Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cheap Instruments: Broom Pole and Wine Box Bass.

I've been doing a bit of research into 'primitive' instruments.
The Cigar Box Guitar (CBG), the Washboard and the Wash-Tub/Tea-Chest Bass.
I've been taking a causal glance at 'skiffle' from Britain's grey 1950's.

All my nosing about has resulted in this:
Broom Pole and Wine Box Bass
This instrument differs from the Biscuit Tin and Broom Pole Slide Bass in that I've reduced the action to the point where it can be 'fretted'.
At first I was tempted to leave it 'fretless' but...
(here's where it gets embarrassing)
I met myself in a dream and told myself to try using zip-ties as frets (!)
No, it doesn't look any less silly even after I've typed it.
Still, I gave it a go:
Zip Tie Fret
Works a treat!

One of the tuning pegs removed from the banjolele has been pressed into service and is behaving it's self keeping the instrument firmly in 'C':
Tuning Peg and Gold Finial
Originally I just bolted the pole to the base of the wine box which I left open at the back.
Mystic Roger suggested that I should try adding a sound-board as this would improve the volume.
This involved bracing the open side of the wine box which also provides the mount for the pole:
Brace and Pole Mount

I used an old piece of hard-board to test the idea and it works so I now plan to replace it with a thin ply-wood sound-board.
But, for now, here's what it looks like:
Sound Board
It sounds really good.
I finished it off with a set of Queen Anne Legs and it looks quite elegant.
I'm going to hand it over to the Midnight Car Park Ramblers to see if they can bash a tune out with it.

BTW I gold-plated the finial myself!
Oh, yes.


saradwyn3 said...

ohhh the legs are just beautiful...i have no musical inclinations whatsoever but i sincerely intended that as a compliment

Oldfool said...

Oh I like the zip ties as frets. I intend sometime in the future to use that.

OutaSpaceMan said...

Compliment accepted!
I think you'll find both this instrument and myself have beautiful legs.
I found them on an abandoned chair in a ditch.
Can't remember where I got the ones for the bass.

Two things to bear in mind.
The position of the 'join' is important.
Make sure it doesn't interfere with your hand's free movement.
And, this is the 'trade' secret, a blob of super-glue behind each fret.