Click the photo to hear the sound.

String-Spring Guitar

by Keith S.

The name of my instrument is the String-Spring Guitar. I got the idea for this instrument from the guitar, which was my first plan. I began with a piece of plywood from the basement. My Dad suggested that I cut the piece into the shape of a parallelogram and use both springs and strings. This instrument belongs to the string family. The springs make a sound a little like a pipe organ and the strings sound like a guitar. The strings and springs can be played together or separately.

The materials I used were one piece of plywood, three guitar strings, five springs, nails, and eye screws. My Dad bought the springs at Home Depot and the guitar strings at the music store on the corner of Lake and Ridgeland. The rest of the materials were found at home.

The first step in making the guitar was to cut the plywood to the parallelogram shape. Then we painted the board white. My Dad did most of the sawing but I also did some of the cutting myself. Then I nailed ten nails, five into each end and stretched the springs between them. Then I took three eye screws and three regular screws and attached them to the board at either end. Next I attached the guitar strings between them and tightened them. My Dad helped me tighten the strings. After the strings were on the board I painted some decoration around the edge of the instrument.

The String-Spring Guitar was not too hard to make. The biggest problem was figuring out what to make and experimenting with how it would sound before beginning.

The String-Spring Guitar can be strummed or plucked but it sounds best when you strike it with pencils like drumming. The way to change the volume is to strike the strings and springs harder or softer. To change the pitch you must look at the string or spring you hit because each one has a different length and width.

My overall reaction to this project was that it was fun. I like to build things. I was surprised at all the different sounds my String-Spring Guitar could make and my whole family enjoyed playing it. I learned that a lot of things can be made into instruments and can make real music.