The Radio Lyre

An old cookie tin turned into a lyra...

The story

The Radio Lyre is an instrument I built myself out of an old cookie tin (which looked like an old radio), some hardwood, 6 locking guitar tuners, and some strings.

This Decent Sampler instrument has 3 volume knobs. One for the Plucked samples of the instrument, one for the short Bowed samples, and one for a Sustained bowing of the instrument. You can play the instrument with all playing or play with just one sound at a time.

Instrument building a recent hobby for me and this instrument was really about experimentation. I wanted to see how the different materials would affect the tone and resonance of the instrument.
In the end, the Radio Lyre was finished and I tuned the strings in a pentatonic scale, however, the instrument proved difficult to play in real life. As it had been made over many short bursts during the summer, certain notes would twang much harder than others and plucking had to be done with utmost care. I decided to build another lyre instead- but then I remember Christian Henson’s Youtube video about unique sounds and finding and creating those samples yourself…
“This is a very unique sound!” I told myself and decided to sample the instrument before moving on. In the end, the sampled version is much more satisfying to play. It stripped out the difficult elements of the Radio Lyre and left me with all the good parts.

I also played the lyre with a violin bow and plectrum and found that this further added to the uses of the instrument. It has a little natural plate reverb (due to the tin) and a twang that is reminiscent of a sitar. It is my first Decent Sampler instrument and I am already using it in my own compositions, so wanted to share it with the rest of you.

All the best and do pop me a message if you use it!
– Gersom from Dekoningtan


Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • Unique and slightly trashy, this has character in spades!

    This is a really interesting homemade instrument with tons of character. It's well recorded, and really fascinating. Yes, it's going to tell you that there's a sample missing when you load it up, but once you're past that, it's a great instrument. There are three layers which can be balanced with the GUI controls: a rather muted sounding pluck, a quick bow, and a sustained bow. By default, all three are at max volume. It didn't make sense to me to use bot the quick and long bows together, but I found the combination of the quick bow with the pluck to be highly effective, and the sustained bow on its own was great too. Because you can't quite put your finger on what this instrument is, it would be at home in a score for a Western, but also equally at home in a score for sci-fi. Really cool and unique!

    Sam Ecoff27 October 2021
  • Unique Sound!

    Get your creative juices flowing with this instrument. This pack features 3 different elements; "Plucked", "Bowed", and "Bowed Sustained". These can all be blended together to create the target sound you are looking for. Overall, a nice little instrument that adds some unique experimental sounds to the mix.

    Jake17 October 2021
  • Missing a sample

    Missing a sample

    novelty16 October 2021
  • missing a sample

    when I load this it gives me an error that pluckedsoft1 2.wav is missing.

    baer15 October 2021
  • Unique instrument for sure

    This is a homemade instrument that sounds homemade. By that I mean, it doesn't sound like anything else. I have many synths and samples and this is in a category all it's own.

    ddailey12 October 2021