Materials
Required –

  • One x 2 litre
    Coke bottle per note –
    Wash the bottle and leave it upside down to drain and
    dry overnight
  • One tyre (tire)
    valve per note
    – ask at your local tyre repair shop
  • Bicycle
    pump
    – to fit the tyre valve of course

Tools

  • Drill &
    drill bit
    (10-12mm or 3/8″- 1/2″)
  • Silicone
    sealant or similar.

Method

  • Make a hole in the
    bottle cap that is 2mm smaller than the bottom of the tyre valve. This is to
    enable the valve to squeeze tightly into position.
  • Push the valve
    through the cap from the inside until it is jammed in the hole. The tighter the
    better as this gives the best air seal
  • Squeeze the
    silicone sealant into the back of the cap until it reaches about 5mm or 1/4″
    deep. Be careful not to get any into the airway.
  • Turn the cap
    upside down, gently lower the bottle into it and slowly screw the cap on – watch
    out for sealant entering the airway.

    • It’s best to put a
      little pressure in the bottle as the silicone dries
  • I’d not play them
    too hard until the day after and even then…

Tuning the
bottles

  • Attach the air
    pump and pump once. It is surprising how little air it takes to increase its
    musical note significantly
  • Raise the note
    until it is above where you want it to be
  • release air from
    the valve to lower the note to the desired pitch

Playing the
bottles

  • Normally the
    bottles are struck against the opposite hand, against the body, against each
    other (produces a chord) or against whatever won’t damage them.
  • You will find that
    there are different places to strike the bottles, any of its lower rounded
    surface are good but the lower base itself is too stiff.
  • They can be
    mounted in a frame and played like a percussion keyboard – I’ve seen Evelyn Glennie do this
  • There are infinite
    ways to play them but imagine sword fights, juggling routines….

Extras

They can be made
without the sealant but they are often leaky and hard to keep in tune