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Microphone Month 5

Kazoo

Could the kazoo be the world’s least expensive musical instrument? It’s based on the old “comb and tissue paper” concept, and what makes it worth mentioning is the fact that Jimi Hendrix used one to double his guitar line in “Crosstown Traffic.” As a kid, you probably had one of these metal or plastic cigar-shaped tubes with some type of membrane (paper or plastic) over a hole on one side. Notes are produced by humming into the wider end, while a hand may be passed or cupped around the membrane to produce effects like warbling or even a rudimentary “wah-wah” sound. Believe it or not, there are actually historical terms for this instrument: zobo-flute, vocophone, and zazah. A kazoo falls into the membranophone instrument category.

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