This questionnaire is designed specifically for players of the tea-chest bass (or bush bass, as it's known down under.) This form can be printed and filled out by hand, or it can be filled out on-line at http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/TCBQuest.html.

Of course there are many such things which are not strictly speaking made with tea chests. Let's just say that if your bass uses a rectangular wooden box, this is the survey for you, and if it uses a round metal tub, then you should do the Washtub Bass Players Survey instead. It can be filled out online at http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/WTBquest.html, with a printable version at http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/WTBPrint.html. People with in-between instruments can pick whichever group they identify more with.

Check the boxes for your basic responses, but feel free to add further comments in the margins (especially where you check "other"!).

Your responses will (someday) be summarized in a new section of the Washtub Bass Page devoted to the tea-chest bass, and also be forwarded to Jim Uticone, who is currently at work on a book about the Washtub Bass and its kin and cousins around the world. The more detail you provide, the better! (No one's name or personal information will be used without their permission.) And your feedback and ideas about a future WTB/TCB/OSB (One-String Bass) Gathering can help make these events exciting, entertaining, and educational for all.

Mail your completed form to Lauren Miller, 4839 Black Swan Drive, Shawnee, KS 66216. Anyone who'd like to volunteer to translate this questionnaire into German, French, Spanish or any other language, PLEASE contact Lauren Miller at the above address (e-mail tubotonia@netscape.net), or David Badagnani at davidbadagnani@yahoo.com


1. Name (required) ________________________________ Zip/Postal Code ________

2. City ___________________   State_____________   Country ________________

 Street Address (optional) _____________________________

3. E-mail? __________________ 4. Phone (optional)  (     ) ______-__________

5. Do you currently play the tcb?
     [ ] yes           [ ] not now, but I used to play
     [ ] no, never played      [ ]other

6. Whether you play tcb now or not, how many years have you played?
     [ ]1 or less      [ ]2-3      [ ]4-5      [ ]6-7
     [ ]8-9      [ ]10-12     [ ]other or more than 12

7. Did you ever have music lessons (on any instrument)?
     [ ]no       [ ]yes, but not on the tcb
     [ ]yes, and on the tcb in particular      [ ]other
8. What other instruments do/can you play?
     [ ]none      [ ]upright (wooden) bass     [ ]electric bass
     [ ]acoustic bass guitar (ABG)      [ ]guitar      [ ]other

9. When and where was it that you first heard or saw a tcb?

10. What was your first impression of the instrument, at this time?  

11. At what age did you first start playing a tcb?  

12. What were your thoughts about it, at the time?  

13. Was there a specific person whose playing (or encouragement) inspired you to take up the tcb?  

14. Do you play tcb with a regular group or band?
     [ ]yes, that's my main tcb activity      [ ]no-- I mainly jam with whoever's available
     [ ]no-- I'm mainly a solo act           [ ]other

15. If so, what other instruments are used in it?
     [ ]guitar or similar instrument           [ ]banjo or similar instrument
     [ ]violin or other bowed instrument      [ ]sax or other woodwind
     [ ]trumpet or other brass      [ ]drums or other percussion      [ ]other

16. What style of music does the group play (mainly)?
     [ ]jug band /skiffle      [ ]dixieland      [ ]jazz/swing
     [ ]stringband/"old-timey"      [ ]bluegrass      [ ]country     [ ]other

17. With a band or not, what style do you personally like most to play?
     [ ]jug band /skiffle      [ ]dixieland      [ ]jazz/swing
     [ ]stringband/"old-timey"      [ ]bluegrass      [ ]country     [ ]other

18. Do you have other musical talents?
     [ ]sing      [ ]read music      [ ]compose songs      [ ]other

19. Do you play along with recorded music?
     [ ]no, or rarely     [ ]in practicing     [ ]in public performance     [ ]other

20. If you play with recorded music, what musician/band/album do you especially like to play with?
21. Who's your favorite musician/musical group?

22. What's your favorite recording featuring tcb?

23. Any further comments on tcb and musical styles?


24. What is the resonation chamber on your TCB?
     [ ]a box formerly used to ship tea     [ ]box like a tea chest but made specifically for
      music     [ ]some other sort of wooden container      [ ]other

25. Where did you learn how to make your TCB?
     [ ]just picked up the idea from tradition      [ ]worked from printed plans/illustrations
     [ ]patterned my tcb after another I'd seen      [ ]improvised my own design      [ ]other

26. In playing position, what's the orientation of the box?
     [ ]vertical, i.e. on end      [ ]horizontal, i.e. on its side      [ ]other

27. Is there a "sound hole" cut in any of the panels of your TCB?
     [ ]yes (please indicate how big it is, and where it is located)     [ ]no      [ ]other

28.Is the bottom enclosed, or left open?
     [ ]enclosed     [ ]open     [ ]other

29. What do you prefer to use for a string?
     [ ]clothesline/similar multi-strand cord    [ ]weedwhacker line/similar monofilament
     [ ]wire (e.g. aircraft cable)    [ ]musical instrument string (specify which)      [ ]other

