A keen-eyed commenter pointed us to a homemade bottle organ that plays like a piano. The complexity gets turned up with foot-powered bellows and custom keys, but the magic of [Mike] and [Simon Haisell]’s garage-built instrument is not lost in the slightest. We also have the video below the break and there is a bottle organ performance by [Coyote Merlot].
The working concepts are explained well in the video, and that starts with the bellows. In the first few seconds of the video, we see an organist swaying as he plays, and it would be accurate to say the music moves him. The wobbling is to pedal a couple of levers that squeeze a pair of air sacs and slide under wheels that look like a hardware store purchase. The spring-return mechanism is a repurposed bungee cord and you know we dig that kind of resourcefulness. Each bellow valve is made with traditional leather flaps of the type that predate bungee cords and camera phones. These air pumps inflate a big reservoir in the back that provides continuous pressure to a manifold where each of the thirty-six keys control a valve responsible for one bottle. The pair built every wooden part we mentioned with the explicit purpose of creating this organ.
A brass fipple, that’s a real word, blows across each glass bottle, although they show a wooden version of the nozzle too. The fipples mount on a tilting rack to direct the air precisely over the bottle mouths. Melted wax tunes the bottles, but our first thought coincided with their first idea of filling the vessels with water, but that stuff evaporates, so we’ll put that tuning treasure in our toolbox.
Thank you for the tip, [Hirudinea] who commented on the fipple article linked above.