Strange and Unusual Musical Instruments


Almost every famous musician played the piano, violin, guitar, or drums. But aside from these “mainstream” instruments, there are strange, unusual musical instruments that have been used over time. Some are even bigger than you can imagine. So take a seat and relax because we are here to give you a list of some truly unique and strange musical instruments.

1. Hydraulophone


Named by Steve Mann in 2005 and patented in 2011, the Hydraulophone is basically an acoustic instrument that is played with the help of water and sometimes other kinds of fluids to generate sound. This instrument produce sound when the player’s finger comes into contact with the hydraulic fluid. Over the years, the Hydraulophone has been used as a sensory exploration device for people who have limited vision.

2. The Chapman Stick


Invented by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970’s, this electric musical instrument has ten or twelve individually tuned strings that can be used to play bass lines, chords, textures and even melody lines. Because it is designed to be a polyphonic chordal instrument, the Chapman stick can also be used to play bass lines, chords, and melody lines simultaneously.

3. 12 Neck Guitar

Made by Japanese artist Yoshiko Satoh, this 12 neck guitar are by far his most impressive work. His style is to take mass-produced items and multiply them into something awesome. He also had arts that involve exaggerated toy trucks, irons and even mopeds.

4. The Vegetable Orchestra


This one of a kind group named Vegetable Orchestra performs music using different kinds of fresh vegetables like carrots, radishes, potatoes, squash, name it and they can turn a vegetable into a musical instrument. The sound they create is both musically and aesthetically unique.

5. The Great Stalacpipe Organ


Located in Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA. This organ is an electrically actuated lithophone operated by a custom console that can produce sound by tapping the different sized ancient stalactites that has solenoid-actuated rubbers. The Great Stalacpipe Organ was designed and made by Lelan W. Sprinkle in the span of three years inside the Luray Caverns.

6. Symphonic House

This 6,200 square foot house costs 2.4 million dollars because it is made of concrete and wood structures that has Scandinavian and Japanese touches. This house can emphasize natural sounds because its windows can be adjusted to let in the wind and be a huge “House Harp”.

7. Zeusaphone

Also called as the Thoramin, this instrument is a form of plasma speaker. It is another version of a Tesla coil that was modified to be a musical instrument by modulating its spark input. The Zeusaphone can produce low fidelity wave that sounds like an analog synthesizer.

8. Cello Horn

Its name can speak for itself. The Cello Horn is a hybrid musical instrument, it is a mixture of a brass horn with strings. It creates sound by bowing the strings and the sounds will come out of the brass horns.

9. Wired Fence

Created by Australian musician Jon Rose who is a “fencologist”. He played music on different types of fences such as barbed wires and army fences worldwide. He played in the old 1967 Syria and Israel boarder and in the Strzelecki Desert. He has been playing the fence with a bow in the past 30 years.

10. The Singing Tree


Located in Pennine Hill range in England, the Singing Tree is a wind powered sculpture that can produce sounds. Completed in 2006, this sculpture that resembles a tree is part of a series of four sculpture at the Panopticons. It is also part of the regeneration project that was started by East Lancanshire Environmental Arts Network. This tree can create choral sounds with its several range of octaves.

11. Janko Keyboard


Designed by Paul Von Janko in 1882 to overcome two limitations on the traditional piano, the Janko keyboard has 264 keys. Regardless of what pitch and key, each chord, scale and interval can be played with the same fingering because of its consistent shape.

12. Organ Pipe Made of Ice

Built in 2004 by American ice sculptor Tim Linhart, this pipe organ is made entirely of ice and is located at the largest Ice Hotel in the world. Linhart stated that while he was working as an ice sculptor at Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel, he got the idea that the hotel is the perfect place with a perfect condition to be a home for this extra ordinary instrument.

13. Uncello

Created by Dennis Bathory Kitsz, the Uncello is made out of maple wood, harpsichord pegs, cello strings and wait for it, a fish bowl. Dennis Bathory Kitsz is one imaginative man, who knew a fish bowl can be an instrument, right?

14. Pikasso Guitar

In 1984, an artist named Pat Metheny requested for a guitar that had as many strings as possible and Linda Manzer did not fail him. She came up with the Pikasso, a guitar that had a total of 42 strings that is arranged in four sections, two sound holes and four necks. The Pikasso Guitar also has a unique body shape.

15. The Serpent

Considered to be a distant ancestor of the tuba, the Serpent is also a bass wind instrument that has a mouthpiece just like a tuba but side holes like a flute. It has a long bended snake like cone that’s why it’s called the Serpent.

16. Handpan

Handpans have a unique sounds that is almost ethereal and is great for meditating and doing activities when serene background music is needed.

These are the strange musical instruments that that we found. If given the chance, which one of them would you like to try?

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