A Homemade DIY Bass Recorder for About $20




Introduction: A Homemade DIY Bass Recorder for About $20

This Instructable is a smaller version of another of my Instructables, "A Homemade DIY Great Bass (ie Viola-Range) Recorder for $30-40" (https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Great-Bass...). If you are interested in pursuing the current Bass project, please first read through the other Great Bass Instructable carefully.

Pitched a perfect fourth above the great bass, the bass recorder has a range starting at the F below middle C (that is, roughly violin range). Because only one hole is out of reach, it has the advantage of requiring only one mechanical key, which greatly simplifies the construction of the instrument.


  • 1.5" nominal Schedule 40 PVC pipe (e.g. from Home Depot for $5 per 10' length) x 3'
  • Two 3D-printed parts (for fipple and key mechanism); see https://www.shapeways.com/designer/ssngai . Acquire only two parts, as depicted above:
    • Farkey and
    • Fluebasev3-plusmp-nogreen (Standard mouth) or Fluebasev5 (Narrow mouth version). The narrow mouth gives a more mellow sound, as demonstrated in the video. The standard mouth gives a more bright sound.
  • 2mm craft foam (for key pad)
  • 3/16" diameter wood dowel (from Home Depot) x 5"
  • Size 16 standard rubber bands (a very common size) x 1
  • Tacky glue (e.g. Aleene's Original Tacky Glue)
  • Hot glue


  • Free online electronic tuner (http://www.seventhstring.com/tuner/tuner.html)
  • 3/8" drill bit (I use an Irwin Speedbor spade bit intended for wood--yes, wood.)
  • 1/4" drill bit (mine was not a spade-type; I used the point of a spade to start the hole.)
  • Small round file (for insides of holes)
  • Flat file (for surfaces)
  • Tape measure
  • Calipers (optional)
  • Masking tape
  • Hacksaw

There are actually two sub-versions of this project. One uses 1.5" PVC pipe, and one uses 1.25" PVC pipe. The narrower PVC pipe has slightly better upper range, but I'm not going to publish it quite yet. If you are very interested, feel free to contact me on YouTube.

For the 1.5" PVC version, here are the simplifications from the first project:

Step 1:

  • The tube length should be 34.75" for the narrow mouth version.
    • The standard mouth version should be a fraction of an inch longer. Start long and cut short until you hit the target frequency below.
  • The target frequency is 174.61 Hz.

Step 2:

Measuring up from the foot of the instrument, drill the following holes. As for circumferential position, unless specified, place the holes somewhere near the centerline of your instrument as suits your fingers:

  • 216 mm: 3/8 in, 90°right of centerline
  • 370 mm: 1/4 in
  • 380 mm: 3/8 in
  • 413 mm: 3/8 in
  • 565 mm: 1/4 in
  • 575 mm: 3/8 in
  • 640 mm: 3/8 in

(Since my first Instructable, I have refined my mathematical work to the point that estimation is no longer necessary in the fine-tuning of holes.)

Step 3: Skip!

Step 4:Skip!

Step 5: Prepare only Key 5.

Step 6: Mount only Key 5.

Step 7:

Fingerings are as follows (where F = 1):

  • x x x x x x x = 1
  • x x x x x x o = 2
  • x x x x x o x = 2#
  • x x x x x o o = 3
  • x x x x o x o = 4
  • x x x o x o o = 4#
  • x x x o o o o = 5
  • x x o x o o o = 5#
  • x x o o o o o = 6
  • x o x o o o o = 6#
  • x o o o o o o = 7
  • o x o o o o o = 1'
  • o o o o o o o = 1#'
  • o x x x x x o = 2
  • o x x x x o o = 2#'
  • o x x x o o o = 3'

Above this point the instrument is hard to play. If you are interested to know the mathematics behind the second octave, contact me on YouTube and I'll explain. There are a few other higher fingerings, including the following:

  • x/* x x x x x x = 5' (*=intentional slight leak)
  • x/* x o o o o o = 6'

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    3 years ago