Whamola help

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GabeN, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    Hi guys, I'm looking to build a whamola and info on this freaky beast is hard to find so I'm looking for some help.

    First, I want to make one out of wood instead of the steel bar everybody uses. I've got a truss rod from an old squire strat but I'm not sure if that'll be enough strength for the neck. It won't be too thin necked, probably about 1 1/2 or 2 inches at the nut thick.

    Will this be strong enough?

    What strings do I need? I was planning on using a slinky B string since they're common but I've heard of people using double bass strings.

    What scale length should it have? I was planning on using the longest scale that the string would work with since the whamola doesn't really intonate per se but advise here would be nice.

    Anybody have a starting point for winding my own pups for this beast? Just a few links or a how to would be great.

    Thanks for your time guys. I appreciate all the help I can get.
  2. jaredcurtioff


    Jun 29, 2008
    I built one out of wood about a year ago.

    I made the body from ash and the fingerboard out of rosewood.

    you don't need to use a truss rod due to the thickness you're going to want to have for your neck.

    I think I went with a 42" scale for it and used upright bass strings.

    I've tried different strings ( e, a, d, g) and found that the A string works well.

    I used a cheap pickup that I bought off ebay for a couple of bucks, but I'd get a legit pickup if I was to do it again.

    most of the parts you'll need you can buy in lowes.
  3. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    Do you have any pictures? How thick is the neck around the "head" and at the end of the fingerboard? Did you make it out of one piece of wood? How did you run the grain? What wood?

    I think I'm going to end up laminating 3 pieces of wood for this. I think rotating the grain will really help stiffen it up.
  4. Yvarg

    Yvarg Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Lake Forest, CA
    For strings, go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy the thinnest uncoated, galvanized steel cable they have. I tried double bass strings and bass guitar strings, but they all snap too easily. I couldn't afford to keep replacing them so I tried out this cable because at around 13ยข per foot it was the cheapest I could find (and it was plenty strong). The only reason I've ever replaced strings on my whamola since then is because the knot I put in the cable will sometimes pull itself through the hole. They don't sound too bad either; it has a tone best described as "zingy". Good luck!
  5. OptimusPrime


    Mar 30, 2008
    I built one last winter. I made mine out of a square aluminum tubing, a wood hammer handle, some L brackets, some other random parts and a strat pickup. I use steel cable from Home Depot as the string because it's so cheap. I think I tuned it to A too. A couple of friends who have played it want one like mine, so I might make a few to sell to my friends.


    I want to attach a cowbell to it.
  6. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    I'm looking to make something more refined than a steel tube with cable. More like a double bass with one string and a whamola handle.

    I really appreciate the info guys!
  7. OptimusPrime


    Mar 30, 2008
    No, I totally get it. Mine is really ghetto and industrial looking. You want something more fancy. :D I like my ghetto and industrial looking whamola though. I don't know why, but I have busted 2 tuning machines with it. They broke long before there was anywhere near enough tension on the string/cable. Anyone think they know why?
  8. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    What tuning machines did you use?:meh:

    I dunno, I'll see how wood works out. I want to kind of use this to cut my teeth on building real basses but if it doesn't work out I might do the industrial thing to get me by.
  9. OptimusPrime


    Mar 30, 2008
    $10 Allparts ones. But I didn't want to spend $20 to get a real brand in case they broke. :(

    This took me about 3 hours to build. The painting took a day to dry, but only about 3 hours of real work. And cost about $50. The steel tubing is incredibly cheap. This kind will certainly get you by.
  10. yububba


    Oct 15, 2008
    Its made out of a piece of aluminum square stock, with a wood handle and wood bridge so theres no grounding problems. only cost fifty bucks to make.The pictures tell the rest also happy to answer questions!

    Attached Files:

  11. Gubna


    Oct 21, 2006
    San Francisco
    how does it sound? any clips?
  12. do you need to put a volume pot on it, or will just an output jack work? I totally want to build one now.