The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55454   Message #861719
Posted By: JohnInKansas
08-Jan-03 - 01:37 PM
Thread Name: Washtub Bass String Question
Subject: RE: Washtub Bass String Question
My tub double bass uses a tuned string and a fingerboard, instead of relying on just varying the string tension. Used this way, almost any of the common gutbucket strings stretch 'way too much to stay in tune.

The "ideal" string - for this kind of bucket - is lawnmower starter cord. It's a tightly woven (braided) cord that doesn't stretch (much) after your get it tightened up, and has a platic "impreg" on the surface that keeps it smooth on the fingers - and more or less water-proof.

Note that the starter cord comes in at least two sizes - a heavy and a light - and the lighter weight works much the best on my instrument. I bought a "reel" so I'd have replacement strings, but my original has been on there for over 10 years now and doesn't show even a respectable amount of wear.

For a typical "broom handle" bass, one of the heavier "weedwhacker" cords is probably better - simply becasue you can stretch it a little.

Buying a "real bass" string for a tub borders on the ree-dik-yew-louse, since one of those puppies would cost more than the rest of the instrument; but if you can find one that someone took off to re-string, it might be worth trying. Trouble is, I think those guys only change strings about once per century, so you might have a long wait.