1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Washtub Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by mattzink, Apr 6, 2003.

  1. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    hey guys and gals
    hope all is well. i'm going to ask this question, knowing that i could get teased merciliessly for doing so. but anyways. . .

    i'm thinking about constructing a washtub bass. i never would've considered it until i saw a street musician in new orleans playing one with a guitar player about 8 years ago. let me tell you - it was phenomenal. the guy was doing walking bass runs on the thing. i could not believe it for even two seconds.

    has anyone out there ever made one? (will probably post this in the double bass forum as well, where the jokes might have a lot more venom) anything i should know about making/playing one? the big question i have is what material should i use for the string? are there any good websites dedicated to this sort of playing? thanks a ton. just curious, matt
  2. 72beetle


    Jun 10, 2001
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I made a washtub bass when I was 15 or 16 - used a nice unfinished broomstick and a coated nylon clothesline for the neck and string. It had a pretty good sound and was fun to play, but ultimately the line pulled out of the hole in the bottom of the washtub (even though I had it washered to the hilt) from the constant variance in tension. It was fun though, and quite strange to watch being played :)

  3. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    The Question is how are you going to wire a J-Retro preamp into that damn thing?
  4. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    very carefully.
  5. notduane


    Nov 24, 2000
    go fer it!

    Put Wi...a certain-eBay-retailer, outta' bidness :)
  6. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    My dad made one when I was a kid. I've still got the base, I'll have to get it up and running by Bass Summit time...

    If I recall correctly (it was many a year ago...) it used something like a 1x2" piece of lumber for the neck, with a rope that went thru a hole in the washtub and terminated with a 1" pc of dowel to keep it from popping thru.

    I think it attached to a hook on the top of the 'neck.' I used to wear a leather glove and grab the neck as high up as I could and wack away!

    I think I've still got the washboard he used to use in his jugband too.

    Man, now I'm going to have to stop by Lowe's tomorrow...you've inspired me to resurrect that sucker!
  7. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
  8. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    I'm making one. Except, instead of a washtub I'm using a 55 gallon (approximately 220 liters) steel drum.

    For washtub bass you need one foot on top of the rim to stabilize it. Same with the 55 gall drum, but I can't get one foot up that high. So, I'm standing on top of it as I play it. This has revealed some issues of balence and stability, so I'm fabricating a wooden stand to keep it stable and also to keep the bottom open mouth off of the ground for better sound projection.

    I'm also thinking of getting the bellmouth from a brass instrument to stand in the bottom so that the curvature of the outside of the cone better directs the sound outward from inside the drum.

    The basic design is finished, but there's still some refining to do.

    I'll post pics when I'm done with it.
  9. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    What, no J-Retro?
  10. BassAxe


    Jul 22, 2002
    Culpeper, VA
    One thing at a time.
  11. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY