Homemade Instruments: Washtub Bass

Posted by 5 on

Homemade wash tub bassContinuing in my quest to make jug band musicians out of each and every kid exposed to this blog, I'm going to follow up my previous post on making a cigar box banjo with something to fill out the low end - a washtub bass. This classic hillbilly instrument is easy to make, fun to play, and makes laundry just a little bit harder to do. You need:
  1. A galvanized metal washtub - get this at your local hardware store.
  2. A wooden pole - a broomstick works fine here.
  3. Two metal washers, two nuts, a large eye screw, and a bolt
  4. A length of medium-weight rope.
  5. You'll also need a drill and bit that can get through the metal of the washtub.
Instructions: Start off by drilling a hole in the center of the washtub to let the eye screw through. This is a grown-up job, as children lack the trigonometric knowledge to accurately judge the center point of the circle. Also drills and metal are a little bit dangerous. While you're drilling, drill a hole in one end of the pole for the bolt. Screw the bolt into the pole so it's sticking out from both sides.  Put the eye screw into the hole with a washer on each side and the nut at the bottom, and tighten the assemblage. Cut a groove into the end of the pole that doesn't have the bolt on it so it fits on the lip of the washtub. Finally, cut your rope to about eight feet and tie one end to the eye screw. Wrap the other end around the bolt in the pole and tighten it until it sits at about a 30 degree angle when the pole is resting on the lip. Tie it off so it's tight. Now you should be ready to play - drop the lip in the groove, pull on the pole to make the rope tight and pluck it to make the washtub resonate with that classic bwoom sound. Have fun, jugheads!

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  • Great post. I will be facing some of these issues as well.

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  • You are so interesting! I don’t think I’ve truly read anything like this before.
    So good to discover someone with a few genuine thoughts on this issue.
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    up. This website is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!

    Lorrie on
  • Some of us olld huys have been talking about doing this! What size washtub is best? They come in several sizes and I suspect the size has a lot to do with the tone and scale (bigger tub, lower notes?)>>

    Gary on
  • I see that you have some app postings here, too, so…Also maybe check out our wash tub bass app for iPhone…just search for wash tub bass on the app store! Let us know what you think!

    de/creative on
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