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Can a "Whamola bass" be built? And by who?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Bad Brains, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    Hey there, i am currently trying to get this thing called a "whamola bass" designed and built. I was originally going to try and do it myself but i realized i have to clue how to do this. People have been telling me they are easy to make, but I don't see how so. Probably the biggest problem I would have would be with the electronics, which I know nothing about. I have even asked some music stores about it, but no one there has any kind of clue either. So i was just woundering is there is any place or anyone that could hook me up with one of these, and perhaps exchange ideas on how to design it better then the original? It dosn't need to be anything special or hand crafted or anything, i basically just wan't something that would work and i could use for a gig and to have some fun with. Anyways lets hear what you guys think!
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    So - who are these people - and were they trying hard not to laugh when they said this? ;)
  3. isn't it basically a 1 string bass that you hit with a drumstick and it has a lever on the top that acts almost like a whammy bar?

    shouldn't be too hard to make.

  4. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    Thats what people keep telling me, but i can't seem to find any information on the thing. Where could i get the correct parts from?
  5. The "thing" is so simple that it doesn't require a lot of research, or technology to create. The "correct" parts are whatever you can use to create the instrument - JUST LIKE THE GUY THAT BUILT THE FIRST ONE!

    I think I was one of the ones that told you that earlier but you didn't respond. It's sort of tough to understand something when you won't attempt to believe or understand any of the explanations offered.
  6. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    The whamola part doesn't ring a bell but I'd bet that you are talking about a "tub bass".

    I remember seeing a thread on building a tub bass that may show up with a search. Google should get you going in the right direction.

    If that's not what you're describing, I'm like Hambone, I'm lost too. :)

  7. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    I did respond, but i don't think my PM works very well, no one ever seems to get my messages.

    Google or yahoo dosn't help much, all i can seem to get is a bunch of concert reviews and an occasional picture.
  8. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Bad Brains - Go to the Primussucks.com bullboard: http://www.primussucks.com/frames/fbull.html and post this question. At least a few of the regulars there have built Whamola's and I've seen parts lists & plans posted and seen people comment on what worked and what they'd do differently if they were to build another. Ask the Claypool heads. While your there, say hi to Lupin and thank her for the photo posted in this thread. (and check out wildlupin.com for all kinds of great photo's) ...also, say hi to Dick Rush and tell him to please remove the block that keeps me from posting there anymore! :rolleyes:
  9. Pkr2, I think its different to the 'tub bass'. The tub bass is just a big metal washtub with wooden pole with some sort of string attached such that when you move the pole it creates different tensions in the string and also such that when the string vibrates it transmits the vibrations to the big washtub, which amplifies them. How you do that is pretty much up to your own creative desire.

    The whamola is fairly similar creature, though slightly different. I'm with Hambone, its actually a really simple device, to my knowledge exactly as SK said, a one string bass with an arm that varies the tension and in doing so the pitch of the note. Check the picture he posted, you can see the backbone of what it is (looks to me like a piece of square aluminium tubing) and if you've found other pictures I'm sure you can piece together the rest. Make it up, thats all the first guy did, at least you have a few pictures as a template.

    Josh D
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    That's interesting. I don't believe I've ever heard of one before now.

    Obviously, scratch my earlier post. :)
  11. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
  12. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
    I have been to that site before, it just says the usual it's a whamola and it can't be hard to make type stuff.

    Does anyone know where i might be able to obtain an aluminum chassie for this thing, and one of those handles/whammy bars you tighten the string into like in the photo posted above?
  13. ok, look at this picture i found: http://www.primallemon.com/claypool4.jpg

    it looks at me as if it is the following: a squared off aluminum tube with a regular upright bass pin screwed into the bottom. there appears to be a wooden fretboard (in this case, just a rectangular slab of wood that may or may not taper) to avoid getting the harsh tone of metal on metal. there is a makeshift bridge at the bottom that looks like a ring of metal that anchors the string. there may be some sort of pickup on there as well with an output jack to the side. the top crank area looks almost like half of a wrench.

    if you want to know the mechanics of how it works, more research would need to be done, i can see how one would use it to raise the pitch, by pulling down on the handle, but lowering it is a bit more confusing as you wouldn't be able to keep it at any sort of reasonable note.
  14. bad brains- you have a PM from me
    if you have difficulty reading or responding to it, you can e-mail me at skbasses@yahoo.com

  15. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains Banned

    Jan 7, 2004
    Detroit, michigan
  16. For your square tubing try a local hardware store, if they don't stock it (they should) they'll be able to point you to someone who does. The pup looks like half a P bass but installed with the poles parallel to the string and, by the looks of it, pretty much straight to the output jack (no volume, tone, etc), easy to wire.

    The arm is probly the hardest bit I can think of, because it looks like they have the arm and a kind of pulley wheel all in the same thingy. Spose you could carve the thing out of wood, mount a tuner and just cut a whole in the back and front of your tubing and you'll be laughing. Probly the way I'd attempt it.

    Josh D
  17. _BubA_


    Feb 2, 2004
    down south
    that is very wierd
  18. I know the Stove Whambola was built by a fan of Les and it was given to him. But If you've never heard it before check out "Whambola" by "Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade" If your into crazy stuff, your in for a treat. By the way the bubbly sound near the end of the song is done on the whambola, dont know how though.
  19. Rapscallion2112


    Apr 21, 2004
    hello, im a very amature luthier, im in the middle of building my first four string. but ya, im really intrested in the whamola. i first heard it on the flying frog brigade's purple onion album. it dosent look like it would be too difficult to put one of those together(it dosent look easy either). i may do it actually, ill post again if i made it and on how it sounds.
  20. Im a sock

    Im a sock

    Dec 23, 2002
    Central MA

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