Acoustic bass guitar uses water jug and two strings


It’s easy to dismiss this one at first glance. But once you hear [Tychsen81] playing the thing you’ll want to know more.

He posted the demonstration way back in 2009. It wasn’t until a year later that he filmed the particulars of how the thing was made. The strings are actually bass guitar strings, an A and D string that are tuned down to E and A to play along with Black Sabbath’s “Ironman”. The neck is made out of two boards. One serves as the fingerboard, which is fretless. The other is mounted under that in order to provide negative space for the bridge while keeping the strings at the right height for the fingerboard. The water bottle helps to amplify the sound and that’s why the bottom end of the strings pivot on the bridge, pass through the neck, and are anchored on the bottom edge of the bottle.

We’ve embedded both the demo and the build videos after the break.

If this gets you thinking about making your own instruments you will also be interested in the Whamola.

“Ironman” Demo:

Build video:

[Thanks Herb]


  1. Vampyredh says:

    Reminds me of the shoe box and rubber band banjos we made as a kid but totally cooler!

  2. TheYikes says:

    I could build this easily all i’d need then would be a few years of intensive guitar lessons!!! :)

  3. qwerty says:

    Well done and interesting contrabass-like sound btw. Somewhat it reminds me of the Dearmond Ashbory bass.

  4. Bob Fleming says:

    Dammit! I watched the sample video about half an hour ago and haven’t been able to get the Ironman tune out of my head since!

  5. Alejandro Segade says:

    May be you are interested in this little musicians:

    See you

  6. DainBramage1991 says:

    This is the very definition of a cool hack.

  7. commfreaks says:

    This instrument is not going to be displayed at the Hard Rock Cafe anytime soon, but it is very cool nonetheless :)

  8. echodelta says:

    Would look great alongside my plastic jug drum kit!
    Don’t expand that to 3 strings, that ruddy piece of pine won’t take it. Go with maple or an metal stiffened wood fret board. Get the soft layers of cardboard and shims out of the bridge transmission path, use hard material cut down not layered up. Plastic is plastic, not up to constant stress. However the plastic in these jugs is tougher than most.

  9. Hirudinea says:

    This is the greatest advance in Jug Band technology in years!

  10. heatgap says:

    OK…admittedly bad ass.

  11. H_Powell says:

    Yay!… I sent this in on the tip line :)

  12. This could save me a few dollars on my next purchase of an acoustic bass!

  13. Matthew says:

    Surprising how much volume you were able to get out of it. I would expected it to be quieter. On the next one make the neck out of a broomstick for max jerry-rigging effect!

  14. This is the very definition of a cool hack.

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