Video transcript of Episode 1: Rubber Band Base Guitar

Below is the full transcript of Episode 1: Rubber Band Bass Guitar delivered by IOP's Mikey Jarrell.


On-screen text reads: "Do Try This at Home from the Institute of Physics. Episode 1: Rubber Band Base Guitar."

Camera cuts to Mikey Jarrell sitting behind a table in his front room. He is holding an elastic band to his ear, listening to the sounds made when he plucks the band. 

Camera cuts to a medium shot of Mikey sat behind a table. He has placed the band on the table and is ready to introduce the experiment.

Mikey: "Hello and welcome to Do Try This at Home, brought to you by the Institute of Physics. My name is Mikey, and this is my front room." 

As Mikey speaks, the on-screen text reads: "Mikey Jarrell, IOP Public Engagement Manager (IOP Scotland)."

Mikey: "We’re making these films because we want to help parents and carers in the UK and Ireland and all around the world to get their kids and families excited about science without even leaving the house. 

"In this video we’re going to show you how to make a super simple rubber band bass guitar. I love doing this one because it’s so simple and easy to do and uses just one household item – a rubber band – but if you have more than one you can help everyone do it at the same time. But you might want to demonstrate how to do it yourself first.

"Stretch the rubber band between your thumb and the forefinger of one hand. If your family have smaller hands you might want to find a few smaller rubber bands for them to do it. Then you want to get a little bit of tension." 

We see Mikey stretching the rubber band using both hands, before increasing and then decreasing the gap between his forefinger and thumb to test the tension. We hear a twanging sound as he plucks the band using the thumb on his other hand.

Mikey: "Once you’ve got that right, you’re going to just gently place your index finger in one ear and then with the other hand gently twang away and you should hear a loud noise just like a bass guitar." 

We see Mikey holding the elastic band to his ear, listening to the different sounds made when he plucks the band. We hear the sound as if we were plucking the rubber band next to our own ear.

Mikey: "If you play around with tension and less tension you can vary the pitch of the sound. You can even try and play some famous bass lines like my terrible rendition of 'Seven Nation Army.'" 

Mikey laughs quietly to himself after playing "Seven Nation Army."

Mikey: "Once you have your family trying it along with you ask them to take their finger out of their ear but keep twanging and pay attention to the difference in what they can hear. 

"So, what’s actually going on here?" 

As he speaks, the camera cuts to a close-up shot of Mikey stretching the band.

Camera cuts to a medium shot of Mikey as presenter.

Mikey: "Well, all sounds are vibrations and when you twang a rubber band it makes it vibrate and you can hear this even without your finger touching your ear because the vibrating band causes the air around it to vibrate and the air carries the vibration as a sound to your ear. But when your finger’s touching your ear it’s much, much louder and that’s because solid things like your finger are much better at carrying sound vibrations than gases like the air. So, with your finger touching your ear you hear a much louder sound from the rubber band. So that’s how you make a rubber band bass guitar. 

"If you’re not totally sure about the science don’t worry, just have a play around together have fun with your family and, if you need to, look it up together. 

"Thanks a lot, and see you next time!"

On-screen text reads: "Do Try This at Home from the Institute of Physics. For instructions and more Do Try This at Home films visit These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use, but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk."