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This bass is made from a wooden boat paddle, a piezo buzzer, weed eater strings and a few other odds and ends. For what it is and how little it costs (20-25 dollars with all new parts), the quality of sound is unbelievable. If you're thinking about taking up bass or already do and just want to have something different, this definitely would be worth making.

Here is a rough (aka bad) video to demonstrate how it sounds with no effects:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieT9CX5Z6sk

Also, here are some references and inspiration:

http://sawdustandsolder.googlepages.com/twostringfretlessbass

http://www.instructables.com/id/Electric-Stick-Bass/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dShY08_0q90

http://tbeamguitar.blogspot.com/

Step 1: Materials

42" paddle
machine heads
metal casing from hanging work light
1" piezo buzzer
1/4" jack
thick felt with adhesive back
two different gauge weed eater strings (I used .65 and .80 that I tuned to E and B)
various nails and screws
a pencil split down the middle

As far as the paddle goes, I used a SeaSense from Wal-Mart, but I'd suggest to try to get one from a sporting or camping store mainly because mine seems flimsier than others of the same brand but from another store.

Also, the machine heads can be either for a bass or guitar; a guitar machine head can hold a piece of .80 weed eater string with no problem.
if you had more than 2 strings and only one pickup the outside strings might be quieter than the middle ones.
I never saw a bass like this before!<br>You can make music out of anything!<br>You can get individual machine heads and bass strings at Janikas Music Shop<br>http://www.janika.co.uk<br><br>Steve
thanks for the head's up!
Dude where did u get those machine heads from??
from guitar center. i didnt put on the little metal cover that goes over the gears.
How much do they cost??
they were 20 when i got them, but i wont be surprised if they are more now.
This looks awesome, i want one!
thanks!
great project! just made one myself (had all parts at home) - it sounds incredible for how it's made. Only thing not so good is machine heads, I used those from an old classical guitar, but they're too small for bass cords..<br><br>You say you got your machine heads from guitarcenter, but the lowest machine head I can find there is for 59&euro;, and you said total cost is 20-25$... could you give a link to the machine heads?
thanks, i'm glad you like it! idk what has happened with machine heads in the last year or so but they have sky rocketed in price. not just at guitar center but also every other store that i have looked at. i couldn't find any other heads like the exact kind i bought so as far as a place to buy them, i can only suggest to check ebay's 'buy it now' prices (or bid if that's your thing) for a good price. i just did a quick search (on the US and UK ones) and found quiet a few sets of four fairly cheap with free shipping. i hope that helps.
hey im thinking of doing this project. great idea dude! so did you have the low string e and the high b or the other way around? cause i was thinking of making it like the bottom two strings on a bass (low e and the a). What would you recommend for a bridge other than the felt stuff? cause i know thats just gonna mute it. and how are the weed wacker strings quality? would you recommend i get regular bass strings?
thanks, they are tuned low b and low e. for something different on the bridge i would try something like thing (especially if you are going to use metal strings), but only notching the bridge piece<br>http://sites.google.com/site/sawdustandsolder/fittingapiezopickup<br>as for weed wackers vs metal, i like the weed wackers for this project because they have a mellower sound, are easier to fret, and have less tension needed. that being said, i have a regular bass for using metal strings and using frets, so i mostly use my paddle as an upright and sometimes for that fretless bass guitar voicing.
Hi, I love this instructable. I'm planning to make one of my own.<br>However, I'm going to cut the body out of pine instead of using a paddle.<br>Is pine ok? If not, could you recommend anything else?<br>Thanks
well ive never seen a bass made out of pine, the cheapest ive seen is basswood so id go for that. i dont play bass i play guitar and mahogany is my preference.
thanks, im glad you like it. as far as what to make it out of, i have to admit i really do not know much about carpetry or woodtones. that being said, pine seems fine, but i would suggest doing some research just to be safe. good luck!
so if you're playing your bass on a canoe,and you hit rough waters, you should make it water-proof :P
i do love playing a tasty groove in the white waters...
Very nice project, but I think I might try to make one with a different object, flat for a fretboard? Anyway, it taught me a lot that will help. Who knew guitars were so simple :P ?
thanks, good luck with your project!
