A one-string bass violin made from two washtubs, some plywood, a Louisville Slugger, and some weed whacker line.

Louisville Slugger Puts This Bass On Base

One of the most recognizable instruments in both jug band and American folk music has got to be the washtub bass. Also known as gutbuckets, these instruments tend to use an old broom for a neck and usually have a single string.

A nifty DIY wooden tool for turning a wingnut with ease.We would argue that the design of [goaly]’s single-string double gutbucket owes something to the double bass of the violin family as well, with its figure eight shape. On top of those tubs is a plywood soundboard, which is screwed into a series of wood blocks around the lip of the tubs.

For the combination neck and fretboard, [goaly] called up a vintage Louisville Slugger, which is way more interesting than some old broom handle. [goaly] extended the backbone through the body with scrap lengths of 2″x2″, and this spine runs through both tubs and acts as a peg on the bottom. In lieu of a tailpiece, the string is tied to a board that the player secures with their foot.

Although [goaly] experimented with steel cable, clothesline rope, nylon rope, and paracord first, the string is made from weed whacker trimmer line. At the top, the string is attached through the neck — it’s held down with a couple of bent fender washers and pulled taut with a wingnut. We love that [goaly] even fashioned a wooden tool to make it easy to turn the wingnut. And we also love the DIY bridge, which looks like a little person.

There are a couple of ways to make sounds with this thing. Fretting and plucking work, of course, but so does bending the whole thing backward to change the pitch. For a good time, do both. We think it sounds nice and thump-y, and it even makes great percussive sounds on the front and back. Check it out in action after the break.

Don’t have a washtub? A wheelbarrow works too, and it comes with its own stand.

Continue reading “Louisville Slugger Puts This Bass On Base”

Lawn From Hell Saved By Mower From Heaven

It’s that time of year again, at least in the northern hemisphere. Everything is alive and growing, especially that narrow-leafed non-commodity that so many of us farm without tangible reward. [sonofdodie] has a particularly hard row to hoe—his backyard is one big, 30° slope of knee-ruining agony. After 30 years of trudging up and down the hill, his body was telling him to find a better way. But no lawn service would touch it, so he waited for divine inspiration.

And lo, the answer came to [sonofdodie] in a trio of string trimmers. These Whirling Dervishes of grass grazing are mounted on a wheeled plywood base so that their strings overlap slightly for full coverage. Now he can sit in the shade and sip lemonade as he mows via rope and extension cord using a mower that cost about $100 to build.

These heavenly trimmers have been modified to use heavy nylon line, which means they can whip two weeks’ worth of rain-fueled growth with no problem. You can watch the mower shimmy down what looks like the world’s greatest Slip ‘n Slide hill after the break.

Yeah, this video is two years old, but somehow we missed it back then. Ideas this fresh that tackle age-old problems are evergreen, unlike these plots of grass we must maintain. There’s more than one way to skin this ecological cat, and we’ve seen everything from solar mowers to robotic mowers to mowers tied up to wind themselves around a stake like an enthusiastic dog.

Continue reading “Lawn From Hell Saved By Mower From Heaven”