Would you like to make your own music? Have you ever thought of getting involved in instrument making? Homemade music can be a great thing to be proud of, making instruments with your own two hands. But if you’re good with your hands, or at least can handle tools moderately well, you still need more than that. There are some mathematical tricks to knowing just how some instruments ought to be put together precisely in order to have it produce the right sounds, and correctly so. Let’s start with a simple formula for woodwinds (and some tonic, tubular type percussion instruments), such as for flute making, and then one for stringed instruments, such as if you were to make guitar types. The first one is as follows…

For woodwind instrument making, for example, flute making, it helps to know the length of a note’s wavelength (or even when making instruments of any woodwind type) in order to make your own music with precise tuning. If you take the distance sound travels per second, 13526.5 inches (divide by 2.54 for centimeters), and divide this number by the frequency of the note, you will have the linear measurement of that note’s wavelength. For example, the frequency of the note “A” is 440 Hertz. This would give a wavelength about 30 ¾ inches long. The body of an open ended flute, such as a side-blown transverse flute, is a half-wavelength long. Using this formula, you can also find the placements of the fingering holes according to their notes, and then begin to make your own music. This can also work with some tubular percussion instruments, such as a set of chromatic drums, which is another fun project of homemade music.

For stringed instrument making, if you were to make guitar type instruments, there is a mathematical formula for finding the precise placements of the frets along the neck of the instrument. This is known as the “18 rule”. Actually, the exact number is 17.8167942, and this is the main number used in calculating where frets are placed. Here’s where the homemade music fun starts; measure the distance from the nut (a.k.a. “zero fret”) by the head stock of your instrument, to the bridge on the face of the body. Take that measurement and divide by 17.8167942 – this will give you the distance between the nut and the first fret. Now measure from that first fret to the bridge, and divide that by 17.8167942, giving you the distance between the first fret and the next, and repeat until all fret placements have been found. These and other mathematical formulas are what’s needed to make your own music – remember these, and instrument making can be a breeze!