How to Determine the Length of Xylophone Pipes

Creating a xylophone and measuring the length of each tube accurately will require some precise measurements to get the correct pitch. If the pipes are not cut perfectly, the intonation of the instrument will suffer. Depending on the length of the tubing, the pitch will be higher or lower. The longer tubes will have the lowest sounds. Accurately cutting the tubes to create a C major scale will make it possible for you to create a complete and inexpensive xylophone.

Step 1: Purchase a 10-foot long half-inch-wide pipe. The pipe may be made of PVC, steel or electrical metallic tubing. The material used will determine the timbre of the instrument.

Step 2: Cut the pipes using a hacksaw to create the bars for a C major scale. Use the measurements in the "Tips" section to get the exact lengths correct.

Step 3: Sand the ends of the tubes with a metal sander, or use a fine-grit sandpaper on PVC pipes.

C will be 10 and one-eighth inches. D will be nine and nine-sixteenth inches. E will be nine and one-sixteenth inches. F will be eight and three-quarters inches G will be eight and seven-thirty-seconds inches. A will be seven and thirteen-sixteenth inches. B will be seven and one-quarter inches. C will be seven and one-sixteenth inches.


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