Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boom Pipes Recipe

Boom Pipes
Instructions for Boom Pipes 
                                                                            by Jeri Crosby
Boom pipes are a novel yet musical addition to my Orff instruments (substituting for bass bars) as well as to my Boomwhackers and home-made instrumentarium. Students (of all ages) LOVE these!
Use four-inch, double-walled drain pipe (white plastic with black inner lining, which usually comes in ten-foot lengths). Buy a four-inch end cap for each pipe and some adhesive. (Three ten-foot lengths will make a full set. You can make a basic ‘bass bar’ set from two lengths.)

These measurements are approximate. (It is best to cut a tiny bit long because a pipe that’s too short will be sharp and difficult if not impossible to correct.) After initial cuts, check pitch with a tuner or match to a piano. Sand or carefully shave with a paring or pocket knife to fine tune.

C       50 ½ “          128.3 cm       (Cut from piece #1.)
D       45 “              114.3 cm      (Cut from piece #2.)
E       40 ½“           102.9 cm       (Cut from piece #1.)
F       37 ¾ “            95.9 cm       (Cut from piece #2.)
F#        35 ½ “            90.2 cm        (Cut from piece #3.)
G       33 ½ “            85.1 cm        (Cut from piece #2.)
A       29 ½“             74.9 cm         (Cut from piece #3.)
Bb        28 “                71.1 cm          (Cut from piece #3.)
B       26 ¼“              66.7 cm         (Cut from piece #1.)
C       24 ¾“              62.9 cm         (Cut from piece #3.)

‘Boom’ on carpeting or other soft surface. If you’ll be using these on cement or tile, glue a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to the bottom (cap) of each tube.
The range of these instruments is from two octaves below middle C to one octave below middle C. (This is the same as bass Boomwwhackers with Octavator caps applied, but the volume and timbre are bolder.)

A printable version of instructions and picture is available here: 

For color-coded music and activities, please check out my TeachersPayTeachers store:
I'll be posting more home-made instrument ideas soon : )


  1. Thanks Jeri!! This is wonderful and so helpful!

  2. Glad you found this. I wish you the BEST : )

  3. Thank you so very much! I have looked for instructions before, and find very vague ones.These are terrific! I can't wait to make these for my classroom!!

    1. Glad you found this and that it'll be helpful to you, Steph. These are very do-able, and I think you and your students will love them. Have fun and thanks for stopping by : )

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  5. This looks awesome. I'm hoping to install something like this on a playground fence. Any suggestions of how that might work best?

  6. This looks awesome - I'd like to mount something like this on a playground (chain link) fence. Do you have any tips or thoughts about that?

    1. Thanks, Faye. You could drill small holes in the pipes to mount/suspend them on a fence with wire or screws, but you'd need something to strike the pipes with since they are usually played by bumping the bottom on the floor. I'd love to hear about what you figure out. : )

    2. thanks! It will be a while before i make our 'sound wall', but I'll try to let you know how it goes.

  7. Thanks so much for this post! We made boom pipes in a 7th grade class in 2003, spray painted them, and they are a ton of fun! But, always a problem to store in the classroom because they are SO BIG. What have you found or done to keep these tidy in your room?