Picture of 2 String Paddle Bass
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:


Also, here are some references and inspiration:





Step 1: Materials

Picture of 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.
1-40 of 69Next »
owatson5 months ago
if you had more than 2 strings and only one pickup the outside strings might be quieter than the middle ones.
steve howe4 years ago
I never saw a bass like this before!
You can make music out of anything!
You can get individual machine heads and bass strings at Janikas Music Shop

st.paul (author)  steve howe4 years ago
thanks for the head's up!
coolguy20154 years ago
Dude where did u get those machine heads from??
st.paul (author)  coolguy20154 years ago
from guitar center. i didnt put on the little metal cover that goes over the gears.
How much do they cost??
st.paul (author)  coolguy20154 years ago
they were 20 when i got them, but i wont be surprised if they are more now.
ajleece4 years ago
This looks awesome, i want one!
st.paul (author)  ajleece4 years ago
nareto4 years ago
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..

You say you got your machine heads from guitarcenter, but the lowest machine head I can find there is for 59€, and you said total cost is 20-25$... could you give a link to the machine heads?
st.paul (author)  nareto4 years ago
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.
LucDaRocka14 years ago
hey wasup st.paul/ its me lukev2. i was the one who had the double neck idea and wanted to tell you that i learned longveiw but i changed some of the cursewords. when i played it in front of my greenday-loving friend she freaken freaked out........ another thing what kind of website do you learn bass tabs from? i use bassmasta.
MikeMazing4 years ago
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?
st.paul (author)  MikeMazing4 years ago
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
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.
dimmaz884 years ago
Hi, I love this instructable. I'm planning to make one of my own.
However, I'm going to cut the body out of pine instead of using a paddle.
Is pine ok? If not, could you recommend anything else?
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.
st.paul (author)  dimmaz884 years ago
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!
mrmerino4 years ago
so if you're playing your bass on a canoe,and you hit rough waters, you should make it water-proof :P
st.paul (author)  mrmerino4 years ago
i do love playing a tasty groove in the white waters...
LucDaRocka15 years ago
dude i love rowing in my inflatable raft and love playing my bass guitar. this is awesome. but i am going to change mine up a bit. i am going to put two oars together to put four strings. i always wanted a double neck guitar ,man i love you. but i am not gay.
st.paul (author)  LucDaRocka15 years ago
OH MY GOD, that double neck idea sounds like the best thing i think i have ever heard- please post a picture here when you get it done! lol thanks for the love also.
yeah ill post a pic. ill be done in february though i need some cash and ill get some for christmas to get the supplise. ive been busy wit school and stuff. itll take me bout two months though. btw i dont know how to put two paddles together. any ideas?
st.paul (author)  LucDaRocka14 years ago
hm, the first thing that comes to mind is to attach them together with sometime from behind, like a piece of wood smaller than the paddles or maybe use some of those thin pre-drilled metal bar connector things.
sounds good.btw i just wanted to share that i got a bass wha pedal which is soooooooooooooo awesome. another thing do you have any good songs that are easy to cool to play on bass like rock songs. wait do you even play a real bass?
st.paul (author)  LucDaRocka14 years ago
yea i play. that's cool about your wah pedal, they sound awesome. i only have a DS-1 distortion pedal- it's pretty alright for the price. do you mean songs to play on a paddle or regular bass?
regular bass. and btw my wha pedal is a bass dunlop crybaby. i really want a distortion or somthin. i brought over to my friends house so he can try it out on his plane electric guitar and it sounds awesome. we are playing our version of the red hot chili peppers cant stop.
st.paul (author)  LucDaRocka14 years ago
ok, idk if these are your kind of style but here are some easy songs for bass:
god hates a coward by tomahawk
sugar by system of a down
love buzz by nirvana
longview by green day
and of course every bass player ought to know seven nation army by the white stripes
YEAH I KNOW 7 NATION ARMY. I USED THAT SONG FOR THE TALENT SHOW.sorry my letters were in caps lock. my guitar was out of tune for it though. ive heard of longveiw and listened to it but im also a singer and it curses so i dont want to learn that song but ill try the others
st.paul (author)  LucDaRocka14 years ago
hm didnt know they needed to be clean too, i think love buzz is the only one on that list doesnt curse.
hahahahahahahahaha very funny. got any other songs? like are thease all rock songs? thats all i play. btw i went to my local music store and they have a gene simmons axe bass. they also have a flea bass. ill get one or another.
i heard love buzz im a learnin how to play it.
hahahahahaha yes sick idea mann
MrSalvador5 years ago
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 ?
st.paul (author)  MrSalvador4 years ago
thanks, good luck with your project!
sprockette5 years ago
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.
st.paul (author)  sprockette5 years ago
awesome, have fun! also you saying that made me think of... lol http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61XMW0r-d9I
hahahaha :P
Valeil5 years ago
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.
st.paul (author)  Valeil5 years ago
maybe on a plank or something wider, but not a paddle.
Valeil st.paul5 years ago
Alrighty (:
1-40 of 69Next »