The RimbaTubes are a series of plumbing pipes cut to different lengths, arranged chromatically (like a piano.) The longer the pipe, the lower the note; The shorter the pipe, the higher the note. They are commonly known as a PVC Pipe Instrument, but I call them “RimbaTubes” because mine are essentially a “Marimba” made out of “Tubes.”
I was directly inspired by the Blue Man Group. Co-founded by Chris Wink, Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman in the late 80’s / early 90’s, the performance troupe discovered they could make music with pipes in New York City. I learned about their show in 2005 and was instantly awe-struck by the sound of pipe music, that I was inspired to take it the next step: Setting up my own instrument like a piano and playing songs I knew and loved on there. You can watch my first ever “PVC Instrument” video from 2007 on YouTube.
The RimbaTubes are technically my and my father’s design. We built our first instrument in the summer of 2007. While the Blue Man Group was my inspiration, the concept of making music out of pipes can be found all across the world. In the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, there are numerous pipe bands making music with bamboo (one of my favorites being the Inamauri Panpipers.) In the 1980’s, the band Uakti emerged in Brazil playing pipes and several other unique instruments. Boomwhackers are another recognizable pipe instrument in the United States often found in school classrooms. For other examples, check out my YouTube playlist featuring over a hundred more pipe instruments.
Currently three sets. My original gray/black instrument from 2007, the red/blue RimbaTubes set from 2010 and the transportable set from 2016 (originally named the KaleidoTubes but re-painted and re-named MetalliTubes in 2020.)
I do not make and sell my RimbaTubes for consumers at this time. If you are a business interested in collaborating on a custom instrument and/or performance with your product or logo, please email me at email@example.com.
Yes, do it! I learned to build my first pipe instrument by simply searching online for “PVC Instrument Instructions” and then using a trial & error method with my dad. Having a buddy and a wide array of references is the best way to approach designing your own instrument. I absolutely encourage you to give it a try and if you end up building one, please let me know! I always love to see pictures and videos of others’ completed instruments.
They are essentially a combination of foam rubber, corrugated plastic, fiberglass rods and tape. Nice and sturdy, but flexible and soft enough to produce the airy tones. You can see close-up pictures and/or purchase your own pairs via my BandCamp Merch page.
I was 11 years old, hopping in the car with my family when I was thinking about my real name “Kent.” I was wishing I could have a shorter nickname (ex: William to Will or Alexandra to Alex) but “Kent” was already a one-syllable name. So out of nowhere I thought, “what about…. Snubby…. Snubby J?” (not even knowing what the word “snub” meant at the time.) My family laughed it off and it became a small inside joke for us. A couple years later, I was creating my YouTube channel, decided to name it “snubbyj” and the rest is history!
Yes! It was my longtime dream to be a member of the Blue Man Group, but after several auditions, the casting team and I decided I am simply not right for the Blue Man character. However since then, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the company a few times, including a full YouTube series at Blue Man Group’s headquarters in New York City.
Yes! I grew up playing piano, so other key-based instruments (ex: melodica, accordion, vibraphone) come more naturally to me. I have since picked up some string instruments such as ukulele, guitar, u-bass and cello, but my skills are limited. It helps that once you learn one instrument, it becomes easier to pick up others and start playing!
I typically learn songs by ear, but also reference sheet music and piano video tutorials for trickier arrangements. All of my arrangements are my own or co-created with collaborators simply because RimbaTubes music does not exist otherwise!
Possibly! Search for the song on my YouTube channel or scroll through my TikTok / Instagram for even more of my work. You can also send me a message with your song request. While I cannot guarantee playing/recording your song, I always love to hear and learn more!