Wooden Instruments: 16 Musical Instruments Made out of Wood

These musical instruments are made of wood and they are so beautiful to look at thanks to their natural texture. Wood has amazing properties which allow for making great-sounding instruments.


The Güiro is a popular instrument in Latin America and the Caribbean and it comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s used to create a driving rhythm for the music, and you play it by scraping up and down on its rugged surface with a stick or a tine, creating an iconic rhythmical sound. It’s held up by putting your fingers in the holes on the back.

Not all Güiros are made from wood. The traditional material is a gourd and sometimes metal is used. But wood Güiros are really common!


It looks bright and colorful, but underneath is the wood we all know and love. This is a bullroarer, which is an ancient musical instrument used since millennia ago (not kidding). You swing it through the air and it makes a roaring sound thanks to a physical effect that I have explained in full detail here.

It’s a simple instrument that produces a surprisingly loud sound! The string would traditionally have been made out of tree bark or human hair, but this one is made out of hemp.


Claves are one of those instruments that really let you experience the true resonance of the wood. This is one of the simplest and most inviting instruments to play, requiring close to no skill to get started.

If you’re experienced with claves, you may know that the different wood types create different sounds, and therefore hardwood is almost always preferred due to the better, more distinct tone.

Slide Whistle

The wooden slide flute has the remarkable ability of annoying anyone within its range, amusing only the player. The one in the image is made from bamboo, which is actually grass and not wood. But many slide whistles are made out of wood, and they work just the same way.

Slide-out and in the stick at the end, and you’ll go up and down in tone without any steps in between (glissando). It’s often used as a toy but it has been used in music as well, such as Pink Floyd’s song Flaming.


The Recorder is a wooden instrument from Europe that can produce lush vibrant tones. It can be made from so many different types of wood, and it matters. Because the wood type determines the characteristics of the sound, and maple is one of the preferred ones!

It’s quite easy to play, but hard to master, and It’s so portable, allowing you to take it with you anywhere in the world.

Slit Drum

This amazing drum can be played by anyone at any age. Known as a slit drum or wooden tongue drum. It consists of a hollow wooden box that resonates when the keys on top are struck with a mallet.

The mallet consists of a wooden stick with a bouncy ball made of rubber. When it strikes the keys, it bounces up and down with ease, making it really fun and effortless to play!


Image: Graham Crumb/Imagicity.com / CC BY-SA 3.0

The Didgeridoo is one of the most wooden instruments there is. The coolest thing about the Didgeridoo is that it’s made out of a branch from the eucalyptus tree, which cherishes its natural shape. When termites eat the insides of the branch, they leave it hollow, which allows for someone to come along, break it off and play with it.

Wooden Ocarina

The Ocarina is a vessel flute that can be made out of wood, glass, or ceramic and it functions just the same way as when you blow a bottle to produce a tone. The wooden-made ones come with the benefits of being tougher and having more accurate tuning than the ceramic ones.

But nonetheless, they are beautiful to watch, easy to play and they produce a soothing tone that is kind to the ears. You can carve one yourself, but it does require time and dedication.


The Binzasara is a unique Japanese instrument that consists of wooden plates strung together with two handles on either side. It’s played like a wave and produces a creaking sound when the player makes the plates hit one another.

It was originally a cooking wear cleaning tool and it’s still used for this purpose. By moving your hands back and forth, the wooden plates remove debris such as burnt and stuck food in pots and pans.


Castanets are usually made from wood and their price ranges from ten to hundreds of dollars. The more expensive castanets are usually handmade from wood, resin, or fiber, and The cheaper ones tend to be made from harder wood which doesn’t produce a refined sound.

When getting a castanet, just make sure to avoid the plastic ones or the decorated ones. As they don’t tend to hold up as well and don’t have as good of a sound as the other ones.


Windchimes made out of wood are quite popular, and they produce a slightly duller and much more enjoyable sound than the metal ones (if you ask me), they may not be a musical instrument that you play. But instead, the wind plays it. It somehow has the magical ability to infuse any zone with peaceful tranquility, by just playing a few random notes every now and then.

Some may not like them, but I’ve experienced them in full, and I think any house owner should try these at some point.


You probably didn’t know, that the word Xylophone comes from ancient Greece and that Xylo means Wood, and phone means Sound.

This is an instrument that exists in both versions made for little kids, as well as more professional much bigger versions with a bombastic sound. The wood is what makes the instrument so unique and it’s all thanks to its vibrations that we get this energetic and happy sound.

Just like the wooden slit drum, this instrument uses a mallet with a rubber ball on top, which makes it bounce effortlessly on the wooden blocks.

Nose Whistle

The Nose Whistle is a really rare musical instrument, and it’s marvelous how it works.

When you breathe through your nose with your mouth open, a valve at the back of the mouth closes which creates a perfect resonance chamber. When you blow through your nose and into the nose flute, the air gets blown into the mouth, and circulates out again which creates the impressive flute-like tone.

This whistle can produce any note you can whistle, which means you can play any melody, and it doesn’t require any experience to play it!


The guitar is probably the most famous wooden instrument in the world, and ebony is the most sought-after wood type for making guitars. Surprise, surprise, it’s also the most expensive! Some materials such as Rosewood and Brazilian Rosewood in particular have also been preferred, but borderline illegal to use because of the scarcity of the tree.

String Instruments

The Cello, Violin, and Double bass are all very similar wooden instruments with the biggest difference being their size. They are all hand-carved from wooden blocks, and they also use bent wood to form the sides of the instrument.

They are among the harder instruments to play and this is because they are fretless, making it very hard for a beginner to play the same note in tune twice, and quickly. Nonetheless, they are a prime example of what you can make out of a tree.


The harp is a beautiful example of craftsmanship. It’s heavy, and it also packs a heavenly punch when it comes to sound. The whole structure is made out of wood, and the strings are attached to a soundboard that goes along the harp.