A Symphony Of Strangeness: 40+ Quirky Musical Instruments We Have Never Heard Of

By Jishnu B

Music is more than just a form of art; it has the uncanny power of evoking surges of emotions within us while influencing the ebbs and flows of our state of mind at the same time. However, musical notes could not be brought to life without the all-important musical instruments that have the distinct ability to excite the air and create such beautiful tones.

Here’s the rub: Piano, saxophone, guitar, flute…those are all so mundane. The instruments we’re interested in today are the ones your mom told you to stay away from when you were younger. The ones that beckon you from a dark alleyway — the forbidden, turbulent temptations. A result of human ingenuity pushed past its limit.

The absolute chaos that emanates from these instruments will make you laugh but perhaps also wonder to yourself: “What am I missing out on?”

Neither Sharp Nor Flat

Musical instruments are designed in specific ways to emulate sounds into tones. However, this rogue piano seems to be breaking all the rules. Usually, the black keys in a piano are used by musicians to define the sharp and flat notes.

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Seems like someone decided to get rid of all the black keys, and we’re still wondering why. Without the distinctions of sharp or flat keys, the music from this piano is just bland. Maybe this piano maker doesn’t do anything by halves! 

The Piano Library

We’re all familiar with pianos, and most of us know how they work. But this is a foreign sight. Ironically, this instrument existed LONG before the piano, with origins traced back to the 3rd century BC. Now that’s an instrument that has been around the block a few times! It’s called a pipe organ.

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Because of its impressive ability to manipulate pitch in intricate ways, it tends to be massive. To date, the pipe organ is still one of the largest organ installations you can have in a room. You’d think you need to be “Doc Oc” to play this, but no — organ players are just built different.

Hammer Time!

As far as sound manipulation goes in creating music, a hammer is an interesting choice. They may be small, but they definitely pack a punch. In this case, though, we’re not talking about piano hammers; nonono, that’s baby stuff. We want a sledgehammer.

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Imagine if someone asks the person striking the hammer what instrument they play in the symphonic orchestra, and they say a “sledgehammer.” Sounds like a pretty exciting job description to us. Our only question is: How does that poor wood box survive longer than one hit? Maybe the hammer guy brings backup?

The Instrumental Outfit

If your curious mind ever wondered whether you could wear an instrument as an outfit, then lo and behold, you’ll find your answers here. All you need is a couple of tubas, some metalworking experience, and a person willing to donate themselves to science and progress!

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Behold the ubersousaphone! Unfortunately, the result is honestly kind of lame. There’s no way for the person inside to actually play anything. The only music you’ll play with this will be the groans of agony that result from lugging around six tubas wherever you go.

Just Don’t

Nothing is more tempting than a thing that is explicitly forbidden to touch. Our mischievous minds can’t take no for an answer. “Don’t,” you say…well, it’s like our one friend who went to juvie always says: It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

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Who can resist that? C’mon, we just want one little honk! You know what? We’re adults here; let’s just buy it. Once it’s ours, no one can tell us not to blow it whenever we want. In fact, we think it would look great mounted to the side of a car!

The Suave Patrick Star Guitar

Almost any instrument can be turned into a gimmick version of itself. But guitars have a remarkable reputation for coming in every design you can think of. For some, this guitar tribute to Bikini Bottom’s very own “Patrick Star” is over the top, but we say it’s just rock ‘n roll!

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It also seems like “Patrick” has had quite a character development since we last saw him. Gone is our lovable starfish; in his place, we have the Patrick Punk Rock Arc. Instead of throwing away money on useless things like food and clothing, we might pick up this baby soon! 

Camping: The Classical Musical 

Since the advent of the pandemic, people have adapted and figured out ways to deal with the situation. In this particular case, band club has found a way to play Bach and stay away from each other at the same time (that second part is reportedly difficult for band kids).

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When the virus hits but you have a concert coming up, nothing can stop you. Clearly, nothing gets between a band kid and a recital. This chamber orchestra showed us that where there is determination, there is always a solution.

