WashTub Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by rtslinger, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Okay it isn't for me lol
    I have a friend no really and he plays in a jug band he has a washtub bass and I have been trying to help him get the best sound out of it. It is one string under the tub is a mic that is plugged into a 30 watt bass amp. My problem is when you pluck the string it holds the note to long not sure if a compression pedal is what I need or change the amp pickup setting to active instead of passive just trying to get the upright bass thumb from it. I know it is a strange ? but, any help would be great
    Thanks guys
  2. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    Hey Mods, can we have this moved to the Washtub Bass Forum? :confused:

    j/k, but a compression pedal is the opposite of what you need for your problem description, they typically prolong a note's level.
  3. Hi.

    I'd move the mic to the top side first, perhaps with a rim clamp, like the drummers use.

    A graphic EQ, or better yet a multi-band parametric, would probably help too.

    I might be completely off here, but isn't the "stick" hand fingers supposed to control the sustain?

    And no, I've never played a tub-bass.

  4. Lug, I was thinking it would squish it? if I adusted the attack
  5. Sam no the stick hand does not touch the string it is not the fretted style but the type you pull back on to tighten and loosen the string the problem is it sustains too much he like I said is just looking for a kickdrum thump sound and if you put the mic on the outside of the drum it picks up everything but the string as you can guess it is not a pickup but a bud type microphone he has an Eq on it but it doesn't remove the sustain I have tried
  6. mrpackerguy

    mrpackerguy Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2004
    Madison, Wisconsin
  7. HogieWan


    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    Have you tried sticking a piezo onto the tub?
  8. my high school has a tub bass, it's ridiculously weird to play. lew london is the coordanater and it belongs to him. what he does is he mics it with a sure sm57 underneath, usually suspended some how.
  9. Hogie yes he had tried that the Tub makes a sound each time you pull back on the stick so it picks that up and not the string He has mic under the tub with a rug underneath this so far has given him the best control over feed back and alike. He is just looking for less sustain not sure how else to put it. It is a different animal than we are used to for sure I have toyed with it trying to help him out it is as MM Playerrr put weird to play
  10. In my experience, the way to reduce the sustain is to mute with your stick hand. At the top of the stick, where you pull it, the string is close enough that you can get a finger or two on it.
  11. add a foam mute where the string attaches to the bucket?
  12. Hi.

    It's been a really long time since I saw one in action, but I think the string was attached about 10 cm or so from the stick end and the player used his ring finger and pinky to mute. AFAIK he used a piezo contact mic with some kind of a outside pre (gutted from an acoustic? ) and we just threw a DI-box in there. Didn't look where the piezo was located as it was just one of the folk-acts that day. The tub was a PITA to handle though, it just didn't sound at all acoustic when amplified to fight the violins and an accordion IIRC. And forget the monitor feed...;).

    As a matter of a fact I think that the horrible sound was the reason I wasn't all that interested about the concept, I usually am when there's a neat DIY possibility.

  13. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I used to use one all the time. The string I used was nylon clothesline from Wal Mart. The best results I got were when I laid a 57 under it and rolled off pretty much all the low end until you could hear the attack of the finger. It's very boomy inside those washtubs. Might need to boost the highs and upper mids up a little too. The idea is to be able to hear the finger going across the string and make a thump, then there won't be as much power from the amp pushing those lows into sustaining as the note decays.

    EDIT: I did a couple other things too, like duct taping padding on the bottom of the tub to deaden it and always keep a foot flat on the bottom. The bottom is the resonator so it controls a lot of the sustain, too.
  14. There you go- I think Jimmy's got it.
  15. Thanks Jimmy, I think that might be the answer and thanks to everyone else for their ideas I knew you guys would come through for me!
    Fellow Bassman
  16. Hoover

    Hoover Inactive

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I have nothing more to add to this thread, save this bit of levity from my youth:

    I had a washtub bass when I was a teenager. Didn't play it much, so when I went off to college I left it in my parents' garage, along with all my sports paraphenalia & my bicycle.

    First time I came back from college to visit (Thanksgiving freshman year, I think...so I'd only been away three months max) I discover that my Dad had sawed all my hockey sticks, all my lacrosse sticks, & the "neck" of my washtub bass down to make tomato stakes for his vegetable garden!

    and he was raising earthworms (for bait) in my washtub!
  17. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    I agree with Jimmy. Grab some duct tape and foam and start experimenting with insulating the tub.
  18. dmrogers

    dmrogers Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Eastman, GA
    Just for the heck of it, check this out!
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    Primary TB Assistant

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