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The Unwound Third => Gitfiddles, Harps, Washboards & Kazoos => Topic started by: CF on August 17, 2006, 08:30:24 AM

Title: Kazoos!
Post by: CF on August 17, 2006, 08:30:24 AM
I've been playing kazoo for a number of years now & I've been having trouble finding one that holds up. I tend to buy the plastic Hohner (?) ones from my local music store but what do other kazooists recommend? I remember picking up a metal kazoo, an 'American Kazoo' perhaps. Any suggestions?
Title: Kazoos!
Post by: Blue Poodle on August 17, 2006, 04:57:13 PM
This is not an endorsement, but these look interesting:

http://www.thekazooguy.com/

Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Richard on August 18, 2006, 12:42:00 PM
Yes... I bought (dare I admit it  :-X ) a metal one in a music shop in Oxford very recently... if you are in the UK and want the info email me or something and I'll find out the name... I know they do mail order!!
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Richard on August 21, 2006, 12:34:10 PM
This is now heading down the path of the sort of things guitarist's talk about, like the black plastic picks are better than the white ones........ or worse still, in the drummers world, the age of the cow the batter head came from   :P  we'll be onto tennis racquets next  :-X
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: waxwing on August 21, 2006, 07:43:20 PM
Well, don't buy the ones made by "The Original Kazoo Company". They suck. And the replacement membranes they sell suck, too, so don't think you can resurrect an old one with a broken membrane with their product. And the funny thing is the kazoos they now make have a crimped membrane cover, not the screw in cover of old, so you can't even change the membrane without bending it all up. The tin body is much lighter weight and bends somewhat when you mouth it a bit hard. Whimpy buzz, too.

Fortunately, I have one I had purchased as a teen in the '60s. One of the red and blue ones. I offered it to Buzz Wise as an alternative to his fairly modern one and he was pretty amazed at the difference. Much easier to get the buzz going and way louder. As yet I can't get the membrane cover off as it seems to be corroded a bit, but when I do I'm essentially going to try to find the right material to make my own membranes. I always thought it was waxed paper but someone told me they thought it was fish skin?!?. The ones I bought were like loose cellophane and seemed really muted.

I'll keep you posted of any further developments in my research.-G-

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: waxwing on August 22, 2006, 09:08:51 PM
Listen to the kazoo in some of Tampa Red's Hokum Boys stuff. Like on the version of Mama Don't "Low (No Easy Ridin' 'Round Here) sung (with flair) by Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon. for some imaginative kazooing. All round killer version with a hot jug solo, too.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: waxwing on August 25, 2006, 08:27:38 PM
Okay, I'm gonna break down and tell you my source.  guess I've picked up enough of the old red and blue ones and it's really a question of finding the right material and making my own membranes. But having a few old working ones really will help.

Ebay. Where else. It's really like walking into every antique/junk store in the land.

Search for "kazoo". You'll have to weed through Fishing reels and lures, the Katie Kazoo books, Kazoo strings, various LPs with Kazoo in the title, sleeping bags, lots of the crappy new ones, etc., but there are usually one or two of the old ones. Make sure to get ones that work and ask if it doesn't say so.

There are also other older kazoo toys that come up, like the Kazooed Bazooka, which has a sliding horn sorta like a straight trombone that does absolutely nothing to the sound (yeah, I got one). There are new versions of the kazoo trumpet, trombone and French horn, by the "Original" company that all are just plastic add ons that do nothing to the sound(I didn't bother). Right now there is an old kazoo toy where the kazoo goes into a long tin box that has a foot high caricature with loose legs that dances when you pull a little trigger. The character is a black faced minstrel. Already over $60 bucks so I don't think I'm gonna bid on it.-G-

Hope you get one with good tone.

All for now.
John C.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: crawley on August 31, 2006, 11:25:30 PM
Hey, I'll tell you what. I have several of those tin red and gold kazoos you get at the toy store. Each one sounds a different from the next. They all sound good enough to me, but one of 'em sounds pretty darn good. It may be a quality control thing. I've never played an old one like Waxwing speaks of. I can only imagine they would sound better than mine, but it's just like everything else. It's all about technique and affordability. Buy a few from the toy shop. They're like $3.00 a piece. Go from there.
-H.M.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Rivers on September 02, 2006, 03:07:23 PM
I never thought I'd live to see the day when 'kazoo' and 'quality control' appeared in the same paragraph . . .
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Mr.OMuck on April 28, 2013, 09:01:05 AM
As long as we're discussing harmonicas, I'd like to add to the conversation by posing a question about the wind instrument equivalent of the Banjo...The Kazoo! (pace Frankie)>
It seems they're all generic and of varying Kazoo-ness. Anyone know of an actual "brand" that actually has a consistently "good" sound?
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: uncle bud on April 28, 2013, 09:27:06 AM
M. O'Muck, I merged your query with an earlier kazoo thread that might be of some help. Basically, you need to get into the vintage kazoo market. The good thing, they're much cheaper than Gibsons.

I'm sure someone will come along with more up-to-date kazooology.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: uncle bud on April 28, 2013, 09:38:04 AM
Any zobo players out there?

Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Westside on April 28, 2013, 10:11:14 AM
As long as we're discussing harmonicas, I'd like to add to the conversation by posing a question about the wind instrument equivalent of the Banjo...The Kazoo! (pace Frankie)>
It seems they're all generic and of varying Kazoo-ness. Anyone know of an actual "brand" that actually has a consistently "good" sound?
I don't know much about kazoos, but when I used to work in a music shop I'd sell a lot of the plastic Hohner Kazoos.  We carried some more expensive metal kazoos, but people seemed to think that the plastic Hohners were better.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Slack on April 28, 2013, 10:21:53 AM
O'Muck, you need to get into the vintage kazoo restoration bidness.    :P

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1313.TR2.TRC1&_nkw=vintage+kazoo&_sacat=0&_from=R40 (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2047675.m570.l1313.TR2.TRC1&_nkw=vintage+kazoo&_sacat=0&_from=R40)
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Johnm on April 28, 2013, 10:42:00 AM
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone had a source for ladder-braced kazoos, as were used in the early days of the Country Blues.  I believe it's the only way to get an authentic kazoo tone.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: ozrkreb on April 28, 2013, 11:00:39 AM
I have been collecting/playing kazoos for many years, and I would say that that Clarke kazoo is the best by far. It is made of tin and has that vintage look to it, similar to the old trumpet kazoos from the early 1900's. You can get them for a very reasonable price from Kazoobie. One of the best attributes is that you can adjust the tightness of the membrane holder. This allows you to change the sound in a way that is impossible with a plastic kazoo or one of the cheap metal kazoos with the red bottom.

My go-to kazoo is a jazzophone from the early 1900's. It has a great sound and a very cool look that makes people wonder what you're playing. You can occasionally find one on ebay, but they often go for a good amount of money.

Doc Wood,
Knobtown Skiffle Band
(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.captainkazoo.com%2Fjazafone.gif&hash=572e0437be2ce557b94c023abf455e377a859013)
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: unezrider on April 28, 2013, 11:03:06 AM
john,
i believe that line belongs in the quote generator! well done!
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: harriet on April 28, 2013, 01:17:29 PM
This thread motivated me to check out what was being played on the Big Joe Williams/Sonny Boy Williams mp3 collection - maybe its well known if not - he played a kazoo.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: CF on April 28, 2013, 02:55:32 PM
I used to use the plastic kazoos, they sounded great but the membrane had a tendency to come loose in the middle of a solo . . . the metal ones are made better & I've never had that happen with them. I've been wondering about a kazoo sponsorship, is that possible? :)
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Gumbo on April 28, 2013, 04:31:59 PM
Is that a Cactarse, Pan?

I have a metal one (like the one Pan posted above) that I use for photos (it takes a lot more effort to play but looks good) and a super cheap plastic one for gigs.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: slideaway on April 28, 2013, 05:04:37 PM
is that bolivian tin or guatemalan?  :P  seriously interesting thread .. i have had a few goes at the kazoo .. I like the tin, but wish there was one with a plastic (food grade?) mouthpiece, or whatever wind instruments mouthpieces are made of?  Q. if the harp is the mississippi saxaphone, ... then the Kazoo is the ....... trumpet?
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: BottleneckJohn on May 09, 2013, 12:31:14 AM
I really dig the kazoo!  :)
I try to play mine in every gig nowadays, it sure deserves a spot in a few songs being such a classic instrument in blues and jazz..

Here's two of mine:
(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bottleneckjohn.com%2FDSC04806.JPG&hash=851a29dece533126b9ea542be69f42c7602e4115)

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bottleneckjohn.com%2FGear%2FDSC03393.JPG&hash=3ca16468e7c1712b3a8c0af83cca0c5c16edf276)

Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Jimmy J on May 09, 2013, 03:35:35 AM
The kazoo was my symphonic secret weapon, for years.

I've now largely replaced it with diatonic harmonicas, which, let's face it, are a hell of a lot more musical.
 
However, there a a few songs yet in my repertoire that won't fit inside the diatonic scale. So, for Dream A Little Dream Of You, I still kazoo.

I'm quite fond of my duck call, too, you know. I never leave home without it. It works great with kids and dogs. They love it. For some reason, though, I've never had much success with it with ducks, or women...
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: BlindSockeyeSalmon on May 10, 2013, 01:03:40 PM
If you can carry a tune, you can play the Gahoon!

NOT a humming toy!

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ffurycomics.com%2FSelected_Products%2FPlay_The_Gahoon%2Fi%2F0.jpg&hash=195af27fa2336da9c1b42a78b8905bae097398fe)
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: thickpete on May 11, 2013, 05:34:35 AM
That's a great ad!

But can 9 out of 10 folks really get a tone out of a sax mouthpiece in their first ten minutes??! Would love to see an account or clip from someone who's played this! Was this real or a cereal box disappointment?
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Stumblin on May 12, 2013, 09:26:44 AM
Sax mouthpiece & a length of some kind of spring?
That's amazing and the name is like something straight out of Dr. Seuss.
Thanks for sharing that.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: BlindSockeyeSalmon on May 12, 2013, 03:53:27 PM
Sax mouthpiece & a length of some kind of spring?
That's amazing and the name is like something straight out of Dr. Seuss.
Thanks for sharing that.

My pleasure. And please note that it is not a whistling gadget.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Rivers on May 12, 2013, 06:44:43 PM
Since it can play Carmichael I'd like to request a gahoon orchestral arrangement of 'Stardust' with baritone, tenor and alto gahoon parts. Or perhaps more appropriate to the instrument, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Mr.OMuck on May 14, 2013, 06:37:25 PM
http://youtu.be/B38cfBl003E (http://youtu.be/B38cfBl003E)
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Slack on May 15, 2013, 08:17:07 AM
I think I'll wait for Kazoobie to make a Gahoon Cajones model.

That is a great ad, the only hyperbole I can detect is the phrase "The more you play, the better you become."
Title: Re: Kazoos!
Post by: Stumblin on May 15, 2013, 09:22:06 AM
10 inches of awesome!
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