30. How is the string attached to the pole?
     [ ]looped around a groove iin the end     [ ]led through a hole (or holes) in the end
     [ ]attached some other way

31. In what other ways has the box been modified?
     [ ]corners reinforced     [ ]feet/legs on bottom     [ ]top reinforced to support end
      of pole     [ ]box dismantled and reassembled     [ ]internal bracing of side panels
     [ ] hole/socket added to stabilize end of pole     [ ] other

32. How is the neck (stick/pole) positioned on the resonator?
     [ ] fixed (firmly attached to the box)     [ ] floating (not fixed, but remaining upright
      even when not being played)   [ ] rocking (must be held to be upright)     [ ] other

33. If a rocking neck, where does the neck pivot?
     [ ]on the top panel      [ ]on the edge bracing      [ ]other

34. Any additional comments on tcb construction?


35. What's the lowest (acceptably musical) pitch your tcb will produce (approximately)?
     [ ] bass low E   [ ]F   [ ]G   [ ]A   [ ]B   [ ]C   [ ]D   [ ]guitar low E   [ ]other

36. What's its range (approximately)?
     [ ]less than an octave      [ ]about 1 octave      [ ]about 1.5 octaves
     [ ]about 2      [ ]about 2.5      [ ]other

37. How do you stabilize the tcb when playing?
     [ ]it needs no stabilization      [ ]foot on top of resonator chamber (tub)
     [ ]foot on bracket attached at floor level        [ ]other

38. What do you do to better hear the pitch of the note?
     [ ]just listen real close      [ ]press stick against head/ear
     [ ]use an extension (e.g. tube, thumb) between stick and ear      [ ]other

39. How do you change the pitch of a note?
     [ ]only by rocking the neck      [ ]only by fingering/pressing the string against the neck
     [ ]only by flexing the neck     [ ]only by moving a lever (pump action)
     [ ]a combination of the above techniques (please explain)      [ ]other

40. Do you use a "capo", or some such device that sets the point where the open
     (unfingered) string takes off from the neck?          [ ]yes          [ ]no          [ ]other

41. Do you ever "bow" the string?
     [ ]never      [ ]sometimes, with a bass bow     [ ]sometimes, with some other sort of
      bow/agitator      [ ]other

42. Any further comment on tcb playing techniques?


43. Do you play through an amplifier/p.a. system?
         [ ]never     [ ]sometimes     [ ]always, or almost always     [ ]other

44. If so, what electronic equipment do you typically use?
     [ ]microphone      [ ]guitar-style (magnetic) pickup
     [ ]attached (piezo, ceramic) pickup      [ ]some other arrangement

45. If you use a microphone, what type/brand do you prefer, and where do you place it
      relative to the instrument?

46. If you use a contact (piezo) pickup, what brand/type is it, and where do you place it
      relative to the instrument?

47. Any additional comments regarding amplification?


As you may have heard, there was recently a gathering of washtub bassists, in Trumansburg, NY. It featured demonstrations of building and playing techniques, seven performances by bands using tub basses, much hobnobbing and comparing of notes, etc. This was a lot of fun, and there's since been talk of having another such event for one-string basses (OSB) of all sorts.

48. As a measure of your interest, what's the farthest you would travel to attend such an event?
     [ ]about a block      [ ]up to 50 miles      [ ]up to 100 miles
     [ ]up to 500 miles (maybe)      [ ]other

49. Would you be interested in organizing or helping to organize one in your area?
     [ ]organizing      [ ]helping to organize      [ ]performing on stage
     [ ]conducting a workshop/discussion      [ ]other

50. In your area, what town/setting would you suggest as an especially good one for a One-String Bass) gathering? (Just for comparison, Trumansburg is a laid-back small town not far from Ithaca, and the Gathering took place in the "Rongovian Embassy", which serves Mexican cuisine and 137 varieties of exotic beer.)

51. As a tcbassist, have you been featured in the news, on tv, radio, etc.?

52. What do your family and friends think of your interest in the instrument?

53. What other hobbies, interests, and leisure time activities do you enjoy?

54. If your tcb is painted/decorated, how did you do it?

55. What kind of work do/did you do, for a living?

56. How many other tcb players do you know of, in your area?

57. Would you like to be listed on the Washtub Bass Page's Registry of One-String Bassists? (Be sure we have your city/state/country back in question #2.)     [ ]yes      [ ]no

58. Would you like to receive a summary of the results of this survey and news of OSB- related events? (Be sure we have your complete address in question #2.)     [ ]yes      [ ]no

59. If you know any other OSB players who would like to take this questionaire, please let them know it's on the Internet at http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/TCBQuest.html, for tea-chest players or http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/WTBQuest.html, for washtub players. Or, if they don't use the internet, give us their mailing address and we'll send them a copy of the survey.

Thanks for your participation. If you have any further ideas/comments about the tcb -- construction, playing, music, gatherings, etc.-- or about this survey, please use the space below to let us know.

Plunk in Peace,

Lauren Miller, David Badagnani and Jim Uticone

Please mail your completed form to Lauren Miller, 4839 Black Swan Drive, Shawnee, KS, USA 66216.