| Updated 5/5/04|
©2004 Lauren F. Miller
|Table of Contents||Welcome||News Flash||Washtub Bass Notes||A WTB Revival?|
|Welcome to Tubotonia's Washtub Bass Page. It's a focal point and clearinghouse for information on all aspects of the WTB-- who plays one, where to hear one, how to make one, and so on.|
You can navigate The Washtub Bass Page in a number of different ways. From the Table of Contents you can jump to any Section heading or specific topic that looks interesting. You can read a content overview of the entire site in the Washtub Bass Notes column on this page, and choose where to go. Or you can take a tour of the latest crop of WTB pictures by following the "Next Pic" links.
|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
|MAIN PAGE:||WELCOME||WTB NEWS||WASHTUB BASS NOTES||A WTB REVIVAL?|
|CULTURE SECTION:||WHAT IS A WTB?||THE WTB SPECTRUM||RECORDINGS||WTB FACTS|
|BUILDING SECTION:||WTB DESIGNS||BUILDING TIPS||THE TUB-O-TONE|
|WEB WTB SECTION:||BAND LINKS||COLORFAST QUOTES||WTB FORUMS||MORE LINKS|
|WTB TECH SECTION:||WTB STRINGS||MIKE A WTB?||TALE of a TUB|
|PICTURE TOUR|| ||WTBassist REGISTRY|| ||PICTURE GALLERY|
|VIEW GUESTBOOK||SIGN GUESTBOOK||E-MAIL the WTB PAGE|| TUBOTONIA|
| The Big News in the World of The Washtub Bass is that there is, at last, a Gathering of Washtub Basses and Bassists, Sunday/Monday July 25-26 2004 in Trumansburg, NY [Click for map.] A local T-burg establishment, The Rongovian Embassy, at 1 E. Main in Trumansburg, is hosting the event, which comes right on the heels of the 13th Annual Grassroots Festival. For more information watch the WTB Page, or contact the festival organizer Jim Uticone.|
|Sho' Nuff Blueswoman|
|WASHTUB BASS NOTES|
|The newly reorganized WTB Page is divided into six major sections to make for faster downloading and easier navigation. The Table of Contents, with links to all areas of the site, is here in the Main Page, as is the latest news of the WTB world and about the WTB Page itself. Finally, there's an editorial piece on the future of the wtb. |
The theme of the TubCulture section is the place of the Washtub Bass in a historical and musical context. It includes an explanation of the washtub bass idea, an overview of the WTB's role in the current musical scene, and a collection of facts and trivia from washtub history. Finally, there's a growing list of recordings using a washtub bass.
The WTB on the Web section features a roster of the websites of current bands featuring the wtb, a collection of comments about WTBs gleaned from internet discussion groups, plus links to the internet forums where WTBs often discussed, as well as a collection of links to other WTB-related sites.
In the WTB Building section we survey a number of different WTB concepts and a collection of design and construction tips contributed by WTB players from around the world. There is also a description of the fabulous (at least in the eyes of its inventor) Tub-O-Tone.TubTech deals with two topics near and dear to WTB Players: strings and mikes. That section also includes an account of my travels with the Tub-O-Tone a few years back.
The Picture Tour will take you through all sections of the WTB Page, following a chain of the latest WTB pictures which winds up at the WTB Gallery, where our collection of several dozen WTB photos is on display.
The WTBassist Registry is a list of WTB players from around the world (130 or more that latest count). Please Sign Our Guestbook-- you can check a box there to have your name added to the registry. Or ask to be added to the WTB e-mail list whether you play the tub or not-- we'll send you news of special events in the world of the Washtub Bass (and nothing else.) View the Guestbook to read what others have said.
If you have WTB-related information, or a picture you'd like to contribute to the Gallery, e-mail it right to us! (If anyone would like to work up an editorial essay, or account of their WTB experiences, we'd be happy to publish it on the Page.)
Join in the discussion of WTB issues at Tubotonia's String Things WTB Forum, or other discussion groups listed in the Forums column of the WTB on the WEB Section, where you can read choice web-derived quotes or follow links to the web pages of WTB bands or other WTB-related web sites.
We have recently changed our URL and e-mail addresses. Our email address is tubotoniaREMOVECAPSTOSEND@netscape.net. (All email addresses given on the Page have been modified with REMOVECAPSTOSEND, so you must remove the capitalized phrase to send.) firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com are no longer valid addresses. //tub-o-tone.com will no longer be functioning after July 2004 and Tubotonia's Main Page is now located at http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/tub-o-tone.html. The Washtub Bass Page is http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/tublinks.html.
The Washtub Bass Page is laid out using Comic Sans MS, and thus probably looks best if you have that font. Click here to download-- it's free.
|A Concert of Guitars|
from the Cigar Box Guitar Museum
|A WASHTUB BASS REVIVAL?|
|I believe we may be entering an era of renewed enthusiasm for the washtub bass. |
The main front of development would appear to be the resurgence of country-rock or bluegrass-oriented acoustic bands composed of younger musicians. Although I am no musicologist, nor musico-sociologist, I would offer the guess that, among musicians and their audiences alike, this is reaction away from dependence on electronic equipment and studio refinement-- or, at least, that it is a function of cultural currents and the tides of fashion.
But there are other, more fathomable, elements which could either drive a WTB resurgence or enable it to go farther and in different directions than previous renewals took it. And they may extend the range of that resurgence to well beyond the territories of bluegrass and country.
A significant factor could be the high cost of entry-level acoustic basses. You may not care for the sound of an electric bass, or you may just prefer the simplicity of the acoustic instrument. Then you behold that $700-$1000 price tag, and you have three choices: give up (your bass instincts), cough up (the cash), or take up (the washtub bass.)
While I am guessing, here are a couple of other conjectures on factors that could fire a washtub bass resurgence. One would be a serious depletion of the number of used acoustic basses in circulation, just because previous waves of bassists started electric and stayed electric and fed nothing into the acoustic market when they upgraded. Besides, like anything else, these acoustic behemoths must suffer a certain mortality. A box six feet tall, three feet wide and made of thin wood has to have its liabilities.
Even changes in the economy could have a bearing on the matter, with a chain of causation starting as far away from the topic as the reduction in average car size. What was the limerick about the young man from Boston, who drove around in an Austin? I believe it went on the say he had room for his bass and a gallon of gas. But that was the old days-- now you may have to choose between gas and bass, unless you opt for the relative portability of a washtub model.
But there is a fundamental fact behind the whole scene, which may do the most to prolong and encourage a washtub bass revival, and that is, that the musical potential of the washtub has by no means been fully explored. As creator of the Tub-O-Tone, I have been experimenting with WTB design for several years, and two things have continually impressed me: how backward the standard design is, and how much more the tub can offer, with the assistance of some 9th-grade physics.
Being of backward design does not mean that the traditional WTB can not produce excellent music. But it does mean that it is a lot more difficult than it ought to be, if you happen to lack the hand-ear coordination of a Washtub Jerry or the callusses of a ditch-digger. And it means that the technical limitations of the instrument form a rather low ceiling over the musical productiveness of the player.
I expect that situation to change greatly over the next few years.
|Every Tub on Its Own Head?|
Pic Cribbed from the Daley's OheK site.
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