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Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music

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GUEST,rabbitrevolution@hotmail.com 23 Dec 03 - 02:46 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 Dec 03 - 02:58 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,rabbitrevolution@hotmail.com 23 Dec 03 - 03:28 PM
PoppaGator 23 Dec 03 - 05:51 PM
JohnInKansas 23 Dec 03 - 07:31 PM
Leadfingers 23 Dec 03 - 07:51 PM
RWilhelm 23 Dec 03 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Rabbitrevolution 29 Dec 03 - 11:58 AM
JohnInKansas 29 Dec 03 - 03:11 PM
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Subject: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: GUEST,rabbitrevolution@hotmail.com
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 02:46 PM

Does anyone out there have info on bands that use a washtub in a noisier setting, along the lines of industrial music? I've had a concept for a "folk-industrial" project, with instrumentation of homemade or mechanical origin, without the influence of electronic instruments. I don't know how many people on this forum are into this sort of music, but any info'd be great!   I know it's not quite "traditional" music, by any means(!)...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 02:58 PM

Why not? I once saw a trio called "The Chickasaw Mudpuppies" that consisted of a very thrash-style guitarist, a bassist and a lead vocalist who sang from a rocking chair on top of an amplified stomp box on which he stomped in rhythm while rocking and playing a Zydeco rub-board. It weren't folk either.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 03:21 PM

Never heard of any such use for a washtub bass. They tend not to be particularly loud, so you might have to go to one of the more extreme designs for a washtub bass to stand up to "industrial strength" noise.

It strikes me that the "barn door bass" might be more appropriate than a tub. It's a "truly folk" instrument, played mostly by kids in the barnyard; but it's seldom seen in "organized music events," 'cause it's too hard to get the barn you've practiced with to go to the dance. With a little experimenting, you might be able to set one up to use both string modes for some interesting effects.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: GUEST,rabbitrevolution@hotmail.com
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 03:28 PM

Hmm, interesting ideas. How was the barn-door bass rigged up to produce sound?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 05:51 PM

Never constructed or played one myself, but I imagine you stretch a string from the outer edge of a hinged door to the jamb (or any stationary part of the barn), adjust tension/pitch by how far ajar you open the door, and pluck away! A barn must make one hell of a soundbox, I would imagine...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:31 PM

I thought the barn door bass had been noted enough to be familiar. Sorry about that.

The basic construction is to tie a rope to a nail or some such handy bit of hardware, preferably in the middle of a large flat surface - like the middle of the door. In acual practice, it probably works better to use a rigid wall of the barn than use just the door. If you do use a door, it needs to have a good latch to hold it shut while you play.

Almost any sort of rope will do, but the usual practice was to use something pretty heavy (compared to tub bass string). Quarter inch or so should work pretty well, although I've seen half inch used.

It's pretty much a two-kid instrument. One kid puts the end of the rope over a shoulder and leans hard to get enough tension to make the string (rope) "sound" good. The other kid does the "plucking," which is usually more like "grab, pull, and let loose" than just a finger flick. Inventive kids will find that you can make a more annoying sound by rubbing the edge of a board on the rope (as a bow).

The usual session lasts until maw can't stand the "thump thump thump" noise any longer, or until paw notices that you're fraying the s... out of his best manila. (If there's any livestock in the barn, they may also complain after a while.)

As with a tub bass, invention arises. A cousin of mine once tried hooking the tractor onto the rope "to get a better sound" and did some significant structural adjustment of the side of a fairly large shed. Fortunately, the sort of kids likely (in that era) to play this instrument are mostly reasonable adept at salvaging a few nails and applying appropriate percussion instruments.

A good rope length, for light rope, would be something like 10 or 15 feet, but experimentation usually leads to an ideal length of "as long as you've got." With a good, and fairly long, rope one can sometimes raise the "longitudinal" mode, by "stroking" the rope lengthwise. Since the velocity of a longitudinal "wave" on a limp string is about 6 times the velocity of the normal transverse vibration (very roughly, and only genericly applicable), the "longitudinal" note is about 2.5 octaves higher than the "transvers" not. It's possible, under ideal conditions, to make the rope "yodel" by exciting both modes in rapid alternation, although this is probably more likely to happen by accident than by design. It does require somewhat more tension to get the longitudinal "squeak" note than is necessary for pretty good thumping in the normal manner. Rope characteristics are probably also more critical; but it's been quite a few years (50+?) since I've messed with one of these.

The typical longer string length might make an instrument of this scale more adapted to using a wire or cable, which might give better longitudinal response. The kids I knew were never allowed this mod, due to potential damage to the structures, and the awareness of those hairy little cable whisker and the damage they can do. (And decent cable was 'way too expensive to leave laying around where the kids could mess with it.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 07:51 PM

A Microphone placed UNDER the washboard might do the job, or perhaps a transducer pickup fixed to the Tub - You would have to experiment with location for 'Best' sound.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: RWilhelm
Date: 23 Dec 03 - 10:58 PM

I saw a jug player once who played an enourmus pottery jug with a bung hole near the bottom. He had a tuba mouth piece fixed to the mouth of the jug band and a mic on the bung hole that he ran through a bass amp. Not much good for jug band music but might work for folk-industrial.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: GUEST,Rabbitrevolution
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 11:58 AM

I'm imagining the barn-door rig alongside an old gutted tractor played with some spoons...imagining a crazed jazz trio: barn-bass, tractor marimba/piano/drum-kit and the miked jug trumpet (probably more baritone-horn sounding, I'd guess). Definitely a band that wouldn't play out much, at least in MY area!

Excellent physics info on the barn-door concept, John! I desperately want to hear a yodeling building now.

Ben


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Subject: RE: Tech: Washtub bass in industrial music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 03:11 PM

It's been years since I've messed with anything long enough to get a decent longitudinal wave going. For purposes of experimentation, one might look for an old wire clothesline that's still standing. Thirty or forty feet is about right to get the sound, depending on how tight the wire is. It is, as I recall, a lot easier to get the sound on a metal wire than on a fiber rope. Unfortunately, most clothesline posts don't have much in the way of resonant surfaces, so you may have to stick an ear up against the post to get the "full effect." (In some parts of the country, it's best not to do this until the spring thaw. It can be akin to licking the pump handle on a cold day.)

John


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