The Six-Neck Guitar

Over the years, music’s flashier virtuosos have repeatedly stunned us with their double-neck shredding skills. But we bet even they would be startled by this six-neck guitar. The number of strings and frets that comprise this monstrosity is hard to fathom.

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Artist and actor Bill Bailey was seen rocking this guitar at a few of his concerts. This instrument is definitely not for the faint of heart, and honestly, not for those who don’t go to the gym, either. You need some serious arm and upper-body strength to hoist that baby.

The Evident Mistake

After seeing this picture, we can clearly say that “V” is for “very vague knowledge of violins.” Surely someone should’ve caught this before it went to print, right? The people who published it have managed to insult both guitar players AND violin players in one fell swoop.

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The illustrator had one job, and they completely messed it up. But maybe it is not their fault. Did anyone check what the picture for G is? Perhaps it’s a violin; you always have to be careful with these guys.

The Endless Strings Attached

A normal guitar typically has six strings. Sometimes you see seven, and every once in a while, a super metalhead guitar with eight strings. But 11? This man really said, “144 notes are too limiting; if I’m not breaking my hands while soloing, what’s the point?”

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All we’re saying is that if you are not absolutely incredible on the six-string, you are just feeding your ego with this. Plus, you look silly. The ratios here are all off — that neck is the same width as our face.

The Cat And The Sousaphone

If you’re looking for a birthday present for your cat, you’ve stumbled across this article at the right time. This sousaphone will make the purrrrfect gift for your furbaby. It even comes with a helpful how-to audio guide developed by feline maestros from around the world!

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As you can see, this instrument activates your cat’s musical prowess. Your furry friend will never be the same. Just don’t let them crawl into the instrument from the big end. There have been a few unfortunate deaths in the cat sousaphone community from this mistake. Maybe you could buy it some kind of hood?

Death Metal Guitar 

In today’s episode of bizarre guitars, we have the skull guitar. Looking at it instantly reminds us of death metal, and it’s easy to see why. The aggressive and powerful percussion of this genre goes perfectly with the occult aesthetic of this instrument.

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Considering these guitars are electric, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to the sound. However, we are interested in how it would sound if the guitar was acoustic. Playable or not, these definitely make a great statement piece for decoration. 

The Twists And Turns

The French horn traces its origins in early hunting horns that were used to alert the hunting party. They weren’t adapted for musical use until the 16th century, but they quickly became a staple instrument in orchestras all over the world after that. Since its inception, it has undergone many redesigns.

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This particular version of the instrument looks like the French horn equivalent of a muscle car. It would be difficult to be subtle if you busted out this baby at your local orchestral ensemble. Apparently, it was known as a quadruplet French horn. Yeah, cuz you’d need four sets of fingers to play it!

A Corner Piano

If you were amazed by the pipe organ earlier, then we’ve got another banger for you. This is what we call an effective use of space! Pianos can be so cumbersome when you need to extend your arms in order to play.

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In our opinion, this piano can be a great addition to your home if you don’t have much space available. Or if you aren’t capable of taking up much space yourself. Shout out to all the short kings and petite ladies!

The Amplified Cactus

If you were surprised by the use of a hammer as an instrument, then just you wait until we tell you about the amplified cactus. No, we didn’t make a mistake. This unusual instrument harnesses the acoustic properties of a cactus by using contact microphones. 

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Yeah, apparently, cacti have very peculiar acoustic properties; it’s news to us, too. In fact, famous composer John Cage (of the “4′ 3” fame) wrote a piece called “Degrees of Separation” that uses the amplified cactus to its fullest potential. Makes you wonder who discovered this and what they were doing when they did.

The Canoe Paddle

Upon first inspection, this particular object looks like it would make a great substitute for a canoe paddle. In actuality, however, it is a musical instrument known as a theorbo. It saw its glory days between the 16th and 18th centuries. 

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This instrument is a kind of renaissance lute used for early baroque basso continuo music. It’s also definitely something designed for home use. It would be terrible to transport that even now with cars; back in the day, you couldn’t even think about it.

