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Build a Band Justification

Lara Glendening, Toni Spina, Rachel Houlihan, Isabella Madison

Guitar (string):
To form different notes, a string instrument needs to have frets at half wavelengths. The
guitar works by having one of its six strings plucked. This creates a vibration that is amplified by
the body of the guitar through the hole. We cut all of the strings to the same length, but we
placed different frets along the neck of the guitar. When the strings are pushed down at the
frets, they will form different notes. We have six strings on the guitar and eight frets, ranging
from C4 to C5. The frets were placed where they were because the length of each fret from the
end of the bridge is half of the notes wavelength. We did this because the wavelength string
will go both up and down, forming a full wavelength. (See picture below)

This is a table showing the full wavelengths and our fret lengths.



Fret length


132 cm

66 cm


117 cm

58.5 cm


105 cm

52.5 cm


99 cm

49.5 cm


88 cm

44 cm


78 cm

39 cm


70 cm

35 cm


66 cm

33 cm

We built the guitars top, bottom, neck, and bridge out of wood. We also used small
wood blocks to connect the top and bottom, but that was covered by the metal sheeting we
wrapped around the side. We used metal sheeting because we wanted a curved guitar, and the
metal was bendable and relatively easy to wrap around the edge. We used fishing wire as the
strings because it was available and vibrated loud enough to be heard.

Flute (wind):

For our wind instrument, we built a PVC flute. The flute has six holes and a mouthpiece
to blow into. These holes create the seven-note scale. One end is stopped with a cork, and the
other end is open to let the air through. Different notes are created by covering different holes to
change the wind patterns, which changes the pressure. The placement of the holes was based
on quarter wavelengths. This is because the end of the flute is a quarter of the wavelength
produced by blowing into the flute. (see picture below)


discovered that some holes needed to be different sizes, and two of them needed to be rotated
up. Unfortunately, I lost the piece of paper with our calculations on it, so I cannot include a table.
We had a problem with covering some of the holes because of their size and the way
they were placed. However, we solved the problem by making coverings out of a cut up plastic
cup and placing them over the holes. They block the air and make notes just as well as a finger
Ideally, the holes would have been at quarter wavelengths, but that wasnt true for our
flute. Here is a table with notes, wavelengths, and the distances from the embouchure to the
hole that made the note.


Wavelength (cm)

Distance to hole (cm)


44 cm

14 cm


49.4 cm

17.5 cm


52.3 cm

20.5 cm


58.7 cm

23 cm


65.9 cm

26.5 cm


34.9 cm

29.5 cm


39.2 cm

14 cm


The more holes you cover, the lower the note. The amount of air that you blow into it is
determined by how many holes are covered. The more holes you cover the longer the air
spring, or length of air in the flute, the lower the note and natural rythm. You can see how it

looks in the picture below.

Pipe drum (Percussion):

Our pipe instrument is a percussion instrument. When we strike our instrument with a
ping pong paddle, air is compressed into the tubes, and goes out the bottom of the pipe. Some
may say that is not because the air is being blown down the pipes to make the noise, but really
its being struck by a ping pong paddle to make the noise, which goes through the pipes. This is
a percussion instrument because a percussion instruments create their sound by struck.

This is what we do to our pipe drum.

We used the C4 to B4 wavelengths as the lengths of the pipes to make the
pipes have the notes of C3 to B3. This works because the air is being compressed half
of a wavelength making the notes be a whole octave lower.

The length of the pipe determines the length of the wave, and different wavelengths
make different notes. Our pipe instrument is made out of 2 in PVC pipes and has a

wooden base to hold it up.The top of the base has approximately 34 in by 8 inch
wooden plank with 7 holes drilled into it. This is where the pipes were placed. Holding
up the top are two thick planks at the ends, with blocks on the bottom to stabilize it. We
also did this to make the instruments base taller to be about 90 inches. We used the C4
to B4 scale of lengths to make the pipes have the notes of C3 to A3 To do this we had
to make the PVC the same length as the wavelength we wanted it to be. So if we
wanted to make it a C4 we made the PVC pipe about 131.8 cm. long. That was not the
only thing we had to do. We could not make the instrument over 100 cm because we
did not have long enough planks for the base, so we twisted our PVC pipes. We did this
by having additions of PVC pipes and elbows, and subtracting those additions lengths
to the wavelength to get the first PVC pipe for each note. The additions are three 2.25
cm PVC elbows, a 10.25 cm. pipe, a 20 cm. pipe, and a 5 cm. Pipe. The the first PVC
pipe length of the C4 note was 90 cm., while the first PVC pipe length of the D4 note
was 75.5 cm., and the first PVC pipe of the E4 note was 63.5 cm. The first PVC pipe
length of the F4 note was 57 cm, while the G4 was 46 cm, the A4 was 36.5 cm., and the

B4 was 25 cm. All of the first PVC pipes and the addition lengths are what made the
PVC pipe drum instrument work, and made the different notes when struck by the
The placement of the holes was based on quarter wavelengths. This is because the end of the
flute is a quarter of the wavelength produced by blowing into the flute. (see picture below)

Pipe Length Wavelength

Length of note


131.87 cm

263.74 cm


117.48 cm

234.96 cm


104.66 cm

209.33 cm


98.79 cm

197.58 cm


88.01 cm

176.02 cm


78.41 cm

156.82 cm


69.85 cm

139.71 cm