Washboard!

Trev

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I play washboard in a jug band-style group in Sydney, called The Jugalug Stringband, doing early 20C jazz and pre-western swing. Good fun little band, and playing washboard means I only have one bag to carry! I love it! Check us out here: http://www.jugalugstringband.com

Cheers,
Trev
 

JoePasko2002

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Cool ! I play washboard, spoons, rhythm bones, jews harp, Cajun triangle, assorted drums and cymbals, etc., in an acoustic band. We used to do more jugband tunes back when we had our original banjo player, as that was his thing. Our new banjo player is more straight-ahead bluegrass guy.


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JoePasko2002

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What kind of washboard do you use ? Do you attach auxiliary percussion objects to it ?
I play this old MaidRite, and put the other percussion out in front of me. (so I have much more than one bag to carry, but that's okay)

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here's Banjo Bob, our newest member :

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Medium Size Dog

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My washboard remodel: Cut off stubby legs, cut notches and put on upholstery tacks for guiro type sounds, put on some tambourine jingles, cut off some 7a sticks and use either end, little piece of bungee cord keeps sticks from getting lost, thrift store necktie keeps it hanging.
 

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Trev

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Nice boards guys! I have a MaidRite and a DublHandy as well, but the board I use most is un-named, and some of the Aussie ones have what's known as "ripple-wash", where the rills curve gently instead of being dead straight. I think the Columbus mob had a similar design, but the ripple-wash, as far as I know, is uniquely Australian. I play sitting down with the board flat on my lap (crossed leg), a couple of cowbells, woodblock and a cymbal. Sometimes I add a set of skulls that the guitar player found, but then that means more to carry!! I think I'm just getting lazier in my old age...

Here's the only pic I have on hand, note the ripple-wash plus a piece of galvanised iron across the top, which came from a kiddies swimming pool!

Cheers guys and happy scratching! Maybe we could swap CDs?
 

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JoePasko2002

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Wow, yeah, I've never seen the ripple style. I always choose the 'spiral crimp' over the straight corrugated, as it is better for playing with wire brushes, which is what I mostly use on washboard. I use the retractable brushes, so I can also use the loop-ends, if I want that scratchy zydeco sound.

MSD, I Iike your upholstery tack idea !! I may have to steal that idea. Other than one cowbell, I never accessorized my boards too much. (I don't use washboard on every song, so I guess I prefer my percussive doo-dads out in front of me.)

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I also made this washboard/stump-fiddle/boombas hybrid. I don't use it in the bluegrass band, but I always bring it out when I do gigs with my accordion-playing friend, Captain Squeeze :

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Trev

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I use gloves with aluminium strips glued around the fingertips. Traditional metal thimbles tend to fly off, or split and slice up your fingers, so I've found the gloves work best. I love your set ups though, Joe. Is that small tom connected to the board? I've been toying with the idea of adding a drum, but the gloves make it difficult to hold a stick or brush. Right now I've been enjoying the "minimalist" approach - all in one bag so I can carry it easily and then get a bus or cab to the gig instead of driving. That way I'm also able to enjoy a beer or three on the gig!

MSD, your DublHandy looks bigger than mine. Here it is with the MaidRite (I included the can of Guinness for scale...)
And I just realised - front loading washing machine in the background! Purely unintended, but quite apt, don't you reckon? :)
 

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JoePasko2002

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Trev said:
Is that small tom connected to the board? :)
That's an 8" black tom connected to my percussion stand. Or, if you meant this :

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... it's just a mini-sized "one egg" frying pan !
 

Trev

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Ha ha! I meant the 8" tom. So not on the board then. Probably a good idea, weight-wise. Particularly if you're standing up or moving about, which you seem to do. I sit on a drum stool, so it's virtually like playing a drum kit, and I'm not free to move about. How's the frying pan sound?
 

