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Looking for a jug - a musical jug

Wesley S 30 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 30 Apr 09 - 09:11 AM
Wesley S 30 Apr 09 - 09:38 AM
Roger the Skiffler 30 Apr 09 - 09:55 AM
Roger in Baltimore 30 Apr 09 - 01:22 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Apr 09 - 03:59 PM
irishenglish 30 Apr 09 - 04:54 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Apr 09 - 09:06 PM
DADGBE 01 May 09 - 12:04 AM
JohnInKansas 01 May 09 - 05:49 AM
GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC 01 May 09 - 06:36 AM
rt66 08 Mar 12 - 01:13 PM
Jack Campin 08 Mar 12 - 01:30 PM
Mo the caller 09 Mar 12 - 02:41 AM
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Subject: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 08:57 AM

I've been looking for a jug - for jug band music. My sister in law is supposed to be looking too. But she hasn't found anything in the last year - IF she's really been looking. Does anyone have a source for a good jug? For blowing into? For music?


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:11 AM

a stone demijon or semi-demijon available at all good (or otherwise) bric-a-bac shops in anytown UK.

The problem is to hold it effectively on a music stand - they are pretty heavy. Unless you want your hand to shake - then it would make a semi-demijon semi-demi quaver.

I'll get my coat............


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Wesley S
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:38 AM

In not IN anytown UK. This is north Texas. Currently a member of the USA.


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:55 AM

Some use a large plastic bleach or similar bottle (well cleaned out!). I use a glass cider flagon (it was hell emptying it!)but it is heavy. Gus Cannon seemed to use a largeish galvanised oilcan light enough to go on his neck rack but I haven't seen one like it on sale for years and a used one...no thanks!

RtS
(whether the sound I make on this or anything else constitutes music, I'd rather not say..)


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 01:22 PM

Wesley,

A gallon plastic milk jug is a good place to start. They are usually cheap and readily available. It will not have much volume or much class, but it will work. A gallon glass jug as Roger described above is also usable.    You can get a number of ceramic jugs of various sizes in new stores and antique shops. Since there are no "jug" standards, just try a lot of jugs until one "fits" for you.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 03:59 PM

Try them out in all sorts of places.

Friends have gotten used to me picking up items in antique shops (and elsewhere) and blowing into them. You are looking for something that has almost a "magical harmonic" with overtones...you never know exactly what it is until you hear it and say "AH- HA!" It might be crockery - it might be metal - it might be glass - realize that your "group" will need to tune to your bass note. You need to experiment with embouchure for each new object.

Have fun!

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: irishenglish
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 04:54 PM

Could I suggest as well maple syrup containers, as I think you still see syrup in that classic jug band shape. And it might be a total, total longshot as to if they would reply, but on looking at videos of Carolina Chocolate Drops, they use various sizes and shapes, so you could send them an email on their website or myspace and see if they have any advice.


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Apr 09 - 09:06 PM

The best resonance is obtained with a "jug" having fairly rigid sides, hence the customary recommendation for glass or stoneware. Within reason, almost any material can be used; but a really flabby jug will give a flabby sound.

An important requirement is that the "hole you blow" must be of a size that bears some relationship to the size of your mouth and isn't so big your lungs will collapse when you blow across it. (Few juggers blow sustained tones much. Most just "puff rhythms.")

There are no other requirements.

Since very few places will have cider in glass jugs in current markets (in my part of the US at least) you might check the nearest liquor shop for a gallon of Zinfandel. Cheap wines still come in glass jugs, gallon size, at fairly economical prices, and if you drink it really fast it won't go acid enough to be too objectionable before you've got a musical jug. (You can also use it for cooking, even if it gets a little "tart." You can also, probably, invite a few friends over for a jugmaking session - if you have friends willing to "sacrifice for a cause.")

For selection of "optional features," it may be considered that the pitch of the fundamental tone is inversely proportional to the volume of the air space inside the jug (a larger volume gives a lower pitch), but proportional to the area of the hole (a larger hole raises the pitch, but also rapidly becomes harder to blow). Once you find one jug that's close to the pitch you like, other jugs - regardless of shape - will be close to that pitch if they have the same volume and the same size hole.

