25 Weird Musical Instruments You’ll Want to Play

Instruments allow us to make music: one of the most uniquely human creations. From the trumpet to the piano to the bass guitar, they have allowed us to create elaborate symphonies, hardcore rock ballads, and kitsch pop songs. But, in this list, we tackle some of the more bizarre and estranged musical instruments in our world, some of the “why does this even exist?!” instruments. The 25 we have included are truly weird musical instruments – in sound, design, or oftentimes both.

Have you heard of the organ which produces sound by fire? (Sadly, it wasn’t created for Twisted Sister as a rock god instrument in the 1980’s.) How about an entire house which doubles as a 6,200 square foot (575 square meter) natural instrument? Or, maybe you’ll be surprised by the instrument which presumably made sounds in a truly horrifying way (see #23). The weird instruments on this list are nearly all on the avant-garde fringe of music production and will likely expand your view of what music is – they seem to be doing so to the industry already. See if you can find one you’d like to play and let us know which it is from our list of the 25 Weird Musical Instruments You’ll Want to Play.

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Vegetable Orchestra

The_Vegetable_Orchestra_popfest2015Source: CMUSE, Image: Wikimedia

Formed almost 20 years ago by a group of friends interested in experimental music, the Vegetable Orchestra in Vienna has become one of the strangest grouping of musical instruments on the planet. The group makes their instruments before every performance – entirely out of vegetables like carrots, eggplant, and leeks – to create an entirely bizarre experience to watch and hear.


The Music Box

Dave_Cole_Music_Box_Cleveland_Institute_of_ArtSource: CMUSE, Image: Art Hopper

Construction equipment is often noisy and audibly annoying, much in contrast to a small music box. But one massive music box has been created which merges the two. This 2,000 pound vibratory compactor has been refitted to spin just like a traditional music box and is able to play one famous tune: The Star Spangled Banner.


Cat Piano

cat piano modelSource: CMUSE, Image: Ωméga * via Flickr

We really hope the cat piano never became a real invention. Published in a book detailing weird and fantastical musical instruments, the Katzenklavier (AKA cat piano) arranged an octave full of cats by their tone. Their tails would then be stretched out between them and a keyboard set with nails. When a key was played, the nail would gruesomely come down on one of the cats which would then provide the appropriate sound.


12 Neck Guitar

12 neck guitarSource: CMUSE, Image: Laughing Squid

It was pretty cool when Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page played a double-necked guitar on stage, but by the law of more necks = more awesome, how wild would it have been if he played this 12 neck guitar?



ZeusaphoneSource: CMUSE, Image: Wikimedia

Imagine making music by affecting arcs of electricity. The zeusaphone does just that. Known as the “Singing Tesla Coil”, the instrument creates sound by varying visible sparks of electricity to create a futuristic-sounding instrument with electronic qualities.

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