A Bendable String Instrument-the Berimbao
Some string instruments are meant to be bent. An instrument such as the Japanese koto has a string attached to a hollow body called a resonator. A piece of wood (called a moveable bridge) holds the string up in the air. If you push down on one side of the string and play the other side, you can change the sound. The harder you push on the one side, the tighter the other side gets, and the higher the pitch goes.

Here is how to build a bendable string based on a Brazilian instrument called the berimbao.
You will need:

  • A wooden broom or mop stick
  • Some string - nylon twine, 40-60 Lb. test fishing line or some kite string will work fine
  • An empty plastic soda bottle or juice bottle - the bigger the better
Step 1:

Attach the string to one side of the broomstick. You will need an adult to help you with this step. You may need to cut a notch to hold it (see picture), or drill a hole and tie it, or staple it down with a heavy-duty staple gun.

Step 2:

Attach the string to the other end of the broomstick. The string should be tight, but not too tight.

Step 3.

Slide the plastic bottle between the string and the stick so that the tension of the string holds the bottle in place.

To play:

With the broomstick over your shoulder (like a soldier with a rifle), hold the bottom string with your fingers as shown. Play the string below the bottle - either by plucking it or by hitting it with a pencil or a chopstick. As you tighten the bottom part of the string, the upper side will change pitches.