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Great to find more scratchers out there! I use thimbles, metal and plastic brushes, chopsticks, etc. One thing I discovered is those little plastic skewers that come with the edible arrangement fruit basket bouquets. You can hold one or two of them in each hand to play quietly, more to get louder and they're tapered. You can tape or glue some together like blasticks or rods. If they break, so what. The Dubl Handi washboard I have is 14"x 8 3/4" or 36cm x 22cm.
JoePasko2002 FYI if you want to do the tacks you can't just hammer them in. That wood is HARD I guess to be durable and stand up to being wet. You'll bend a lot of tacks or split the wood. I got tiny drill bits (Rockler or Woodcraft type stores) about the diameter of the tack spike, drew a line to accurately space where I wanted the tacks and drilled a bunch of pilot holes about 1/2 to 2/3 the length of the tack and tapped them in. It takes a light touch and you still might break a couple of bits but it made the job go much more smoothly and saved a lot of frustrated hammering. It will also be easier if you crank up the Clifton Chenier or the Zydecajuns while you're doing it.
 

JoePasko2002

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Trev said:
Ha ha! I meant the 8" tom. So not on the board then. Probably a good idea, weight-wise. Particularly if you're standing up or moving about, which you seem to do. I sit on a drum stool, so it's virtually like playing a drum kit, and I'm not free to move about. How's the frying pan sound?
Yeah, here' a close-up of that. Plumbing pipe for DIY tom arm. 2 percussion trays..one is store-bought and one made from cigar box.

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The frying-pan on the boombas sounds good, when used in the right spot ... "p-ting".
 

JoePasko2002

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Medium Size Dog said:
It will also be easier if you crank up the Clifton Chenier or the Zydecajuns while you're doing it.
Yeah,love that stuff ... Wayne Toups. Queen Ida. Keith Frank. etc.


I've sat in with zydeco bands and played the over-the-shoulder rubboard... borrowed from someone else. I don't have one of those yet ...always been more of a traditional wood-frame WB guy, myself.
 

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I have one of those galvanized wearable models with the integrated should straps. I don't have any opportunities to play Zydeco, so most of the time I am using it in other settings. Last song I used it on was a scorching fast version of Remington Ride.

I must try the gloves with aluminum strips trick. Most of the time I use it while playing the hat and kick; banjo picks, church keys, butts of drum sticks etc have all had their issues.
 

JoePasko2002

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Patrick said:
banjo picks, church keys, butts of drum sticks etc have all had their issues.
Many of the zydeco bands today are basically rock bands with accordion [instrumentation-wise]. Rubboard played with bottle openers cuts through 2 electric guitars and drum set perfectly, and gets everyone's juice going. But for acoustic settings, or just something more subdued, not sure what striker works best with a rubboard. Maybe that's where the old-school washboard comes in better. There's room for both in this world.


More than happy to keep yacking washboards here. I've been doing the folk/hillbilly/vaudeville/found-object percussion schtick for decades.. only recently did I start bringing cymbals and 'drum-set' drums into the act. Which is why I joined this forum, and I have been learning so much.

Back to topic. If you are ever in New York City, check out the Ebony Hillbillies. If they are not at a club or theatre, then you might find them playing on the Times Square subway platform. Their washboard player is Newman Taylor Baker. he is also well-known as jazz drummer. You see, Trev, he plays lap-style like you. And he uses shotgun shells on his fingers.

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Trev

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I like the shotgun shells! I'm not into guns at all, but that's cool. There was a guy here in Sydney who used to gaffer tape the sockets from a socket wrench set to his fingers. Sounded great, but took a while to get ready! He also made a washboard out of the metal edging from one of those old laminate kitchen tables we used to see in the 50s/60s. It had some serious volume!

I'd love to hear these guys. One of these days I'll get to NY...

I have to say it's not often I get to talk washboard with anyone, so I'm enjoying this too! Do you get that glazed, faraway look from people when you start talking about your gear? :sleepy2:
 

DrumGerry

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I love this guy:


All the young ladies on the dance floor...the washboardist is the new lead guitarist!

Plenty of other vids on the toob.
 
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Trev

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What's he got on his fingers, are they regular metal thimbles? I'll have to have a better look at him later, I'm at work right now and they kind of frown on us watching music vids during business hours. I wonder why?? (We need a washboard smiley icon...anyone know how to do that?)
 

DrumGerry

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Trev said:
What's he got on his fingers, are they regular metal thimbles? I'll have to have a better look at him later, I'm at work right now and they kind of frown on us watching music vids during business hours. I wonder why?? (We need a washboard smiley icon...anyone know how to do that?)
Possibly custom made? The bibs that Zydeco players use are often custom jobs. I dare say the companies that make them provide accessories.

A little lesson from the man:

 
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