This week’s funky instrument is a strange cousin of the washtub bass, a fusion fo whammy bar and viola, comprising the neck form a double bass with a string and with note changed by a lever-and-pulley system. The sound can be varies by hitting the string with a drum stick, fretting the string on the neck, or using the lever, with amplification coming from a bridge pickup and possibly metal stand.
It’s more of a homemade instrument than a professional luthier-made product, but can for that reason have a strikingly individual and funky sound. Les Claypool of Californian experimental rockers Primus is a particular pioneer and user:
The whamola also features heavily on the Les Claypool Frog Brigade's 2002 album Purple Onion. It’s an electrified more psychedelic version of that original skiffle band washtub bass.
Players also tend to be eccentric:
Where else have you heard the whamola, or its relatives, the various forms of washtub bass? Perhaps the gas-tank bass, barrel bass, box bass (Trinidad), bush bass (Australia), babatoni (South Africa), tanbou marengwen (Haiti) tingotalango (Cuba), tulòn (Italy) or the laundrophone?
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