With only 7 frets and 3 strings, our pencil case strumstick is the ideal instrument for somebody developing an interest for music – perhaps as a next step up from a ukulele, or a precursor to a conventional 6-string guitar.

The unusual fret spacing you see here is termed “diatonic”, and ensures that all notes are in the major scale (do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do).  You literally can’t go wrong with the strumstick – as it is impossible to hit a bum note!  If all you did was press down on the thinnest (highest-pitched) string, and randomly move where you are pressing the string up and down the neck, while strumming… it would still sound great, and like “real music”.

Pencil case strumstick

As such, in addition to being a great instrument for musical beginners of all ages, the strumstick is also a useful tool for singers and songwriters in inspiring new melodies.  Spend a while with a strumstick and you will start to hear familiar music popping out (a suitable term, with the strumstick lending itself very well to the playing of Pop tunes – in addition to Irish Jigs and Christmas Carols, which we also find to be natural companions to the instrument).

Normally a strumstick is fitted with steel strings (as first developed and sold to this day by Bob McNally).  We use nylon, similar to ukuleles and classical guitars, which we feel gives a warmer more sympathetic tone – and importantly is a lot kinder on little or soft fingers still getting used to the playing of stringed instruments.

Pencil case strumstick - pencil bridge

With our pencil case strumstick, the challenge to ourselves was to see if we really could make a playable musical instrument out of a box so small…  It turns out we could, and we think our creation sounds as cute as it looks.  We have possibly developed the world’s first and only micro guitar made from a wooden pencil case (and a pencil stub – which you will note is used as the instrument’s bridge!).  It would seem unlikely given the number of years that people all around the globe have been building homemade instruments out of non-proprietary material, but we haven’t yet found record of any others quite like this.

It is light as a feather (well – 234 grams or 8-and-a-quarter ounces of feathers to be precise), only 60 cm (24 inches) long, and approximately 8 cm (3 inches) at its widest part.  Thus can be hung from the tuning pegs on a picture hook using a simple loop made from wool, twine, fishing line (or our favourite – an offcut piece of guitar string, otherwise destined for the bin), and can occupy spaces which would be too narrow for other items of artwork to be displayed.

Pencil case strumstick - headstock

Features angled headstock, elegant friction tuning pegs, unique Salvage Sounds soundhole design, and Mother of Pearl fretboard marquetry.

For more information and an explanation how to play the instrument, please see our page of strumstick tunes.

(Please note that the pencil case strumsticks we currently produce are of a significantly darker tone to the pictured, which we think gives the finished instrument a more “classical” look)

Delivery (UK mainland) £6.95
  • Free collection from the Worthing area
  • Up to two instruments can be supplied for the same postage charge, which includes a Mix and Match option with our 2-string fretless canjo