Introduction: Glove-a-Trombone!

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Whether you miss the sound of a flock of geese in the morning, a foghorn at night, an ensemble of car horns at daybreak, the Glove-a-Trombone can take care of all your audio needs. With an adjustable pitch, the glove-a-trombone is a great instrument to introduce people to pitch, frequency, wavelengths, and of course, a giant honking horn.

This was inspired by RAFT's Glove-a-Phone, which we have made so many times with kids, and always been fascinated by the effects of length and diameter of tube on pitch. And now for the cost of $0.10, you can send kids on the track to be the next Wycliffe Gordon.

  • What: Glove-a-Trombone!
  • Cost: $0.10 or less
  • Concepts: sound, length, wavelength, pitch, frequency
  • Materials:
    • Cardboard tube
    • Nitrile Glove (disposable kind, can find at Walgreens, CVS)
    • Big straw
    • Duct Tape
  • Tools:
    • Saw (or just hefty scissors for cutting tube in half)
    • Scissors

Let's get tooting!

Step 1: Cute Your Tube in Two

Nothing fancy here! Cut that tube in two. Close to in half is nice, but it doesn't have to be perfect.

Step 2: Expand One of the Halves to Slide Over the Other

Cut down the seam of one hot-dog style, and expand it to fit around the other. Lay on a piece of duct tape over the seam, but only press it on the outer shell. We want the tape to block air, but still be able to slide.

Some like to rub sawdust on the other side of the tape where it's exposed to remove stickiness for easier trombone action.

(We also taped up the end of the tube on ours just because it had a few holes from a cap)

Step 3: Slap on a Glove

Pull the glove over the end of the inner tube, and duct tape it all around so no air can sneak out the sides.

Step 4: Insert the Straw

Cut the tip off the middle finger of the glove. If you're doing this with kids, this is usually where you get a comical amount of glove empathy. Insert the straw part way and duct tape so no air can get out the sides, and you're good to go!

Step 5: Play Like a Bandit!

Time to get saucy! Play that funky trombone, and be the talk of the town (noise complaints mostly).

The big thing is to pull the glove so that it is taut along the bottom of the tube. In a neat way, your breath fills up the glove with air, and once that pressure becomes great enough, the glove's elastic expands a little to let air through. You can get great wobble tones by wiggling the tube.

By lengthening or shortening the tube, you will get different sounds entirely, as the wavelengths of resonating tubes inside the tube are directly related to the tube's length.

A great write-up of the physics behind all this can be found here.


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    7 years ago

    It's the glove pipes. Fun idea.