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Wash tub bass. What have you been impressed by?

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:20 am
by Mark Wybierala
I've built the basic washtub bass and even employed a piezo pickup and an active preamp in one with an electronic tuner. A little added feature was a laser pen that would shine on to the ceiling so that if you wanted a reference pitch, using the tuner and the laser you could look at the ceiling and know where to angle (pull) the neck to be in tune.
I wondering what people have seen in washtub construction that set a better standard for tone. I'm thinking of making a tub from scratch and using something like precision 3mm aircraft plywood (5-ply) for the sound board. I think I found the ultimate string material from an industrial weed wacker line which manufactures line up to 0.130 with a kevlar core.
Share what you know.

Re: Wash tub bass. What have you been impressed by?

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:42 am
by Karl Wicklund
I watched a guy playing a stand-up bass with a washtub mounted in line for the body. He'd fabricated a Baltic birch plywood lid, which then finctioned as a sound board. The rest of it was built to resemble an upright, with bass guitar tuners mounted in the scroll head. It still had pretty good washtub thump to it, but I still can't decide if the whole thing enhanced or underminesd the WTB aesthetic. It's stuck with me, though. You can find a lot of similar builds if you google it. Dennis Havlena has one.

Re: Wash tub bass. What have you been impressed by?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:02 am
by David King
I think you'll want a heavier string to hit the lower notes. A tub that has circumferential ridges in the bottom will pull up nicely. I'd experiment with a resonator but I'd say don't over think it, it's a washtub bass and either you're going to play it in tune or you won't. Most folks listening won't tell the difference.

Re: Wash tub bass. What have you been impressed by?

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:18 am
by Mark Wybierala
The whole issue of a washtub is the aestetics. I've seen some people play who had skills but the tone of a standard washtub with its galvanized steel bottom soundboard and swinging neck tuning is very limited. I've played around with a number of string materials and the recipe for solid tone is mass and minimal stretch if you want low notes.
I just want to mess around with the concept

Re: Wash tub bass. What have you been impressed by?

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:38 pm
by Rob Collins
The best - sounding tub bass I've ever tried was designed by my late and sadly missed friend Marko Van Der Horst.
His partner Shelley published instructions here: http://shelleyrickey.blogspot.co.uk/200 ... -bass.html

After much research, the best sounding tub was found to be the 90 litre "eco" tub from here: http://www.kreuwel.com/en/product/tub-9 ... gory_id=10

The stick is six feet tall - a broom handle just is not long enough to get a solid bass sound.

For the cord, I have used electrician's fish tape to good effect. The short piece of plastic pipe slid over the cord is slid up and down the stick to hit the notes and also saves your hand from fatigue.