How To Make Guitar From Plastic Bottle

Today I am showing you how to make a single string guitar using only a plastic bottle, a piece of pipe and a string. You'll be surprised how many songs can be played on such a simple instrument.

How To Make Bottle Guitar

You don't need any tools to build this guitar, but you will need to learn how to tie several knots. This may be a challenge for some of you but I've chosen to use knots that are some of the most useful in the world, not only for building guitars, but for any project that involves rope. Learn to build this guitar and it will pay off next time you have to tie down your furniture in a move or hang a tarp over a campsite.

These are the parts needed to build this guitar, a two liter bottle, a piece of pipe or wooden dowel that fits inside the bottle and is three feet or 90 centimeters long, and a piece of string about three times longer than the pipe to hold the string and groove is filed into the end of the pipe. This can be done without tools by using a sharp corner on a stone or cement stairs. And with that one insurmountable task completed the bonding of this guitar is finished. All we have to do is string it up. This requires learning two or maybe three different knots depending on what version of this guitar you would like to make. First I loop the string around the bottom of the bottle and tie a knot that will rest about halfway up the side.

I'm using a knot called a line or bolon not. To tie this knot, take the end of the string and hold it between two fingers with your palm facing down. Then wrap your fingers over the other side of the string so that you formed a loop with your fingers in the center and your palm now facing upwards. The end of the string that was between your fingers now passes under the other side of the string and back through the loop. tighten this up and now you know how to tie a bow line. Don't be discouraged if you have to watch this part over and over again before you figure it out.

This is how the front of the instrument should look if the string has been tied correctly with the knot resting just about halfway up the bottle. Now we get to the clever part. Instead of using a normal guitar tuner, the string loops over and around to the back of the neck all the way down to the bottle and back upward where it's held with a sliding not called a taut line Hitch. This allows us to tension the string without any extra parts.

Again, I'll show how this knot is tied using a larger rope, so it's easier to see the free end of the line is looped once, twice, then back over itself underneath the other side of the line to create another loop and then back through the middle. It may take some practice but you should end up with a knot that looks like this. When tension is applied to this knot, it doesn't slip, but we can move it by grabbing onto the knot itself and sliding it along the rope. This allows us to stretch and tighten the line. Hence this knots name the taut line hitch. by tying this knot on the back of our guitar, we can grab onto it and pull the string tight. This gives us a way to tune the guitar with no extra parts. It works surprisingly well. With the string now under tension, we can slip the lid of the bottle under the Boland knot in front, which will act as the guitar as a bridge. Sometimes it sounds better if the calf is flipped upside down.

And the guitar is finished, it can sound a little rough at first, but once you figure out how the bottle cap should be placed to get the best resonance, it sounds pretty good.

Now because I'm using a fairly thick string, this sounds more like a bass guitar than a regular acoustic guitar. To make a brighter sounding instrument, you need a lighter string like this one which uses a nylon kite string.

To make a guitar with a smaller string like this requires an extra step. Because the taut line hitch that is used to tune the guitar doesn't work properly with a string this thin, so we tie the bowline knot with the kite string as usual on the front of the guitar.

On the back, we use a different string, a thicker one to tie the taut line hitch. The extra step is that we need to tie these two strings together. We do this with a third not called a double sheet bend, which works particularly well to join two different sized strings together. The first step is to bend the thicker string backwards like so. Then the thinner string is poked through the loop we've created and wrapped around it twice.

We then pull a little bit of extra slack in the small string so that a new loop opens up and we can poke the end through. So when everything is pulled tight, the two strings are locked together.

Now we can have a little string on the front of the guitar to make a bright guitar sound, but a thick string in the back which makes tuning the guitar much easier. Before I dig into some other ways these guitars can be modified.

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So now we have two versions of this guitar that are completed and there are several more modifications that are possible. The first is to add frets which allows you to play notes without remembering the exact finger position on the neck.

This is very easy to do with zip ties, which can be slid up and down the neck to find positions where they make a correct note. Another improvement to this design is to lower the string height also known as the action of the guitar. This is done by bending the neck. This does require one tool, a heat gun to warm up the pipe just past the mouth of the bottle. You can do this with the string in place if you're careful to keep it out of the heat. When the pipe is hot enough, it can be bent outward, so the string is closer to it over its whole length. It's also possible to make much smaller instruments like this one based on a one liter bottle. This is more similar perhaps to a plucked violin.

I've just come up with this design in the past few weeks. So I'm sure there are many other ways to modify it to work with other materials.