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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Made of Imagination: Drum Phil

Made of Imagination: Musical storm

Made of Imagination: Digital Pianola

Made of Imagination: Pigeon play

Made of Imagination: Pigeon play

Made of Imagination: Suitcase songs

Made of Imagination: Lady guitar

Got a musician's ear and a tinkerer's hand? The Made of Imagination contest, co-sponsored by art site Booooooom, MTV, and Sony Xperia, seeks seriously creative homemade instruments.

Kyoto-Japan-based media artist Ally Mobbs went old-school for the Drum Phil, an analog drum sequencer built from a modified Philips 4407 reel-to-reel tape player.

Paper disks can be played with preprogrammed rhythms, or the stylus-mounted tape heads can be removed and used to manually tap out beats by touching the colored dots. Sound is created by magnetic data stored on credit cards and train tickets. Having trouble picturing the way it works? Watch the video below.

Caption by / Photo by Ally Mobbs

Copper foil sheets cut into triangles, then taped on the edges with duct tape and hung on the wall to make a loud crashing noise when hit are just some of the homemade instruments in San Diego artist Scott Lingner's cacophonous symphony below.

Others include long pieces of wood with about 850 metal washers attached, all hanging from the ceiling, and a thick metal sheet with a handle attached to wobble back and forth.

Caption by / Photo by Scott Lingner

The Digital Pianola riffs on player pianos of yore by letting users compose music from paper and light. To create their contraption, designers Benjamin Weetman, Zahra Shahabi Sirjani, and Hal Gillilan perforated more than 130 feet of print roll paper with a vinyl cutter, picking out the perforated dots.

As the paper passes through a strip of light-dependent resistors working in unison through Arduino and Logic, the removed dots cause light to shine onto light-dependent resistors (or LDRs), thus triggering MIDI samples.

The Digital Pianola from Benjamin Weetman on Vimeo.

Caption by / Photo by Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET
It might be a tad uncomfortable to strum the Pijin, an experimental lamellaphone made by sound artist RP Collier of Portland, Ore., using the housing of a wooden clock and anti-roosting pigeon spikes.
Caption by / Photo by RP Collier

Artist Brian Chan of Glasgow, Scotland, created this unusual-looking stringed instrument, which looks like it could make an appearance at a Spinal Tap show in Black Rock City.

Photos and videos of DIY instruments can be submitted to the Made of Imagination contest through September 26. One new Sony Xperia Ion will be awarded for the most creative instrument submitted to the contest and another for the best video performance.

Caption by / Photo by Brian Chan

Several years ago, two prized 1960s Gibson guitars got swiped from Boston indie-folk musician Jeff Conley's car after a show. He couldn't afford another set of vintage instruments, nor did he have the time to search for them, so he decided to start crafting his own from old suitcases and other parts. He makes drums too.

Caption by / Photo by Jeff Conley
Kacper Cezary Dzialak of London made this woman-guitar hybrid as a tribute to his personal hero, Jimi Hendrix, and the album "Electric Ladyland."
Caption by / Photo by Kacper Cezary Dzialak
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