BUCKET BASSA bucket bass is an instrument common in folk music. It is an alternative to a bass fiddle or bass guitar, but it is also an instrument in its on right. As an instrument, its nearest "relative" is probably the south asian ektara. The basic idea is to attach a string on a stick and a resonator, altering the pitch by a mix of fingering and of altering the tension by bending the neck.
This type of bass is really cool for travelling. Be stuck anywhere in the world, skip a bucket, a rope and a stick, go busking and get the next cup of coffee and bus fare together. Said and done, Jan started travelling the UK in 2005 playing his squeezebox and building bucket bass after bucket bass for people to accompany him. He then got sort of stuck in London, where he got discovered by Tim Flitcroft of the Lonesome Cowboys from Hell. At the time, the band had just lost their original skiffle bass player and was left with a tea chest alone. Jan quickly built a bucket bass, then, over the course of the years of rehearsing, he added a peg, a finger board, and a pedal. The result is a loud and versatile string bass instrument with a range of more than two octaves. Since 2008, Jan gets his bucket bass parts built by Peetamber who is a carpenter by profession. The result is the bucket bass model that we are advertising on these pages - design by Jan, and build by Peetamber. Hence the name "Tamberyan" model. You may feel free to contact us if you want one.
Similar instruments are common as "wash tub bass" in the USA, where it is popular in folk and blues, and particularely in jug bands and bluegrass bands. It can be heard in many early rock'n'roll tracks, there are recordings from artists such as Chuck Berry, the Beatles, and many more using this instrument - mainly in lieu of double bass or electric bass guitar. However, the "classic" layout of the wash tub bass does have neither fingerboard nor pedal and is thus quite a bit akward to play.
In the french speaking world, the bucket bass is called "contrebassine" and has gained some popularity over the last couple of years in a variety of styles. Again, most improvised models lack finger board and pedal.
In the UK, skiffle bands tends to play what is called a skiffle bass, or a tea chest bass. Based on the same idea, these improvised instruments use a tea chest instead of a tub as a resonator. This was made popular by Lonnie Donnegan and the subsequent "skiffle" boom. However, today's tea chests tend to be too light to make a good resonator, and the problem of how to fix the neck to the box has never really been solved, thus making a tea chest base an almost impossible instrument - if you have a tea chest, make it into a cajon instead!
The instrument is light, very robust, easy to take apart and assemble and, in comparison to bass fiddles and bass guitars, very affordable. We believe that along with the Ukulele and the Cajon, it will become the 21st centruries folk musicians tool of choice.