Petite Trombone

We present to you the cutest and most petite brass instrument in the trombone family: the piccolo trombone! If you know any Italian, well, a lot of Italian, you know that the word ‘piccolo’ means little or small, so that’s where this instrument gets its name from.

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There are instruments that are mostly treated as a peculiarity rather than a serious one, and this is one of those, for the most part. What makes it different from a normal trombone is that there is no tuning slide or slide lock on it.

The Grandfather Violin

This fantastic instrument is a much more hands-on version of a violin known as an octobass. The rare bowed string instrument tends to be extremely large and was first built around 1850. Maybe it’s called “octo-” because it’s the size of eight regular basses?

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Furthermore, this instrument is incredibly rare — only seven are currently in existence. Standing 12 feet tall, the octobass is capable of producing the deepest sounds. It doesn’t matter if you’re Yo-Yo Ma or the Rock; everyone looks tiny next to this beast.

The Cheesy Drums

As part of the percussion group of musical instruments, drums tend to come in all shapes and sizes. However, it’s rare to see one that emulates the look of a Gouda cheese. It makes us think that all it plays is cheesy music! No? Okay.

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On the other hand, it could be a visual pun. A wheel of cheese is known as tome in French. Tom, aside from being a name, is also a kind of drum in English, and apparently, drums in Switzerland look like this. See where tom-tom comes from?

The Thigh-way To Hell

It’s not uncommon to see companies releasing a gimmick version of a popular product to further incentivize sales. However, we think there should be a limit to the type of products being brought to the markets these days. Just take a look at this.

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When these products fail, they fail hard. No way in hell would we ever want to stick our leg in that little hole; are you kidding? What if we got stuck? “Thighway to hell” — yeah, that’s for sure. At least the marketing is accurate.

The Double Agenda

Hey, this isn’t a half-bad idea. Imagine you are a sniper on base. This way, you have something to pass the time, and you’ll always be ready to go as soon as you are called to suit up. A strange way to have your cake and eat it, too.

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Someone obviously resonated heavily with the video game Desperados. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in real life, dude. If nothing else, this instrument is proof that sometimes, “Music is the weapon” because this is, quite literally, a killer machine!

The Cat Piano

PETA knows you are reading this. It’s too late; they are now headed to your location. This picture alludes to an organ made of cats. But in all honesty, we are so glad this was just a concept, and it wasn’t brought to reality. 

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Whoever thought this up deserves what’s coming to them. Essentially, the keys crush the cat’s tail and makes it scream in pain. Wow, good concept. We’re going to take it and make one with only two keys — one for each of this degenerate’s legs.

The Rebel

Looks like someone was having a great time while out on a Saturday night and decided to join the local band. If only we had the boldness that this man does, maybe we could have joined the stage as well. 

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However, it must have been really annoying for the band members. There’s barely enough room for them, and it’s kinda risky since damaging expensive instruments and sound equipment is too easy. But this guy was feeling himself too much, so they just had to make an exception.

The Voluptuosity

This would have been a perfectly fine poster advertising the newest artist in town playing in Santa Clara until the focus got shifted drastically. Everything looks okay until you notice the guy’s gravity-defying dumpy of a backside. Good for you, dude.

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Whether this placement of the guitar was done intentionally to garner attraction or the guy doesn’t have real friends who have the guts to tell him the truth, in our opinion, this poster would be perfect for a Keeping Up With The Kardashians promo.

The Dead Man’s Skeleton

If you were fascinated by the use of animal skulls to fashion an electric guitar, then this particular case will intrigue you more. This man decided to build a guitar out of his dead uncle’s skeleton and use it to play black metal.

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This man definitely took the “shred for all eternity” phrase too far, and the results were atrocious. Even though it is a pretty morbid way to remember someone, everyone has their own way of memorializing loved ones, so who are we to judge?

The Flying V

The Gibson Flying V electric guitar is quite popular when it comes to offering a radical futuristic body design. It was perhaps too radical for its time since the sales were not that good. However, a few popular artists have recently gravitated towards the unique design, causing it to rise in popularity.

