The Music Espionage

10 Strangest Musical Instruments

If you thought a MIDI guitar was a little strange, well you haven’t seen anything yet. The Music Espionage people have put together 10 strangest musical instruments out there. Everything from the Cat piano, the bass balalaika and something called a ‘Otamatone’, whatever that is!?


Bass Balalaika

The Balalaika unlike any other instrument the Balalaika goes from one extreme to another, from one of the small, called the piccolo to the BIG bass Balalaika, called the contrabass, this must be one of the biggest.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments

This three-string monster could bass your face off! Tuned E-E-A, it is normally played with a pick often made from a piece of leather. The contrabass has to rest on the ground using a wooden or metal pin that is drilled into one of its corners. This is not the instrument for you if you don’t have a massive van to tour with.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments



This crazy electronic instrument was invented by the madman Maywa Denki, an musician who is certainly not afraid of pushing the boundaries of modern and electronic music.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments

The Otamatone looks like a Quaver/8th note, but it gets it name from the Japanese word “otama” meaning “ladle”, guess it looks like a ladle. You play this two handed, one squeezes the smiley “head”, while the other controls the pitch by sliding the finger on a ribbon controller running the length of the note’s “stem”.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments


Speak and Spell

This fun 1980s educational toy has gained a cult following among musicians and budding techies that want to make their own instruments.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments-Speak and Spell - Circuit benders

So called ‘Circuit benders’ modify the toy and use it to produce some very unusual sounds. Even ET had a go with this one to “Call home”! The Music Espionage has loads on creating your own weird and wonderful instrument here.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments


Macedonian Gajda

This is basically a bagpipe, with the bag part or “Gaida” being fashioned out of some poor sheep or goat hide. This is not one for the faint-hearted or any practicing vegetarians, but if you are thinking of being a vet I guess you could work on your mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of animals!

10 Strangest Musical Instruments


Singing Ringing Tree

More of a musical sculpture than an instrument, nevertheless we believe the Singing Ringing Tree has a place on our list. Placed high on a hilltop overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England. The instrument works when wind passes over and through the pipes that make it up and they “sing”.

10 Strangest Musical Instruments



The Hydraulophone uses water as the medium to allow the musician to control the sound. Water is “blown” into the hydraulophone by way of a pump, then along a length of pipe where finger-holes allow the player to affect the note’s pitch. The worse thing about it though is the serious “bath-fingers” you get after performing with it.



Janko Piano

This very strange piano is basically a “normally” piano inside, but how you play the note is very different. The keyboard of the piano was design by a musician called Paul von Jankó way back in the 19th century. This design allows for musicians with even the smallest of hands to plays chords stretching beyond a ninth, or even an octave. Each vertical column of keys is a semitone away from its neighboring columns, and on each horizontal row of keys the interval from one note to the next is a whole step.


10 Strangest Musical Instruments


Pikasso Guitar

Basically the Swiss army knife of the guitar world, it has four necks, two sound holes and in total 42 strings that are under approximately 1000 lbs pressure! The first design was commissioned for the musician Pat Metheny in 1984 and built by Manzer guitar.


10 Strangest Musical Instruments


The Cat Piano

The instrument consists of a line of cats strapped into place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that they cry out in pain when a key is pressed down by the musician. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices. It was made famous on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.


Vegetable Orchestra

This isn’t just one instrument but a full Orchestra full of them. Everything in this band and I mean everything was created using veg! They have it all from a flute carrot, to a pumpkin bass-drum. Their latest album “Onionoise” is making big waves in local markets!

10 Strangest Musical Instruments