†† Photos of actual PVC instruments made by Blue Man fans
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These instruments were constructed by pvcman.
Words from pvcman:
This is my 2nd instrument. It is 3 octave
Here is an in-process pic of my current
build. Only the middle octave and
†† Variations on the PVC tube array
These are extremely big versions of the tube array, using up to 6-inch PVC piping.† The notes are made with drumsticks on a cardboard-like material instead of paddles.
†† Backpack tubulums
Another take on the tube array, the backpack tubulums also use long lengths of piping.† The older ones used rigid and extremely wide tubing, and the newer ones use thinner flexible pipes.† They can either use paddles or drumstick hits.† In the Blue Man Group song Rods and Cones, two of the backpack tubulums use drumsticks, and the third uses paddles.
And oh yeah, needless to say, these tubulums are backpack-mounted.
The drumbone is a single tube that has two slides on it.† By moving these slides up and down, players can make the drumbone span a gamut of notes.†
Some have heralded the drumbone as the easiest instrument to make because it consists of only one tube.† However, materials used in building it are somewhat difficult to acquire, and the lengths (if one wishes to do it right) are somewhat of a hassle to calculate.
The simplest way to make one is to find two PVC
pipes that fit into each
other, and a bit of cardboard to roll up and put in the end of one tube.
Then just find your tuning points and go nuts.
If you want to make it look real nice, go to a carpet store and ask for some
of their leftover carpet-roll tubes; hopefully they'll give them to you.
Then find a PVC pipe that fits around it. I'd suggest that you make two
such slides. Then assemble it with a few pipe elbows. You may wish to
paint the cardboard tubes white. If you do that you might want to oil them
too so they slide better (but don't get mad at me if it makes the cardboard
soggy). Acetone works well to remove that pesky lettering on the PVC. As
for the hitting surface, you can try the following:
-The carpet-roll tube
-A rolled up tagboard or corrugated cardboard
-Really thin wood that you soaked in hot water and bent into a circle shape
-Just about anything else that can be tube-shaped
†† Capped tubes (originally presented by ROLAND)
Supposedly placing a cap on the end of a tube halves the frequency of a resonating pipe and allows it to produce a richer, more resonating sound.† On the Blue Man Group forum, ROLAND asserts that this method can be used to reduce the length of the pipes, allowing more bass notes with half the tubing.† Possible uses of this method include lighter backpack tubulums and more compact instruments.
†† How much will it cost?
The piping wonít cost a whole lot, since itís about $4 per ten-foot length.† Our instrument used 6 of these, totaling $24.† What really gets you are the pipe elbows and couplings.† Sure, they donít cost much individually, but when you buy a lot they add up.† Our first purchase totaled about $50 (it included 60 feet of pipe, 15 elbows, 15 couplings, and two 1x4x6Ē boards).
This guide is Copyright © 2001 Nathan True; All Rights Reserved.
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