Elemental Design

Musical Instruments for Playgrounds and Children's Museums

It's always a joy to sell to Children's museums and playgrounds. I love the fact that the instruments are explored and played to their full potential. I say with pride, that a few have even been worn out in the bigger children's museums. Below are some of the instruments I've made for either children's museum's or musical playgrounds. Most of them I tune pentatonicaly to concert pitch, but any tuning is possible. I can easily make instruments similar to those shown, but I also delight in custom instruments and new designs, so please share your ideas and wishes.

I'm happy to say that most of my steel instruments are made using old, recycled metals. They are likely to have blemishes of various sorts (ie.scratches, .pockmarks, etc.). Standard finish on the larger instruments is enamel paint. Powder coating is a pricier option that would give a more durable finish.
Please check out my new, dedicated Whale Drum page.

Jim Doble

Amadinda

Made from spruce "2x4s". The Amadinda has a bright clear resonant sound. It's most fun to play and sounds fullest with 2-4 players. There are no sour notes as the tuning is pentatonic. See "About Amadindas" for more background info.

Finished spruce Amadinda 12 notes (6'x3', ).....$250
Specify Interior or Exterior finish.
Extra heavy duty Stand(shown)......$135
Extra mallets (comes with 6)..... $8 / pr.

Please Specify if it's for indoor or outdoor use for finishing purposes.
For outside use it's recommended you install posts to hang the Amadinda.

 

HEAR an AMADINDA (regular mallets)

 Heavy Duty African Mahogany Amadinda

Made from sustainably harvested African Mahogany, this will last a long time in just about any outdoor environment. It has a bright, resonant tone similar to the regular Amadinda. The one pictured has attached mallets. One like this goes for $1,250
Without attached mallets, $1050
Without legs or att. mallets, $900

 

Babydinda

Made from a mix of hardwoods for visual and tonal variety and delight.
Bright , clear resonant tone. The frame, felt, and mounting hardware are all heavier duty than the regular version for extra durability. The keys are approximately 2" wide.

8 note Babydinda - $215 . Other sizes are available
Extra mallets- $15/ pair

Indoor use only

HEAR BABYDINDA
(recorded soft so crank up the volume)

 

Multidinda

The keys are each made from a variety of materials for a variety of tonal and visual texture. This one has the following materials: Slate, granite, plastic wood ("trex"), maple, oak, mahogany, aluminum, steel. The keys are 1 1/2" -2"wide.

8 Note Multidinda - $265
Extra mallets- $15/ pair
Many other sizes and combinations are possible.

Indoor use only.

HEAR MULTIDINDA

 

Boltaphone

Made from large hex-head bolts.
It can either be hung on a wall or laid flat.
The tone is surprisingly very bright, clear and resonant.
The bolts average around 10" long.

8 note Boltaphone - $165
Extra mallets- $15/ pair

Mainly for indoor use. Maybe cusomized for outside use.

HEAR BOLTAPHONE

 

Wrenchophone

Made from old wrenches of various shapes and sizes.These have a sturdier and more resonate sounding mounting system than my regular Wrenchophones and can come in a variety of sizes. The wrenches are tuned to concert pitch to the bewilderment of most people and have a surprisingly bright, clear, and resonant tone.

8 note HD Wrenchophone - $175
Extra mallets- $15/ pair
Many other sizes possible.

Mainly for indoor use. May be cusomized for outside use.

HEAR WRENCHAPHONE////PLAY VIRTUAL WRENCHAPHONE

 

Chromatic Wrenchophone

Shown is a 2 1/2 octave, chromatic version of the above.
~3' long.


2 Octave - $455
2.5 Octave - $515
3 Octave - $585
Extra mallets- $15/ pair

 

Heavy Duty and SHD Whale Drum

Very popular heavy duty versions of my Whale Drum made from old propane tanks.
The sound is deep and very resonant and "gongy".

These have become so popular, and have evolved so many options, that they now have their own Whale Drum page


30" HD Whale Drum (shown right, 10 notes, powder-coat finish)
24" HD Whale Drum (shown left, 8 notes, enamel finish)
For pricing and more options, see the Whale Drum page.

For indoor and outdoor use.

HEAR A WHALE DRUM
This recorded very softly, so you'll need to crank your computer volume way up and possibly wear headphones to do the sound justice. I'm working on a re-do

Dedicated Whale Drum page

 

Dragon Gong and Monkey Gong

These stand about 5' high (but is hung) and can be played about anywhere. There are four to six tuned "tongues " on the front. There are eyes on the dragon, but they seem to have gotten lost in the background or the photo. These are not nearly as musical as The Whale Drum above, as the tone is very "tinny" sounding.

 

Aluminum Gong

A fairly simple, but resonant gong. The "dimpled" center helps clarify the tone. Made from 3/16 -1/4" aluminum sheet.

36" Gong (pictured) - $295
30" Gong - $220
24" Gong - $145
Extra mallet- $8/ each

For indoor or outdoor use.

 Chimasaur 2 & 3
There is a wide variety of tonal possibilities on the Chimasaur! Each Chimasaur is a unique piece.

The loose bolted bars and pipes are tuned pentatonically to concert pitch. The welded on pipes, bars, gong and arches offer a wide variety of resonant sound.

The body of the instrument is made from an old Propane tank measuring 30" diameter by 45" long. The overall dimensions are around 35" wide by 50" long. All the steel parts have a powder coat finish base, with some of the welded on elements painted over with enamel for a variety of color.

With powder coat finish - $2,200
Attached mallets (left photo)- add $180
Extra mallets- $15/ pair

For indoor or outdoor use.
(Photos on side show instrument on packing crate)

 Mama Stonaphone

The keys are made from "Black Galaxy" granite, recycled from 1 1/8" thick counter top leftovers. The tops are polished with bright copper specks scattered brightly throughout. The sound is very surprisingly resonant, bright and clear.

The one pictured at left has attached mallets (played on the ends of the keys). Indoor options and loose, round headed mallets are also available.
Pictured at left is the most expensive version which goes for $1,400
With mallets not attached (shown right), $1,250
With no legs and unattached mallets, $1,050
Extra unattached mallets- $15/ pair
Approximately 36" wide by 30" long.

 

Hear Mama Stonaphone

Mongo Stonaphone  

This was made for the National Children's Museum of Jordan.
It's made from a variety of stones which were meant to be fairly rough and not tuned. The longest stone is about 42" long, the shortest about 24" long. They vary in thickness from 2"-6".
The sound is surprisingly resonant on some of the stone and more muted on others, but they all have clear pitch.
A similar instrument could be made with more uniform stone (as below), following a scale in concert pitch, and with a variety of possible bases(ie. stone, wood, metal,...).
(photo shows instrument on packing crate base)

 Tuned Mongo Stonaphone

This Lithophone has 3"x5" keys of a very dense, black metamorphic stone. It has a rougher look, bigger physical presence, and a more muted sound than the Mama Stonaphone. The base shown is of 4"x6" Cedar and measures about 36" wide x 44" long.
A Stonaphone similar to this would cost around $3200.

 

Hear the Mongo Stonaphone

 Chime Wall

The Chimes are very resonant, sweet sounding, aluminum pipe tuned to a pentatonic scale. The frame is pressure treated wood. This can be made to plant in the ground, bolt to a footing or deck, attach to a structure or wall, or be free standing.

The Chime Wall shown on the right goes for $750
With attached mallets (shown left), $800
Extra unattached mallets- $15/ pair

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Links

xylojim@tidewater.net
 
Jim Doble
Elemental Design
PO Box 565
Union, Maine 04862
USA
 
(207)785-2212