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Vicious_Squid

FINISHED! - Wheelbarrow bass

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So here she is, my creation: an upright bass made from a wheelbarrow (for ultimate portability!) - they said I was mad!

This instrument when finished will have a 43" scale length and will wear weedwacker (rockabilly) strings.

Note about this pic: This is not final positioning of the head-stock, just clamped to get a rough idea.

Full album is available here for your perusal: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jQTKj1hzPv8G117XA

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Well, I recognise the f-holes, so that's something.

O.o

With the handles removed, the portability of this unit is ... erm ... restricted, neh?

Am I right in thinking that this will be a 3-stringer? Unusual choice, that. Most converted wheelbarrows trhat I've seen have had four strings. :|

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1 hour ago, Happy Jack said:

Well, I recognise the f-holes, so that's something.

O.o

With the handles removed, the portability of this unit is ... erm ... restricted, neh?

Am I right in thinking that this will be a 3-stringer? Unusual choice, that. Most converted wheelbarrows trhat I've seen have had four strings. :|

During the 17th and 18th century the bass family diverged into two lines; the four string and the 3 string, with the 4 string version being used in Germany and the 3 string version being used in France, Italy, and England.
t was thought that the 3 string version had better tone. Then around 1800 there was a migration away from the three string version and then an abandonment a generation later when the old teachers died off.

3-string contra-basses are still pretty common in folk ensembles all over Europe.

Tuning for a 3-string (traditional) double bass is E A D (or E A G) and that's all I need. Also means fewer moving parts and less risk of breakage by overtensioning or overstressing the neck and head.

It is fully portable - has handles which are removable (not visible in the pics)

Edited by Vicious_Squid

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Today I made some hardwood ribs to add stability and provide an anchor point for the face-plate whilst also stopping it from contacting with the centre bar (resonant gap)

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16 hours ago, gypsyjazzer said:

In the USA the guys play a Washtube bass-------------(Google up)

Actually a "washtub"  bass and I made one in the 70's and had a lot of fun with it. In the US and Canada these things were/are the equivalent to the tea chest basses that developed in the UK,there is a shortage of tea chests on this side of the Atlantic.

I can't wait to see how this build goes, and of course we will expect to hear it! 😊  

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I might have more use for a wheelbarrow made from an upright bass, but watch this with interest...

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Explain please:  

The angle of the neck ... don't you need that angled back to fit a bridge under the strings?  Or are you going more for a huge acoustic bass guitar (ovation style but with a metal back!)

the cross bracing under the front bit (aka the table)... doesn't the table need to be free to move around as the strings vibrate?  I mean flat backed double basses have cross bracing at the back of the bass not the front, but then the fronts are bowed, so stable under load.  My flat topped acoustic bass guitar does appear to have the front (table) braced but the bracing is glued to the table so as to stiffen it up - so that matches the big metal ovation idea.

BUT

I can see you have fitted a sound post, which indicates a double bass bridge to come - which surely requires a bass bar on the back of the table to go with?

I'm intrigued by the whole project both as a bass player and an engineer!  Can't wait to see (and hear) the final thing!

 

On 20/02/2020 at 23:26, Vicious_Squid said:

Check out this beautiful concerto on a (traditional) 3-string double bass composed by Bottesini (a double-bassist pioneer in his time and one of my heroes):

https://youtu.be/QgZ_-f7pVk4

Fantastic; love it when he runs out of finger board and carries on up the bare string!!  You'd need longer arms than mine for that kind of virtuosity.

You will be playing that on the wheelbarrow I hope.

Edited by NickA

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15 hours ago, NickA said:

Explain please: 

The angle of the neck ... don't you need that angled back to fit a bridge under the strings?  Or are you going more for a huge acoustic bass guitar (ovation style but with a metal back!)

I can see you have fitted a sound post, which indicates a double bass bridge to come - which surely requires a bass bar on the back of the table to go with?

Thanks for your post!

The head is actually angled backwards by 10 degrees but not visible very well in the photo. I've attached a better picture to this post, you can clearly see the difference in angle between the two sections (neck and pegbox) - the mathematics check out. 

I'm an electric bass-player so my design is based on a 3-stringed hybrid of an electro-acoustic bass (ovation style) and an orchestral upright bass, so it will have a double-bass bridge. I'm not sure if I'll need a bass bar however, since the resonant cavity is huge and I think the hardwood ribs will suffice.  As you quite rightly pointed out, it has a sound post (1.5 inch wooden dowel) which will probably end up being glued to the face-plate. 
Since you're a fellow engineer I'd be happy to send you the technical drawings via email (don't want to share them here yet) and would welcome your advice since I'm really just making this up as I go along.

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Edited by Vicious_Squid

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On 20/02/2020 at 23:26, Vicious_Squid said:

Check out this beautiful concerto on a (traditional) 3-string double bass composed by Bottesini (a double-bassist pioneer in his time and one of my heroes):

https://youtu.be/QgZ_-f7pVk4

What a lovely tone...(and superbly played, of course).

 

I love one of the posts on that YouTube thread.

"The dislikes are from jealous violins"...:D

 

Great thread as well.

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hats off to you! Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Doesn't mean you shouldn't either! I'd fit a ball hitch so I could tow it behind the car to gigs but that might be a step too far

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OK!  Tiny Bridge hence the very low neck angle wrt the body. 

There is some double bass pedantry about neck angle and bridge height - I don't know the physics, I guess it's to do with leverage / transferal of string vibration to up and down bridge motion,  but "luthiers" are always looking at basses and saying "oh you could do with angling that neck back at bit more", when a smaller bridge would seem to achieve the same thing.  A lot of old Violins (Strads / Amatis / Guarneris etc) have been "modernised" by angling the neck back, fitting a taller bridge and strengthening the bass bar ... this supposedly gives a stronger tone.

Still not sure what your "ribs" are doing as I guess they aren't attached to the front / table.  You might still get a better sound out of it by attaching some structure to the table though;  ie on a normal double bass, the side of the bridge not sitting near the sound post is over the bass-bar, which then distributes the vibration to more of the table; also stops the table collapsing under the side of the bridge that isn't supported by the sound post.  Likewise an acoustic guitar has some kind of bracing under the table (there is a big "X" inside my acoustic double bass, between the bridge and the sound hole). 

Anyway ... great fun project & and now waiting to hear the rendition of Bottesini that is surely to come 🙂 🙂

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The front / table is attached to the ribs with screws and it will be glued next week when proper strings go on (right now the strings are just baling twine as a test - pretty loud actually!)

I'd like to see photos of what is visible of the inside of your double bass through the F-holes if you wouldn't mind sharing.

Yeah, tiny bridge 🙂 -- I don't know the physics either. In fact I've no idea what I'm doing, but it seems to be working so I'll just carry on! 

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22 hours ago, Vicious_Squid said:


I'd like to see photos of what is visible of the inside of your double bass through the F-holes if you wouldn't mind sharing.

Have to get a mirror down there.  But apart from repair patches there is only the sound post supporting one side of the bridge and the bass bar under the other side of the bridge. there is no bracing of the table at all, but it's arched of course and that helps it support the load imposed by the bridge.

The bass bar is a chunk of pine or spruce about 2cm wide, 40cm long and 3cm deep tapering to 1cm at each end.  But a normal dB has upper and lower "bouts" and needs the bass bar to transmit vibrations to each of them ...yours has one big "bout".

I'll see about photos when I'm next at home.

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