The kazoo was invented by Alabama Vest in the 1840s. According to Barbara Stewart in "The Complete How to Kazoo," it appears to be a descendant of the mirliton, an instrument used by African high priests centuries ago in sacred ceremonies designed to instil fear in the villagers. The kazoo, however, is a musical instrument. Most kazoos are made out of plastic, but crafters with woodworking skills and the right tools can make one out of wood.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Bamboo stalk
- Wood rasp
- Handsaw with fine, straight, teeth
- Piece of cling film or plastic bag, 3 inches square
- Elastic band
Select a bamboo stalk with a diameter of at least ¼ inch.
Use a handsaw to cut a piece from the bamboo that is 5.5 inches long. Cut this piece between the nodes.
Look through one end of your bamboo to make sure that it is completely hollow. If there are any obstructions, dislodge and remove them with a long, thin object, such as a knitting needle.
Mark a point on the wood that is about ¾ inch away from one end of the wood. Use a wood rasp to make a hole at this mark.
Place the square cling film over one end of the bamboo. Wrap the elastic band around the plastic to secure it to the wood. Make the plastic taut across the end of the bamboo yet loose enough to vibrate when you play it.
Tips and warnings
- Adjust the elastic band to adjust the sound of your kazoo.
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