1 String Lever Bass

I had known about such an animal called a “1 string box bass” or sometimes known as a “whamola” which is plucked and pitch-changed with a lever. I had long wanted to give it a go!

My friend Shane Speal is a bit crazy which is likely why I relate to him well… and he put up the drawings at http://www.cigarboxnation.com this past weekend which inspired this build 🙂 You can find that and 3 drawings via a link I made: https://tinyurl.com/y3ay5kdy

Mine differs on several levels. It uses round weed wacker line for a “bass string”, an eye screw for a tailpiece, no bridge or nut is needed as per my design.

Further, a friend in Arizona sent me a load of empty wine boxes some time ago and they are both large and light yet sturdy, easy to cut and screw together to the extent I didn’t even use any glue, just a total of 5 screws. There is also a bolt, lock washer and nut as part of the lever assembly.

You can see the changes I made comparing my pics to the drawings here, so let me explain what happened and somewhat, why.

First, not having a length of wood for a neck I found two smaller pieces that had been thrown out and put 3 drywall screws in them to combine ’em. I’d decided to build it 36 inches tip-to-tip and that’s what I did. Now the upper “neck” portion is wider than the lower but as you can see from the pic it didn’t matter because your hand doesn’t move up and down the neck anyway, and it snugged perfectly to the box.

The lower section of the neck fit flush against the underside of the box and gave me more length outside the bottom. This ersatz “bass” can be played as a normal bass with the box in one’s lap, or balanced off a chair -or floor as an upright bass, or flat in one’s lap like a lapsteel guitar. Quite versatile!

The box is 12 1/2 inches long, 7 1/4 wide and 3 1/3 inches deep, so it has such a full sound there is no need to create a sound hole (or two) to get great and low resonation from the slightly porous wood.

The neck protrudes 8 1/4 inches from the bottom of the box while the top neck piece extends 15 1/4 inches above the box.

The lever is 7 3/4’s long with the bolt hole 2 1/2 inches from the tip which gives me a good 5 inches of leverage to place my hand on and find the notes I wish to play.

I simply beat the string with a stick, pluck it with finger or thumb or guitar pic toward the bottom of the box or even just below it over the neck and then have a cool little instrument!

Two wood screws hold the box onto the neck and I can unclasp to open from the bottom if I should wish to eventually place a piezo pickup inside. Then again due to the neck it’d be simple to place a typical guitar or bass pickup on top of the box right below the top neck piece. Fun!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

One thought on “1 String Lever Bass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s