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Loaded in the dog wagon, and down the road we go - Scrapper Blackwell, Penal Farm Blues

Author Topic: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?  (Read 3348 times)

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Offline snakehips

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Hi there !

I've just been getting into playing the washboard. I've been taking it along to my local Thursday night acoustic jam session
(mind you, the regular drummer/percussionist seems pee'd off with me now !!)

Was a present last Christmas from Prof Scratchy !

I just love the washboard stuff on Blind Boy Fuller tracks. I love the drive that Bull City Red adds to the songs.
I want to build up a repertoire of different rhythm patterns that work well.

Any suggestions on other bits and pieces to add onto the washboard ? (NB. will leave out kazoo's !!!)
(I was thinking of adding on my Melodian if I can figure out how to attach it ! Daft idea perhaps)

I've already got a horn (one with big rubber ball squashy thing !). Thinking of a small cymbal and a two tone wood-block.
Someone suggested a bicycle bell !! ?

I've also got a National resophonic Decal for it (well, one of their orange and black sticker things)

Any advice on great washboard containing tracks would be most welcome.

Thanks.

http://www.soundclick.com/snakehipsodonnell

Offline waxwing

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2005, 08:47:55 AM »
Hey Snakey.

Check out Washboard Sam. Document has several volumes of his complete works. Mostly big Chicago bands, but the earliest recordings are just with his half brother, Big Bill Broonzy.

Document also has a cd (JPCD-1505-2) titled Harps, Jugs, Washboards & Kazoos that has some good stuff.

I'm also starting to play more washboard (and jug, too). One thing I saw Geoff Muldaur and others do is to put two different sounding washboards back-to-back and hang it on a brace sticking out from their chest so that they could play a different side with each hand. I have two old National Washboards, one enameled, one plain. I haven't put them together yet, but they have the right contrasting tones.

Washboard Sam seems to have a small flat trash can lid attached flat to the face of his washboard near the bottom for a sorta crash cymbal sound. He also has a couple cowbells attached to the top.

Call me old fashioned, but I guess I'm more into finding old household or farm items that have a good resonance instead of buying a modern percussion instrument like a cymbal or traps. Whenever I go into an old junk/antique store I always keep my eye out for likely tin cups or real cowbells and such. Anything, really, the weirder the better, as long as it has a good sound. Also good place to look for thimbles, but my fingers are pretty big.

I saw one guy who had some sort of military surplus  heavy brass horn that he played like a gong. Had a great tone.

I can't find any thimbles that will fit my fingers, but I use two Dunlop style fingerpicks on each hand and can get an interesting variety of tones. I've seen other guys who do this, too. This year before PT I fashioned a couple of brushes by bundling small bamboo twigs about ten inches long. They sound great and allow anyone to just pick up and start playing.

Now what the heck is wrong with Kazoos?!? -G-

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Richard

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2005, 08:55:55 AM »
Snakehips, I see you have crept over from Michael Messers site  ;)

Washboard, first go and get youself a CD or two of Washboard Sam, the tracks are good quality and you can hear what's going on... :-X

Quick lesson followeth  :o


The washboard generally imitates what (a typically New Orleans)  snare drummer would do - so you must emphasize the off beat ie 2 and 4 not 1 and 3 or you will really urinate evry body off.

Practice at all tempos untill you can automatically mark the 2 & 4 beats - this takes time  ^-^ and is the opposite to a bass player who would major on the beats 1 and 3.

Basic rhythm - four beats with left hand and a "roll" or in wash board terms a rattle\drag between beats 2 and 3 and then between 4 and 1  - maybe if you could just do the four beats and just mark the 2 and 4 with the right hand that would at least sound as though you knew where the beat was.....

Master that, post an mp3 and I'll give you your lext lesson  ;D

Stay with it, it's all good fun  :)

PPPPs  I forgot - glue your thinbles onto a pair of very light cotton gloves ( like your butler wears) and you will never lose 'em again!!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2005, 09:00:20 AM by Richard »
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2005, 09:44:25 AM »

PPPPs  I forgot - glue your thinbles onto a pair of very light cotton gloves ( like your butler wears) and you will never lose 'em again!!

Richard, your butler plays washboard? Amazing...

Offline snakehips

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2005, 09:49:47 AM »
Hi again !

Thanks for the advice so far. I've sussed some rhythms out so far - mainly BBF/Bull City Red stuff - I like that driving rhythm.

"Snakehips, I see you have crept over from Michael Messers site"

Ha Ha !! ?Have been lurking here for a year or two - The Prof got me onto this site.

My main drag is the IGS forum (Brozman/Mann). I find MM's website a bit slow moving !

"PPPPs ?I forgot - glue your thinbles onto a pair of very light cotton gloves ( like your butler wears) and you will never lose 'em again!!"

