September 22, 2023

Top Ten Weird Instruments

Friday’s top ten lists are usually centred around musicians. Weird musicians, dead musicians, musicians doing things out of character, stuff like that. But today we’re looking at the instruments musicians play. Some musicians.  A few musicians. Instruments that someone came up with… for some reason… lost to the mists of time. Look, some of these were obviously created by crazy people. Today we look at the Top Ten Weird Instruments.

10) Singing Ringing Tree

This is more of a sculpture then an instrument. Standing three meters tall, the sculpture provides a soundtrack to accompany the view from wind blowing through it.

9) Lego Harpsichord


Ever wanted the sounds of a Harpsicord but made easily breakable and when you step on it it will be more painful then a thousand knives stabbing you the foot? Then the Lego Harpsichord is for you.

8) A Road That Is Perfect For The Lone Ranger

Honda built a road that uses rumblestrips to play the William Tell Overture. I think that’s an instrument…

7) Kalashnikov Guitar

To match feature COLOMBIA ARMS

A guitar made from the world’s most reliable machine gun. I wonder if I dragged it through the mud, ran it over with a tank, stomped on it and then cleaned it up, if the guitar would still play and be in tune?

6) Wheelharp

So… this is… different. The idea is that it’s 61 bowed strings can sound like an orchestra. There’s two different models too.

5) Theremin

This instrument is played by moving your hands around between two antennas. It can make some really interesting sounds and it’s actually quite difficult to play. I have a friend who can play one and play actual songs and notes. He then let me try and all I was able to do is make noises akin to R2-D2 having bad gas. Which makes me wonder, why you would come up with this in the first place? Who says to themselves “I like making spooky music but I wish I could do it by making hand gestures”? … well Leon Theremin I guess but who else?

4) Stylophone

A synthesizer that uses a stylus to close a circuit to make a tone. Does using the stylus mean that this instrument was a head of it’s time? Is is it just odd?

3) Gameleste

Bjork is a very interesting artist and when she demands an instrument that’s a combination of a gamelan and a celesta, she has one built , damn it!

2) Bellowphone

This is what happens when plumbing, boredom, musical aspirations and a jug of wine come together.

1) The Cat Piano

Cat Piano

The Katzenklaiver is pretty much what you think a cat piano would be. A horrible abomination of musical animal abuse. Essentially it’s a long box filled with cats (of different meowing octaves). When you hit a key, a NAIL hits the cat, the cat yowls and in theory you can play a song… a song for people who are going to Hell! One was never built due to common sense.











Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a freelance writer with a gift for the geek. Currently a writer with A Journal Of Musical Things and a podcaster with True North Nerds, he's also written for Comic Book Daily, Explore Music and a dozen other places. Currently, he is the co-host of the True North Nerds podcast. You can find out more at

Brent Chittenden has 195 posts and counting. See all posts by Brent Chittenden

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