This er-hu (Mongolian violin) was made a while a ago. At the time i did not take pictures of the process so i do not have detailed step by step instruction but none the less Its quite simple. I am bet anyone could make this in a few hours tops.
sound sample in mp3 below..
mixed in with guitars and other percussive and drone instruments..
1 - coconut ($1.75 at grocery store)
1 - broom stick or a 1 inch dowel.
2 -10 gauge guitar strings. used left overs.
1 - stick of bamboo
roll of string (used red nylon as stronger)
Small piece of left over plywood.
to stick it all together Glue. (I use sumo(brand) glue as it sets fast and bonds tight within minutes)
& other misc thing when it comes up.
total cost about 20 dollars max. Violin bow (bought the bow for 5 dollars a pawn shop).
Step 1: Coconut Sound Body.
Cut coconut in half, scoop out the coconut flesh then let dry (spoon works great)
After its dried (few minutes in the sun) we need to level it so the plywood rests on top evenly.
To achieve this glue some sandpaper on a flat surface (table) then with a circular motion sand the cut face of the coconut, till the all the edges are flat to the table. This is the most difficult step as it takes some patience. The outer husk hair also takes time to sand to a clean surface.
The photo shows a a different coconut half for an idea to work with. Also changed the neck rest on this project for better neck rest.
Step 2: Plywood Top
Placing the coconut on a plywood, trace an outline on the plywood. This gives you the shape for the top sound board. Cut the plywood with a coping saw. Once the cut is finished, drill then file a sound hole somewhere in the mid of the plywood. Not to high up as we need to glue the neck to the plywood. After so, leave it aside for the moment as we move to the neck.
Step 3: Neck
cut the broom stick (dowel) to a length you think will be right for you. Now same as the coconut try to flatten it on the sandpaper stuck to the table. You should have a half circle or a flat top dowel.
Step 4: Glueing the Erhu...
With some tight bonding wood glue, I then glued the flat portion of the neck to the plywood just over the sound hole (pic 1)
To glue the plywood top to the coconut I had to trace out the necks girth on to the coconut. Then with a file i rasped it close to the shape of the neck but went a little over trace lines but works so lets move on.
After the hole was made. I glued the plywood top to the coconut.
Step 5: String Bridge and Hold Down.
A. cut a small piece of bamboo. Drill tiny holes for the string hold and another from the top to tie the nylon string. (pic a)
B. Drill a small hole so that a guitar peg fits snug. this will hold the nylon string that hold the strings tension. (pic b)
Step 6: Tuners
The tuners were made on a lathe when a friend asked if i wanted to use his after some interest looking at bowl being shaped. Then i had no idea it would come to use as these. The second pic shows some hand carved that I've been working on. But any stick with would suffice. just drill a small hole in the middle so you can string em strong without loosening.
Drill small holes on the neck end so the tuners fit. As they are friction holders it best that you slowly do so with constant checks.
Step 7: String Nut and Fret...
to level the strung strings to the height of the sound body a small loops was made on top of the strings. This makes the nut tunable to change the pitch of the strings up and down.
I was tring to find all the frets i had made for the instrument once but think they got chucked as i felt i could make better metal ones. But the the one shown is just a chopstick cut to length then tied with a loop under the neck. Which also can be placed along the neck for tunable frets. (Sitar concept)
Step 8: Last Words
Wish i could give you a sample of the sound. I'll have to buy a decent recorder to do so as its not that loud. Also a person offered me horse hair to make a bow. Once i receive the hair. I'll get to work so check for some updates. I have a feeling the horse hair will make a better bow. Till then folks.
Green twist... this is no over unity solar engine but who needs one when you've got music.