Photos of some instruments i made


     This is a take off of a Native American love flute.  It is made from poplar wood and it only has a one octave range.  For some reason i haven't been able to figure out yet, i can not get the second octave so i added a thumb hole to get the "A" above the fundamental tone.  The flute is pitched in the key of "A".  Below at the left is a shot of the sound producing area.  Notice it is longer than it is wide?  I think this is where the problem lies.  With a combination like this the lower frequencies would be best and the 2nd octave would be more difficult to achieve.  The sound of this instrument is very mellow and soft.  Below right is what the flute looks like before i glue the two halves together.  There are 5 coats of good spar varnish on the inner surfaces of the flute before they are ready for joining.  Making a Native American Flute

A smorgasbord of pipes, flutes and whistles

     Here we have a bunch of items.  The white tubular assemblies are pan flutes (or pan pipes) that i made from PVC pipe, The stuff you use for your sprinkler system.  All these PVC pan flutes are made from 1/2" PVC schedule 40 (thick wall).    The Single white tubes lying down are Quenas.  I don't know which is simpler to make, a flute or a quena, but i can make one of these babies in about a half hour.  I have three different ones here.  The thin one standing upright is 1/2" pipe and the two lying down are 3/4" pipe.  They all have their own sound.  I made the two penny whistles standing upright, using existing fipple caps. (the plastic end that makes the whistle noise)   However the one lying down in the front, above, is made from scratch.  I made the fipple for it from  wood and it works internally rather than slipping over the whistle.  The whistle itself is made from an aluminum tent pole.  The metal pan flute is made from stainless steel tubing and a fiber foam material for the body.  The two wooden pan flutes are made from bamboo i found washed up on shore at San Diego Bay.  The reddish looking little square whistle was an experiment.  A square penny whistle made from walnut wood.  The last wooden square thing is a prototype of a Native American Flute.

The Pipes of Pan , or Pan Flute

     This is a more traditional approach to making pan flutes.  This is a set i made for a dear friend in Colorado.   Before i sent them to her hi recorded a tune and sent it to her first, so she could hear what they sound like.  It takes a couple of days to make a set like this.  There are a few steps that involve hot paraffin and it takes time to heat, treat, and cool.  The natural node in the bamboo is the bottom of the tubes closed end.  However it is thin and delicate, as well as being very porous so it has to be saturated with hot paraffin.  I also seal the entire tube surface with the hot wax.  The tubes are tuned about 1/4 tone flat while they are still individual tubes and then assembled.  The final tuning requires raising the pitch of the assembled tubes by adding hot paraffin in the bottom to shorten the tube.   I used nylon twine to bind the tubes together.  This is very light and easy to play.  This particular pan flute is pitched in the key of "G"