Using Old Drum Cymbals to Play Music From the Rain

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About: I like making things out of items that would have otherwise been discarded. Check out my other projects!

I found a set of cymbals at the thrift store for $10.  Hmmm... Let's see... we could attach them to a doorbell hammer... That would be fun the first two or three times someone rang the bell.  I decided to let the rain dripping off my roof to play a tune on them.

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

All you need are:
  • A few cymbals
  • Threaded rod
  • Nuts and washers
  • Wrenches
  • Bolt cutters
For each cymbal you will want to have a length of threaded rod (cutting with bolt cutters is quick but sloppy on the threads), two washers, and two nuts - perhaps one of those two as a nylock nut.

Step 2: Put It Together

This isn't rocket science.  It isn't even model rocket science.  Just put a nut on the threaded rod, a washer, the cymbal, another washer and the final nut.  I'm embarrassed that you even made me type that all out.  Sheesh.

Step 3: Stick It in the Ground

Now jab the threaded rod into the earth where thick drops of rain are likely to drop.  If you don't have roof gutters this works great.



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    25 Discussions

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    zieakajleece

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Not at all. For the most part I'm not outside hanging out much when It is raining. And you can't really hear them inside. So it's just a nice sound when I come or go in the rain. I think much more soothing than many windchimes!

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    thefunkychief

    9 years ago on Step 2

    hey man :) amazing idea :) you could try putting the cymballs at angles or loose the nut a little bit to make the sound a more clean sound :) just an idea deffo gonna do this at home :) xx

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    quadracerkissiltur

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Possibly because there are no felts? It is metal on metal contact. Great idea, I wanted to make some sort of drumming wind chime with my extra what nots.

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    ANDY!

    9 years ago on Introduction

     That's sorta like hyped out wind chimes!

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    schnitzle

    9 years ago on Step 3

    What a great idea for re-purposing cymbals! Nice job :)

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    onrust

    9 years ago on Step 3

    WOW......I just got a total south east AK flash back...........Man, I love Arizona!

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    suezq

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice, and sounds way better than garbage can lids! Now on top of all the other odds and ends I need to watch for when thrift store shopping, I have to look for cymbals too ;)

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    hintzhamlet

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Kissiltur, don't wonder, it IS rather Japanese.  I lived there for 6 years and I have seen Shrines and Temples that have copper bells (looks like "school bell type, but no clappers) integrated into the chains used instead of downspouts.  Since it rains frequently  in Japan it really creates a bright spot in an otherwise dreary day. 

    I love the copper ones, they turn green with the oxidation, looks great with foliage!

    I tried to buy them in Japan for use in my home, but they were cost prohibitive!! Even in the US they are $50+ each for steel or brass, not copper!

    Further research in instructables showed me rain chain at roof gutter.  Look at rain chains world .com for ideas.

    With they cymbals, don't forget to leave a little room for the vibrations to occur = don't clamp down the nuts, it'll stop the vibration and the sustained sounds that cymbals are known for.  Maybe put it in the rain, not at the downspout.  Subtle and surprising are quite beautiful.  And the neighbors won't complain about it.

    4 replies
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    8bitzieak

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    let us know too! i'm excited to hear what they will sound like! 

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    zieak8bit

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I actually didn't notice any difference in the tone.  It could be because the "strike" is relatively soft.

    I was considering mounting one upside down on a semi-rigid spring.  it would fill with water slowly - changing the sound of the drips - and then eventually tip, dumping the water and resuming the cycle.

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    joemonkeyzieak

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    sounds like a very cool idea!!! do it!

    to bad for me the Texas panhandle is bone dry :(

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    zieakBartboy

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I swear that the little thrift store in my town is the best one I have ever been in.