will 'buzz'. This method, I've found, results in a very dynamic, responsive noisemaker that all of your friends and neighbors will never get sick of!
Check out all of my circuit bent instruments and homemade electronic noisemakers at okhousecat.com
Step 1: Materials
-8" jumbo kazoo
-1/8" female jack
-35mm piezo disk
Step 2: Prepare to Paint
I try to do all of my drilling before painting so that I don't risk scratching things up once the paint dries. Drill a hole in the bottom of the kazoo for the 1/8" jack. Make sure the hole isn't so far into the kazoo that it will be hard to get jack seated properly. Put painter's tape over the round top and inside to protect the wax paper when spray painting/dipping into water. It's not a big deal if the wax paper gets wet- in fact, I've found that once it dries it will become a little more brittle, which makes the kazoo more responsive. A tear in the wax paper, however, spells the death of your kazoo.
Step 3: First Coat of Paint
I used black spray paint with a hammered finish for the first coat.
Step 4: Hydro Dipping the Second Coat of Paint
Hydro dipping the kazoo will give it a cool 'marbled' look. I first added a couple strips of painters tape so that I'd have stripes of the black undercoat. I then put some hot glue on the end of a dowel, then fed it through the kazoo so it can hang while dipping (no fingerprints!). I filled a bucket up with water, enough to dip the entire kazoo, then sprayed some red enamel spray paint on top of the water. I then stirred the paint a bit, dipped the kazoo, and voila!
Step 5: Prepare the Piezo
Carefully cut off some of the outer part of the piezo. Leave a small tab on one side, bent upwards at a 90 degree angle from the disc, to which you'll attach the ground wire. Cut until the piezo fits easily into the top of the kazoo. Don't worry about rounding out all of the edges, you want some air to be able to escape around the piezo.
Step 6: Attach Wires
Solder one wire to the 'tab' you left bent upwards on the edge of the disc. Solder another to the middle of the disc. I've found it's easiest to put a generous amount of solder on both points, then carefully melt the solder and put the wires in place.
Step 7: Prepare the Plastic Cap
Drill some holes in the cap for the top of the kazoo. Air will need to escape from the top in order for the kazoo to 'buzz'. We'll also feed the wires from the piezo through these holes, down through the kazoo, to the jack.
Step 8: Attach Piezo and Cap
Put some hot glue where the wires meet the piezo to secure the connection. Then use a small amount of hot glue to keep the piezo in place inside the kazoo. Feed the wires through the plastic cap and down into the kazoo. Attach the cap with super glue.
Step 9: Install the Jack
With the wires fed through the kazoo, solder the wire from the 'tab' on the edge of the piezo to the ground (sleeve) tab on the jack. Solder the wire from the center of the piezo to the signal (tip) tab on the jack. With tweezers, put the jack into place in the hole drilled earlier.
Step 10: Secure the Jack
Put some hot glue in the kazoo to keep the jack in place. If there aren't enough threads on the jack to reach the nut to secure it in place (sometimes the plastic at the bottom can be thick), use a small amount of super glue around the edges, being careful not to get any in the jack.
Step 11: Play!
Use an 1/8" audio cable to plug your new electric kazoo into an amplifier (or through effects!) and amaze your friends and neighbors!