Picture of Make a Whamola
You definitely need a Whamola. What in the world is a Whamola? It's a simple one string instrument with a handle at the top to vary the pitch. This upright bass instrument is normally played by hitting the string with a drumstick with one hand and varying the pitch with the other like a whammy bar on a guitar. I was truly "inspired" to make one after watching a video, which defies description, of what appears to be Les Claypool enthusiastically playing a Whamola.


I embarked on a Whamola journey to make one in my garage with a goal of less than $100. During my Whamola research, I discovered Whamola Laboratories which makes and sells beautiful hand-made wooden Whamolas but I'm cheap and wasn't that fully committed to a Whamola to shell out $500+, but that's just me.

These are the steps I used to make my Whamola. The materials for this project came out to less than $100 which is odd because most of my projects go over budget. Using these steps and materials, your Whamola will come out like mine or you can pick and choose which steps you want and make yours unique. Either way, I'm fairly certain yours will look and sound different than mine which is a good thing because Whamolas are like people and no two are alike. Remember, you're unique just like everyone else!
sandmaniam made it!7 months ago

Made my own - and I am really pleased with the results!! What a crazy-good set of instructions! The materials list, photos and schematics were all very helpful and well ordered - so far the best I've seen.

I used an actual used bass pick up, purchased from a local shop, i think $15. Would still like to make my own, though. Tuning key, and jack were less than $10. Notice that I modified the design of the string holder at the base/bridge - figured this would prevent flex or bending.

gazillabytes (author)  sandmaniam7 months ago

Nicely done! Thanks for posting the pictures of your finished Whamola. Glad you found this instructable helpful. I've really enjoyed mine and it's also been great conversation piece as these 'fine' musical instruments aren't that common, especially handcrafted ones. Thanks for sharing.

Where does it say on here about what kind of musical wire you need?
gazillabytes (author)  blackdog04301 year ago

I used a bass guitar string. I think any guitar string would work but the bass strings last longer and in my opinion sound better for this fine instrument!

rimar20002 years ago
Good project, well worked.

After seen that Youtube video, it occurs to me that this instrument could ALSO be used to make music! ;)
gazillabytes (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thanks for your comments and good points on a Whamola's ability to produce "music". No lessons needed to learn how to play it and I don't think there are many openings for Whamola instructors!