TEA-CHEST BASS PLAYERS SURVEY
DON'T HIT [RETURN] UNTIL YOU'RE DONE.
This questionnaire is designed specifically for players of the tea-chest bass (or bush bass, as it's known down under.) Of course there are many such things which are not strictly speaking made with tea chests. Let's just say that if your bass uses a rectangular wooden box, this is the survey for you, and if it uses a round metal tub, then you should do the
Washtub Bass Players Survey
instead. People with in-between instruments can pick whichever group they identify more with.
Click the check-boxes and choice buttons for your basic responses. Use the Comment boxes to expand your answers (especially in the cases where you pick "other"!)
Your responses will (someday) be summarized in a new section of the
Washtub Bass Page
devoted to the tea-chest bass, and also be forwarded to Jim Uticone, who is currently at work on a book about the Washtub Bass and its kin and cousins around the world. The more detail you provide, the better! (No one's name or personal information will be used without their permission.)
Your feedback and ideas about possible Washtub/Tea-Chest/One-String Bass Gatherings can help make these events exciting, entertaining, and educational for all.IMPORTANT: Anyone who'd like to volunteer to translate this questionnaire into German, French, Spanish or any other language, PLEASE e-mail me (Lauren Miller) at firstname.lastname@example.org, or David Badagnani at email@example.com
IF YOU HIT [RETURN] BY MISTAKE ... and find your survey suddenly terminated ... CLICK THE [BACK] BUTTON and you can pick up where you left off.
1. Name (required)
2. E-mail address (required)
3. Location (requested)
Street Address (optional)
4. Phone number (optional) (
BACKGROUND AS TEA-CHEST BASS (TCB) PLAYER
5. Do you currently play the TCB?
not now, but I used to play
no, never played
6. Whether you play TCB now or not, how many years have you played?
1 or less
other, more than 12
7. Did you ever have music lessons (on any instrument)?
yes, but not on the TCB
yes, and on the TCB in particular
8. What other instruments do/can you play?
acoustic (contre/double) bass
acoustic bass guitar (ABG)
9. When and where was it that you first heard or saw a TCB?
10. What was your first impression of the instrument, at this time?
11. When did you first start playing a TCB?
12. What were your thoughts about it, at the time?
13. Was there a specific person whose playing (or encouragement) inspired you to take up the TCB?
14. Do you play TCB with a regular group or band?
yes, that's my main TCB activity
no-- I mainly jam with whoever's available
no-- I'm mainly a solo act
15. If so, what other instruments are used in it?
guitar or similar instrument
banjo or similar instrument
violin or other bowed instrument
sax or other woodwind
trumpet or other brass
drums or other percussion
16. What style of music does the group play (mainly)?
17. With a band or not, what style do you personally like most to play?
18. Do you have other musical talents?
19. Do you play along with recorded music?
no, or rarely
yes, just for practice
yes, as part of public performance
20. If you play with recorded music, what musician/band/album do you especially like to play with?
21. Who's your favorite musician/musical group?
22. What's your favorite recording featuring TCB?
23. Further comments on TCB and musical styles
24. What is the resonation chamber on your TCB?
a box formerly used to ship tea
box like a tea chest but made specifically for music
some other sort of wooden container
25. Where did you learn how to make your TCB?
just picked up the idea from tradition
worked from printed plans/illustrations
patterned my TCB after another I'd seen
improvised my own design
26. In playing position, what's the orientation of the box?
vertical, i.e. on end
horizontal, i.e. on its side
27. Is there a "sound hole" cut in any of the panels of your TCB?
Yes (Please indicate in Comment how big it is, and where it is located.)
