DIY Music Box Pickup




Introduction: DIY Music Box Pickup

Have you written an awesome song on your DIY music box?
Do you want to digitize and cherish it forever?

I have made a pickup to the DIY music box by ThinkGeek, so that it can be plugged into any computer to record your composition.

Step 1: Get Your Block

To enhance and provide a base for my pickup, I used a large wooden block.
I chose wood because wood is a very good acoustic medium.
Just place your music box on a wood table, and you will hear the sound amplify and come from the table, not just the music box

I'm not sure what kind of wood this is, i tried a couple and this seemed best. Experiment with what you have.

Step 2: Get Your Parts, Make a Circuit

To make my pickup, i used a mono 3.5 mm jack and an electret mic element. That is all i need for my sound card, but that might not be the same for you. Build some of the included circuits on a proto-board and try them out.

For those of you that are very ambitious, try making the stereo circuit. Just drill 2 holes insted of one, as described in the next step.

Circuits courtesy of

Step 3: Drill Your Hole

Drill a single hole in the side of your block. If you want to try stereo, drill 2.

Find a bit that is the right size for your mic. Be careful, you can never drill smaller again!

Step 4: Carve Out a Square

I used a chisel to carve out the square for my music box. It just so happens that a knot came away in the shape of the crank. Good luck?

Make sure it's snug, but not tight. A good connection will transmit sound better. It will become tight when the paint is added.

FYI the block should be about 1.75 X 1.75 inches, but measure yours.

Step 5: Solder It Up

Now to solder your electronics together. Mine was simple to do, i exposed the lead on my jack and soldered it to the mic. If you need one of the more complex circuits, just follow what you did.

The mic should slide in nicely.

Step 6: Give It Some Paint, and You're Done

I taped over the mic on the side. You can glue over if you want.
I sprayed it with 3 coats of black paint, feel free to be creative.

Now pop your DIY Music Box in, plug in your pickup, and you're ready to record.
Add distortion, make a concerto, who am I to judge?

P.S. if you're looking for some editing software, try Goldwave or Audacity, both are free/have full function trials.

Have Fun!

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    7 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    could have used a piezo element


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I am not shure is it very wise soundwise to use electret microphone as contanct mic. Would it be better to use real contact microphones? They are not even more expensive. Well... Might sound better with ofcouse, but I boubt it. You should try that too.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i agree. electrets will work ok, but a piezo or something would be better. and if the purpose is just to plug in to a computer to record compositions, then using the woodblock as a resonator is unnecessary - you might as well just stick the electret mic to a straw with plasticine, jam the straw into a base made of plasticine, and hit record. the woodblock resonator idea might be useful if you wanted to use your music box live alongside loud instruments (although it'd probably be better to sample the notes and play back from a keyboard, which is less likely to break and ruin your set)... also, with a solid lump of wood you're bound to lose a lot of high frequency detail. all the same though, nice idea. set me thinking anyways...


    11 years ago on Step 1

    Looks like a plain old spruce 2x4 to me!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    The title is slightly misleading as well. It should be more like, "DIY Music Box Pickup".