the wack-a-phone is a plosive aerophone; striking the open ends of the plastic pipes produces a "boing" as the air resonates in the tube. though the playing style and sound are percussive, the physics of the instrument means it is actually closely related to the flute.

these sort plosive aerophones are found in traditional polynesian cultures, usually built of bamboo, and often played with "flip-flop" sandals. a similar instrument is the stamping tube: a length of bamboo closed one end, pounded on the ground to create a pitched bass beat. in recent times, the performance artists "the blue man group" have built a number of fantastic variations of these instruments from plastic tubing.

this wack-a-phone is built from ABS tubing. note that there are really just four tubes; the four level ones are connected to back tubes by a "U" connection under the instrument. this provides a level playing surface, while allowing the rear tubes to be swapped out for different lengths (and thus different pitches).

the stand is built from pine, and resembles a small bookshelf with eight holes in the shelves to hold the pipes. solid construction and soft felt lining in the holes help prevent rattles, since the instrument tends to take a heavy beating.

the pipes here range from a low A to the A below middle C. flex in the couplings and changes in air temperature mean the tuning can vary slightly; small pieces of scrap tubing can be used to tweak the pitch if necessary.

i hope to build several more wack-a-phone stands, to give access to more notes at once. the wack-a-phone teams with the flowerpotophone and the gong tree as part of my bangalon orchestra.

wackaloop mp3

samples, loops, and Reason/Mach5 banks coming soon...