28. Is the bottom enclosed, or left open?
29. What do you prefer to use for a string?
clothesline or similar multi-strand cord
weedwhacker line or similar monofilament
wire (e.g. aircraft cable)
musical instrument string (please specify which, in Comment)
30. How is the string attached to the pole?
looped around a groove in the end
led through a hole (or holes) in the end
attached some other way
31. In what other ways has the box been modified?
feet/legs on bottom
top reinforced to support end of pole
box dismantled and reassembled
internal bracing of side panels
hole/socket added to stabilize end of pole
32. How is the neck (stick/pole) positioned on the resonator?
fixed (firmly attached to the box)
floating (not fixed, but remaining upright even when not being played)
rocking (must be held to be upright)
33. If a rocking neck, where does the neck pivot?
on the top panel
on the edge bracing
34. Additional comments on TCB construction
35. What's the lowest (acceptably musical) pitch your TCB will produce (approximately)?
typical bass low E (~41 hz)
typical guitar low E (~82 hz)
36. What's its range (approximately)?
less than an octave
about 1 octave
about 1.5 octaves
37. How do you stabilize the TCB when playing?
foot on top of box
foot on bracket attached at floor level
it needs no stabilization
38. What do you do to better hear the pitch of the note?
press stick against head/ear
use an extension (e.g. thumb) between stick and ear
just listen real close
39. How do you change the pitch of a note?
only by rocking the neck
only by flexing the neck
only by moving a lever (pump action)
only by pressing the string against the neck at different positions
a combination of the above techniques (please explain)
40. Do you use a "capo", or some such device that varies the point where the open (unfingered) string takes off from the neck?
41. Do you ever "bow" the string?
sometimes, with a bass bow
sometimes, with some other sort of bow/agitator
42. Further comment on TCB playing techniques
43. Do you play through an amplifier/p.a. system?
always, or almost always
44. If so, what electronic equipment do you typically use?
guitar-style (magnetic) pickup
attached (piezo, ceramic) pickup
some other arrangement
45. If you use a microphone, what type/brand do you prefer, and where do you place it relative to the TCB?
46. If you use a contact pickup, what brand/type is it, and where do you place it relative to the TCB?
47. Additional comments regarding amplification.
WASHTUB/TEACHEST/ONE-STRING BASS GATHERINGS
As you may have heard, there was recently a gathering (a rumble?) of washtub bassists, in Trumansburg, NY. It featured demonstrations of building and playing techniques, seven performances by bands using tub basses, much hobnobbing and comparing of notes, etc. This was a lot of fun, and there's since been talk of having another such event for one-string basses of all sorts.
48. As a measure of your interest, what's the farthest you would travel to attend such an event?
about a block
up to 50 miles
up to 100 miles
up to 500 miles (maybe)
49. Would you be interested in organizing or helping to organize one in your area?
helping to organize
performing on stage
conducting a workshop/discussion
50. In your area, what town/setting would you suggest as an especially good one for a OSB gathering? (Just for comparison, Trumansburg is a laid-back small town not far from Ithaca, NY and the Gathering took place in the "Rongovian Embassy", which serves Mexican cuisine and 137 varieties of exotic beer.)
51. As a TCBassist, have you been featured in the news, on tv, radio, etc.?
52. What do your family and friends think of your interest in the instrument?
53. What other hobbies, interests, and leisure time activities do you enjoy?
54. If your TCB is painted/decorated, how did you do it?
55. What kind of work do/did you do, for a living?
56. How many other TCB players do you know of, in your area?
57. Would you like to be listed on the Washtub Bass Page's Registry of One-String Bassists? (
to pop over and have a look at it. )
no (If you check Yes, be sure we have your city/state/country
back in question #3.)
58. Would you like to receive a summary of the results of this survey and news of TCB-related events? (If so, be sure we have your e-mail address, back in questions #2 and #3.)
59. If you know any other TCB players who would like to take this questionnaire, please send them the url, which is http://tubotonia.freehomepage.com/TCBQuest.html. If they don't use the internet, write their mailing address in the space below and we'll send them a copy of the survey.
60. If you have any further ideas/comments about the TCB -- construction, playing, music, gatherings, etc.-- or about this survey, please use this space to let us know.
Thanks for your participation.
Plunk in Peace,
Lauren Miller, David Badagnani and Jim Uticone