Are there times when you just feel like listening to some Keb' Mo' or Eric Clapton? Do you wish you could play along? Circuit Playground Express and CircuitPython may be all you need to add some tambourine or cowbell to the mix. And what is a vibraslap anyway?

The Blues Playground is two blues musical instruments in one. First, it's a collection of common percussion instruments played using a hand-held paddle that resembles the shape of a tambourine. You can play with the beat or add accents to spice up the song. The Blues Playground has a second mode that steps through a typical blues chord sequence one beat at a time. The Chords Mode can be used as the musical foundation of your own blues song -- just add lyrics. If you can tap to a beat, you can play the blues!

Here's what you'll need from Adafruit to build the Blues Playground musical instrument:

1 x Circuit Playground Express
An amazing microcontroller with lots of built-in features
1 x 3 x AAA Battery Holder with On/Off Switch
A battery holder with a power switch and compatible JST connector
1 x Alkaline AAA Batteries (3 pack)
4.5 volts of electron-filled goodness

Materials and Supplies

  • Two M3 7mm screws with hex nuts (optional for guitar amp connection)
  • Two 8-inch x 9-inch (20cm x 23cm) sheets of corrugated cardboard
  • Six 4-inch (10cm) cable ties
  • Glue stick
  • Cardboard-compatible adhesive such as E6000
  • Gaffer's tape (or equivalent)
  • Cutting template printed on paper stock (printed from downloaded PDF file)


  • Pencil
  • Metal ruler
  • Scissors, craft knife, or box cutter knife
  • Diagonal wire cutter
  • For decoration: crayons, felt pens, poster paint, spray paint, stickers


Be Safe!

This Project Uses Sharp Tools and Stinky Adhesive

This project involves cutting and gluing cardboard with sharp tools and stinky glue. If you are inexperienced with either, ask for help before starting this project!

This guide was first published on Jun 28, 2018. It was last updated on Jun 23, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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