Ha Ha !! Got a better idea than that !
I'll just get my Butler to play the washboard for me !

Will try to get a track to post with the Prof laying down some appropriate guitar (as always !)

Any other help/hints greatly appreciated.

I have small fingers to fit thimbles over - lucky for my patients too, in my day job !!

Offline Johnm

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2005, 10:03:56 AM »
Hi Snake Hips,
There are a whole passel of great tunes featuring washboard recorded by Bukka White and Washboard Sam over a two-day period, including "Fixin' to Die", Bukka's Jitterbug Swing" and many others.  It's great (from my point of view) to hear the washboard used on some heavier material.  All of these tracks are included on the Bukka White Document release that you can read about in the Reviews section on this site.  Also a prime candidate for washboard are many of the songs Dr. Ross did (also reviewed here), which can be found on a great Arhoolie release.  Have fun!
Alll best,
Johnm

Offline Slack

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2005, 10:09:35 AM »
A hollowed out wood block is good - I say forget the small cymbal and use a tin cup instead -- also forget the bicycle bell - not worth the valuble setup space... too mcuh like a "hot dog"  ;D

David Holt is a great washboard player - he is playing wb with Etta Baker in one of these clips - he also has a great video out called "Folk Rythyms" (or something, on Homespun) in whcih he plays a variety of percussive instruments including washboard:

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2005, 10:28:59 AM »
I have a Harmonica Rack attached to the top of one of my washboards.

  I have a bicycle bell attached to the side of another.

  I've found that the trick to playing with others is to not overpower everything else, since the washboard can get quite loud.
  When in danger of getting too loud, I play with a couple of whisk brooms, which of course, sound like a pair of brushes on a snare drum, only at a fraction of the price.

  Recommended Listening: Eddie Edinburgh on the hard-to-find Leecan and Cooksey recordings. Pure genius!

Offline waxwing

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2005, 10:45:19 AM »
This discussion reminded me that I had saved an old round nosed masonry trowel that has a great tone. Gre has lots of ?"found object" percussion instruments from her artist's residency at the SF transfer station (city dump). I used to play it when she would have a bunch of kids playing all the things they had found in her colection. That was before I got into the washboard and I had totally forgotten about it 'til now. Cool. Thanks Snakey.

I also remembered that in another of Johnm's reviews he mentions the washboard playing of Chasey Collins on Big Joe William's Early Recordings from Document. And I second Mike's suggestion of Eddie Edinburgh on the Leecan and Cooksey cd. I picked it up this summer at PT and it is great on all accounts.

All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

Offline Richard

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2005, 12:11:45 PM »
Well SH, you've certainly started something now   8)  as all the latent washerettes are slowly creeping out of closet :)

Just think, if this topic really gets going  we could have our very own web site... O0

As Slack says, go for a wood block - although probably a large cow bell is more useful as it cuts though all them there noisy guitars and stuff out front.

Post that mp3

UB, the Butler had to go because I have spent his salary on yet another square neck guitar   :P
(That's enough of that. Ed)

boots

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2005, 12:34:45 PM »
...UB, the Butler had to go because I have spent his salary on yet another square neck guitar   :P

Ironing your own papers now. :)

Offline Richard

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2005, 01:56:19 PM »
Can't afford 'em  :(
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline snakehips

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2005, 03:33:12 PM »
Hi again !!

Eddie Edinburgh isn't from Edinburgh by any chance is he ?

(Thats where I am from !)

I just knew some of you guys must be closet washboard guys !

I do have all the Bukka White stuff - but him and BBF I thought might be too obvious.
I just wondered if there were any absolute gems out there.

Thanks again !

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2005, 04:31:00 PM »
I don't think it likely that Eddie Eddinburgh was from Scotland.  :)
  However, there's almost no biographical data available about Leecan and Cooksey or the guys that played with them (Except Elmer Snowden who had a very long career in Jazz)

   It should probably be mentioned that the Columbus Washboard Co. sponsors an annual Washboard Playing Festival in Ohio.
  Here's a link http://2rsite.com/washboard/


   Also, every year at the Sacramento Jazz Festival, on Sunday morning (the last day of the Festival) there is a "Washboard Rub-Off" featuring as many as 200 Washboard Players at the same time !  I've been to it and played at it.
  *Really* big fun :D

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Great washboard tracks to cover ? Advice on add-ons to washboard too ?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2005, 07:32:49 PM »
For recommended listening, although of little interest to fans of CB, arguably the greatest washboard player of all time was Paul "Hezzie" Trietsch of the 1940's Hillbilly/Novelty band, the Hoosier Hot Shots.

  He could play absolutley incredible things.

  I would say that the greatest living player of today was Ralf Reynolds of "The Rhythm Rascals" a Dixieland Band that plays on the festival circuit.

  Spike Jones probably deserves some honorable mention too.

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