Eric Reiswig's Homepage

"Coppers and Brass"


Making Something out of Nothing

(Out of Very Little, anyway)

Hi ho and welcome to my little corner of the Web.

This is a new corner for me, i've just joined the "broadbandwagon," so please revise your bookmarks.

Right now, these pages are focused on building musical instruments out of, let's say, "modest" materials like plumbing pipe. When i started building instruments, my goal was to prove to myself that anyone could build a playable instrument, given enough enthusiasm and attention to detail. Four years (and a whole bunch of plumbing pipe) later, i'm more convinced than ever. What could be more satisfying than coaxing a tune from an instrument you've made yourself, adding a new voice to the music around you?

Although we're talking about plumbing pipe here, don't be fooled into thinking that these are "lesser" instruments than their more traditional counterparts. Purists may turn up their noses at the mere thought of home-building a bagpipe, but i've seen more than one such nose turn right back down again when i started to play! The take-home message is: It sounds better than it looks; and it looks better than you'd expect.

Of course, these pages are always under construction so some things will look nicer than others. Please email me at if something seems broken, or if you've got any questions, comments, suggestions, &c regarding these pages or the instruments i'm presenting here. (I'm not claiming to be an expert musician or instrument builder, but i'm more than willing to share what i can.) I especially want to hear from you if you've built your own instruments based on stuff in these pages (or any other pages, for that matter.)

Good luck and have fun!



Tinwhistle/Pennywhistle -- This is the instrument i started out with. It's easily constructed out of copper plumbing pipe or any other metal tubing you happen to have. You can build one to play in any key you want, especially those hard-to-find low or "in-between" keys.

Scottish small pipes -- A nice sounding bagpipe that is quiet enough to play indoors and with other instruments. These pipes are pitched in A, and use the same fingering as the Great Highland Bagpipe. The bores are straight and therefore easy to do with hobby-shop brass tubing. This is a challenging project but is eminently satisfying. (Note that the bellows, bag, and blowpipe sections are also applicable to any bellows-blown bagpipe. For example, when combined with David Daye's Famous "Penny-Chanter", you have all the makings for a home-built uilleann pipes practice set!)

Windchimes -- A musical instrument? You be the judge! :) These are fun to build, and very simple once you know how. Again, you can use just about any metal tubing you like.

Links to other instrument/building sites.


I've won an award! The good folks at have been compiling a web-index of educational & instructional web sites, and have seen fit to acknowledge this site thusly:

This page was last revised on 9th December 2003, by Eric Reiswig.