It's probably easier for most people to reach the hole to blow if the hole is on an extended "neck." Your chin gets in the way if it's just an opening in the side of your '58 Ford muffler. A gallon cider (or cheap wine) jug is about at an effective minimum length, but a longer neck will sound pretty much the same if the hole diameter and total bottle volume are about the same, and may be easier to carry and to blow. A longer neck may make it easier to blow "overtones," but few traditional jug players whom I've heard use more than one or two overtones much. It depends largely on what the local traditions are, and how traditional one wants to be.

If you find a jug with an unpleasantly low pitch (unlikely) you can raise the pitch by putting a little water in the jug. When you get to about the right pitch, if you're sure you've got what you want you can dripple a little plaster of paris into the water and let it sit until it's hard enough to not fall out, for a semi-permanent retuning. If you decide you did it wrong, a 300 F (150 C) oven for a few hours should "un-hydrate" the plaster enough to crumble it out with a long stick, assuming the jug will take the heating.

In farm country, lots of people wrap a bit of burlap around their "field jug," and use a big needle to "stich around on it" enough to hold it in place. Wetting the burlap keeps the water cool while you're out havin' fun with a tractor. For a "musical jug," the burlap adds an "authentic visual appeal" and also minimizes the splattering of glass if the jug gets dropped. Recommended, if it suits you. (You can also claim "tradition" using a cloth diaper for a wrapper, if you soak a few times and let it "yellow" a bit.)

As advised previously above: If it's got a hole in it, blow it. If it sounds good, keep it. Otherwise there's not a whole lot of really useful advice anyone can give you beyond noting that the most commonly used jugs are about a gallon in size.

John


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: DADGBE
Date: 01 May 09 - 12:04 AM

The great jug player, Fritz Richmond, formerly with the Kweskin Jug Band used a 1.5 gallon plastic bleach container. While it had flabby sides, he could make that thing sing.


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 May 09 - 05:49 AM

The bleach bottless I usually get are 1.42 gallon, so they might need tuning; but bleach bottles do seem to be generally made of a somewhat "harder" plastic than others of about the same sizes, although the sidewalls aren't thick enough to contribute much "acoustic inertia." When empty, they'd be very light weight compared to most other good choices.

Regular "grocers" seem to carry mostly the 1 gallon size, but commercial (warehouse) stores should have the larger ones - very cheaply.

I also get (liquid) laundry detergent in the "120 loads" size, and while the plastic isn't as "hard" as in the bleach bottles it's a bit thicker, so I'd expect similar performance - although the detergent jugs tend to odd shapes so you might have to be "creative" about which hole to blow, and make sure that any other holes are fairly tightly sealed. They do (the ones I get) have a nice large handle that might be worth a look, if you intend to do anything "unusual" - requiring manual dexterity(?) - in the act.

John


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: GUEST,Black Hawk on works PC
Date: 01 May 09 - 06:36 AM

Posted earlier :-
a larger hole raises the pitch, but also rapidly becomes harder to blow

So would it be feasible to have 'bungs' with various hole sizes (pitches) to play along with different songs?

Pure curiousity - never played a 'jug' but love the sound.


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: rt66
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 01:13 PM

If you are talking about using it for jug band music, way back in the mid sixties I was quite the Jug band guy and still retain my love for that style of music! Anyway I met Fritz Richmond back ( Jug Player for The Jim Kweskin Jug Band ) and being a young aspiring juggist back then I asked him what was his preference for the best jug? He showed me his favorite-A white plastic Clorox Bottle! The best sound and I have never strayed from it since. As one of your replys said, crockery jugs are heavy and better situated on the shelf for looking at! Besides you can make a collage' on your Clorox jug or write what you like on it! I hope this helps, and by the way you might want to look up some Jim Kweskin records from back then, very cool, very funky, old timey stuff!


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Mar 12 - 01:30 PM

Gypsy jug playing in Hungary uses a different technique - you slap the top rather than blowing into it. But it's still a rhythmic drone. They go for galvanized metal.


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Subject: RE: Looking for a jug - a musical jug
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Mar 12 - 02:41 AM

Why do the call it a jug? A jug has a spout and a handle. These seem to be bottles or flagons will necks and holes.
When we sing Jug of Punch are we singing about a bottle? I suppose I've always imagined someone going across to the pub with a jug to be filled.


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