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The V guitar in this picture seems to be a scalable version of the original one. Although the setup location of the man is odd, as he’s standing just behind a FedEx car, the guitar exudes some level of cool. Unfortunately, it seems like you need to stretch your fingers to full capacity to play.

A Deal With The Devil

There was a time when the internet was going absolutely bonkers theorizing that our favorite musicians had sold their souls to the devil to make it in the industry. Seems like these folks took that conspiracy theory to heart and are up to some sinister practices.

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If you look at the picture, you can see an arrangement of instruments forming a subliminal symbol that cults use to summon the supernatural. Either they are trying to sell their soul to be able to play clarinet proficiently, or they’re just trying to summon a better instrument by offering the existing ones!

The Toi-lute

We’re sure you have heard of the lute. Now, get ready to be acquainted with the all-mighty toot. Lutes are plucked string instruments with a neck and a deep round back enclosing a hollow cavity. They usually have a more rounded shape compared to guitars.

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Seems like someone thought using the toilet seat would be a great alternative to building a lute. People on the internet these days are getting crazy creative, and we are all here for it. However, we’re not so sure how this one would sound.

The Guitizza

“What’s wrong, babe? You’ve hardly touched your ‘guitizza.'” This quirky fender jazz master-shaped pizza seems to perfectly emulate the classic P90s guitar. The P90 is a single electric coil guitar that the Gibson company has been producing since the ’40s.

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Seems like the only genre this guitar would be playing is Italian rock! Jazz masters were always a little cheesy anyway, but this creation took it to another level. We still think it would make a terrible guitar, though, since the pickups are olives. 

The Circular Piano

This particular instrument is absolutely mesmerizing and looks as if it could be a portal to an alternate musical dimension. We also have to mention that the artist playing it appears quite graceful for someone who’s playing such a sizable instrument. Beam us up, Scotty!

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This was from an episode of Eurovision, a European singing reality show. Apparently, the circular instrument is known as a BROCK 360 keyboard. It is a custom-crafted piano art circle specially designed to take stage appearances to the next level.

The Guitar From Heaven

If we are being honest about this picture, instead of being a musical instrument that radiates a chaotic aura, this one, in fact, exudes an angelic aura. It would be the perfect birthday present for someone who’s both into playing guitars and watching anime.

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The beauty of this guitar is absolutely breathtaking. Although we’re not sure how comfortable one would be, playing it, it would make a great novelty piece. The riffs on that axe would be righteous, though…as long as you’re into that kind of thing.

The Scrumptious Viola

If there was a collection of perfect representations of the right curves in all the right places, then this violin would surely make that list. This is a work of art unbound by a timeless registry of mind that not even the finest arts can compete against.

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The curvier viola actually helps to achieve a warmer and richer sound. They also aren’t big enough to allow the C string to resonate like a violin’s G string. But since a huge violin isn’t quite practical to hold, a shape like this makes it more functional.

Ronald McMetal

Rumor has it that if you play Rock and Roll McDonald’s while looking in a mirror, Ronald McDonald will appear behind you. This McDonald’s-themed guitar is definitely efficient at playing the McBass. However, we’re quite unsure where the pickups are at.

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After seeing this guitar, we can definitely say that this instrument can revolutionize a new genre known as Rock and Roll McDonald’s. Although we’re lovin’ it (and by that, we mean the concept), we’re quite unsure about the functionality because it seems to lack frets and pickups.

The Tuba Man

Lo and behold, the tuba Man is back again to entertain you with his antics. This vigilante is too concerned with the ebbs and flows of sound manipulation to be salvaged. We’re still unsure why the man has to wear a whole tuba outfit, though.

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The tuba is considered the grandfather of the brass family. With its deep rich sound, this large brass instrument is quite efficient at producing deep low sounds. Though we can’t be sure if this guy is really a musician or not, we hope he didn’t end up stuck somehow.

Surf Rock

Out of all the iterations of guitars we have seen so far, this one has to be the coolest, hands down. It’s obvious that it was inspired by a surfboard. Also, we think the red color gives the instrument a certain edge.

