How to Make a Whamola

whamola stringing and playing

If you’ve ever wanted to combine the extreme note-bending capability of a trombone with the obvious awesomeness of a bass guitar, maybe a whamola like this one could be for you!  I’d never heard of one until recently, and haven’t picked up my bass in years, but my much more musically inclined cousin and I decided to build one.

It should be noted that this instrument is quite prone to string breakage if the handle is used too forcefully, so caution should be used both when building and playing.  As with many hacks an old piece of equipment, a bass guitar in this case, was partially sacrificed to make it.

The build itself, outlined here for the main assembly, or this post for mounting the electronics, was quite simple.  It took an afternoon of milling machine and miter saw work to get the 1 3/8 inch square piece of wood cut to size.  Cavities for the electronics and a slot for the handle axis (components for a screen repair tool and a bolt) were cut with the milling machine – a router could also be used.  It turned out to be a ton of fun to play, especially with an amp and distortion pedal.  Check out the video after the break to see us playing it, as well as one of the whamola going together!

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    … and now, ladies and gentleman, I give you Les Claypool https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd_wc-8azd8&feature=related

  2. derpa says:

    Try it with a bow for a bass! Even sound, undulating pitch…

  3. FartFac3 says:

    if he used an ebow this unit would actually create some music…

  4. Chris C. says:

    Heh. My first impression was that Primus would *love* this instrument.

    Then Rob posted the video with someone in an animal mask and suit playing it, which is ironic (and entertaining). C’mon Mr. Krinkle, tell me why?

  5. Maker Faire Attendee says:

    That looks a lot like the Slaperoo (a variant of the whamola made out of aluminum bar stock and a steel strap from a shipping crate) that I saw Andy Graham playing at Maker faire.

    Neat sound.

  6. myk says:

    Kinda like a cut down Blaster Beam.

  7. aperson says:

    Funny how the videos on this post got to be on the main page, but on every other post they don’t…

  8. sureshotstudio says:

    les claypool nice and all… i give you mark sandman from morphine!!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M34iZH4-qkI (rip) btw this is just electified wire… nothing new… they used to do this in the 20’s 30’s and before… if you wanna see a cool cnc’d real bass with a pitch bend look at the bass made by alex from fablab amsterdam……19 hours of cnc he slept beside the shopbot to get it done….

  9. n0lkk says:

    So when the hackaday staff jug band going on tour? When they do will there be modern day Barbi Benton & Misty Rowe eye candy on stage too? While I really don’t know much about it but isn’t putting a tuning peg on this like putting a tuning peg on a wash tub bass? In the event a warning to wear safety glasses or a face mask is needed why not use less of a lever?

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