My friend moved here from Barbados last year for school, and is constantly slappin the bass. I think I will make this from a canoe paddle for his birthday, in Canadian spirit and all.
awesome, have fun! also you saying that made me think of... lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61XMW0r-d9I
hahahaha :P
Instead of using 2 weed eater strings, is it possible to fit 4 actual bass strings? just curious, because I've been meaning to learn to play bass and this seems like a pretty cool way to do it.
maybe on a plank or something wider, but not a paddle.
Alrighty (:
maybe something like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSgpBingUyM&amp;feature=related
do u have to use a paddle? like could you use something else?
no, you could use anything you want and think you can play on- like a hockey stick, sturdy 1x2, whatever. of course, you'll probably have to change a thing or two on the build depending on what you do but that's part of the fun of making something original!
what would you recommend using if you cant find the light cover?
really anything that fits the criteria of covering the pickup while letting the strings ring and be used as a mounting point for the jack. maybe a vertically halved hard plastic cup, just off the top of my head- you can probably find a better fix.
What do you use for the bridge? The felt would mute the strings, so it can't be that, right?<br />
no it is felt- it's to work like a vibration filter for the piezo.&nbsp; but you are probably right, i'm sure it does mute it some but i use mine mainly as an upright bass substitute so i works out good for me.<br />
did you just wrap the piezo in felt or something? Im having a little trouble understanding how the felt and piezo go together
basically, the felt is self-adhesive and i put i square of it on both sides of the piezo.
ok sounds great! thanks a lot!
I think our bass player would freak if we made one of these for him...gotta build it.
This looks awsome man. Gonna start building right now, just a few questions first: I'm not from the us, so a piezo is one of those things that makes a bzzt bzzt sound like on an alarm clock right? second, I just thought instead of a paddle I'd use a big ol' wood plank. So I could get four strings, so I thought, again I don't live in the us so dunno if finland has weed hackers, we have something similar propably, but could I just use some real bass strings? sorry for the long sentance and all the sos.
yes thats a piezo. if you use regular bass strings i would suggest putting the piezo under what you are using as a bridge in something like a hole made for it just deep enough for the piezo to touch the bridge and still have some force on it. that way, all the pressure of the strings (over 100 pounds- or 45 kg- of force) doesnt break the pickup. or another idea would be to make that plank and strings as is and then find a place on the plank that the piezo can pick up a lot of vibrations, like against the wood in front of the bridge. i just tried that last one with my paddle and it works ok but its nowhere near as loud. i hope that helps you and good luck on your bass!
huh. looks like machine heads are 20&euro; a piece in my local music store. Buying fore would be as expensive as re-buying my current bass. Is there anything else I could use as machine heads? like screwss or something?
http://www.instructables.com/id/cigar-box-guitar-in-one-hour-the-Uncle-Crow-way/ i cant testify to how well this works since ive never done it, but its the first plans i could find. i hope this helps
Favored and I'll be making this as soon as I have the time/money... Great thanks!
thank you!
love it. don't play bass, but still wicked!
thanks!
Could that pickup idea be used on a real bass guitar? I'm going to start building one, and this could save me lots of time making pickups.<br />
probably if you used it&nbsp;under something to work as a bridge (or maybe&nbsp;below a store bought one.)&nbsp; also you could try under where the neck joints to the body.&nbsp; if i where you, i'd do some research into how musicman (and other&nbsp;companies) have&nbsp;basses that have a piezo pick-up under the neck. thanks for the question.
Ok, cool. I&nbsp;have purchased a bridge and will put one of these Piezo pickups under it somehow. I'm also making one of these as a side project. Thanks for the 'ible.<br />
no problem, good luck and let me know how everything turns out.<br />
You might try more massive strings and see how they sound. Normally a bass is tuned with E, A, D, and G strings. This makes it easy to play without having to hunt all around for the notes. And you really need three strings to play a full octive without sliding your left hand all up and down the neck. Any way you can get a bigger paddle?? "Weed wacker" strings can be bought for the bass. I believe they come as follows: E - 0.170 A - 0.130 D - 0.115 G - 0.095 Or you can go to the hardware store and get them. You have to use the round strings, though. Most of them are shaped to cut grass.

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