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This combination is both unique and suave, and we’re all here for it. The artist playing the instrument is known as Masayoshi Takanaka. He is beloved by many, and the way he plays the instrument certainly appeals to the beautiful aesthetic.

The Cymbal Fashion

A cymbal is a musical instrument made of a round, slightly concave brass plate that produces a ringing or clashing sound when struck against another plate or with a stick. Seems like someone thought that using cymbals as a fashion piece would make a great statement.

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Honestly, we can already hear the noise this guy certainly makes when he walks around in this strange get-up. We say noise because though cymbals are musical instruments, there’s no way he was making music with these looking like that.

The Bathroom Singer

This piano setup would be a perfect idea if you like tinkling while taking a tinkle. Instead of the piano, this should be called the “pee-ano” now. Or, maybe you’re not a 14-year-old male, in which case we’ll stop with the jokes.

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This also makes us wonder whether it’s a secret entrance to “Willy Wonka’s” factory. All you have to do is sit on the toilet, and play a tune, then a window opens into a giant factory with a chocolate river flowing through!

The Octo-Flute

This is what happens when your auto shop teacher is also your band leader. This unique instrument is known as a contrabass flute. It is actually one of the rare members in the flute family used in solo and chamber music sessions.

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Also referred to as the “gentle giant” of the flute family, it requires a much greater volume of air to produce sound than most other wind instruments. Seems like a massive saddle is what is needed to tame this flute. 

The Guitar Boat

This massive installation is not just a guitar boat; it’s also a rare piece of art. However, the concerning part is the 24th fret inlay on the 21st fret. Yeah, we bet you thought we were gonna say it’s that a guitar isn’t usually seaworthy.

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In 2008, singer Josh Pyke released a music video for his song Make You Happy. That was the first time we caught a glimpse of this piece of art. We wonder whether the boat is still preserved or it got dusted into memories.

The Furby Organ

American electronic robotic toy, Furby, has been in the market since the ’90s and is considered a must-have toy for many households with children. I’m sure every late ’90s kid is familiar with the toy and still has one sitting around somewhere in their basement.

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This YouTuber took the chattering aspects of the Furby and came up with an ingenious idea to build an organ. People nowadays are getting crazy inventive, and we definitely recommend you check out his journey to build a Furby organ.

The Three-Key Piano

If you’re keen on trying out pianos that are tricky to play, then this one is gonna be right up your alley. This piano only consists of three keys, and we are not sure why. Someone needs to put in quite the effort to make coherent music with it.

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However, songs that do not require much melody might just fit the bill for this instrument. Perhaps it’s the piano that was used to write the theme song for Batman! Additionally, it could be used for the James Bond theme.

The Kazoo Assembly

American musical instrument, Kazoo, adds an infamous “buzzing” timbral quality to a player’s voice. This instrument is efficient at vibrating and changing the voice of the player. The player has to hum their voice instead of blowing air into it.

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One might mistakenly take a kazoo as an alternative to a whistle, and that’s precisely what this person did. They assembled the kazoos like whistles which we thought beat the purpose. Since you don’t blow into a kazoo, there’s no point in assembling them like that.

The Devil’s Behind

Out of all the instruments we have listed so far, this particular one has the most chaotic energy. The back of this guitar could easily pass as the cheeks of the devil himself. Whether the design was intentional or not, it has definitely left us, shall we say, intrigued?

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The color and finish of the guitar are quite interesting as they remind us of barbecue chicken. Either way, we’d eat it! Aside from the obvious strange shape that makes it look so aesthetically pleasing, we’re also concerned about the comfort of playing an instrument like that.

Level of Discomfort

Already at first glance, we could definitely tell this one is quite chaotic. The placement of the instrument is also quite perplexing, and we can’t help but wonder what this man was trying to accomplish. If pictures could be used to describe levels of discomfort, this would be on the list.

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This is not a normal jazz instrument. However, it has the potential to be the kind of jazz that speaks to your soul…or other parts of your physical body. We’re not sure how the placement makes it possible to make any kind of melodic music, though.