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How to Build a Xylophone

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

trying to build a xylophone

When my son was born, I took on a project to build a xylophone for him. As a kid myself, I always loved the xylophone for its simplicity, just some keys and a resonator box. So, I decided to make one.

There are two parts to a Xylophone, the resonator box & cutting the coves in the keys. As you'll see in the video, I did not cut the coves in the keys because, in the test ones, it proved very hard to tune them back to the right pitch without an expensive tuner.

Cutting the Blanks

The bar dimensions provided here are for building a xylophone with a range extending from C4-A5. All bars should be cut 1 3/16" wide by 5/8" thick.

Bar lengths are as follows:

C: 10 1/4"

D: 9 7/8"

E: 9 3/4"

F: 9 5/16"

G: 9"

A: 8 5/8"

B: 8 5/16"

C: 8 1/16"

D: 7 3/4"

E: 7 7/16"

F: 7 1/16"

G: 6 13/16

A: 6 716"

After all the blanks are cut to size, choose a medium-grit sandpaper to take off the sharp edges and corners.

build a xylophone

Finding the Nodal Points

The nodal point for the fundamental pitch is the point at which the bar should be drilled for a positioning rod. This is the point that the key sounds the best. The nodal point is 22.4% from each end of the bar.

Constructing the Pieces to Build a Xylophone

The xylophone box may be manufactured from hardwood, pine, or plywood. If you choose to work with plywood, search for a lumber yard in your area that sells 5 or 7-ply furniture-grade plywood with a thin laminate on both sides. The laminate will enhance the look of your finished project. If you decide on plywood it will also be necessary to modify the measurements of the plans, as the plywood will not be milled to thickness specifications. Begin by cutting the two sides with the dimensions below:

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Mark Hazan
Mark Hazan

What is thickness of wood you used for box

Jesse Shaw
Jesse Shaw

Hi Mark,

The thickness of the resonator box is 3/4"

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