Building a Tea Chest Bass

I spent some time this afternoon having fun and messing about with powertools. Mrs. C was out and the boys were either occupied or prepared to give me a hand, so we got busy with the wood I’d already salvaged from an unused packing crate.

To begin with, I chopped two of the smaller side panels in half and screwed them back together as a box.

New Box

You can just see the lid of the box which I’d cut from the original (already the right width, but far too long) and screwed down around the edges making sure it had no gaps to allow rattles.

In the next photo you can also see the 20mm hole I’d sunk into one corner, to take the broom handle.

Lid screwed down and drilled, with original packing label

With that done, the bulk of the effort had alreay been expended. To fit the string (rope) to the bass, I took a bit of polypropylene rope and drilled an 8mm hole in the centre of the box lid, threaded the rope through and tied off a huge knot to keep the end from slipping back through.

Bass with string fitted

All that was needed now was to get a broom handle, sharpen the lower end to a point to fit the hole in the bass, and drill a hole in the other to take the rope.

Just like a pencil

Fitted in place.

To play bass, just feed the loose end of the rope into the hole at the top of the broom handle and tie off to provide a grip for the player.

Top knot

…and get ready to make some noise…

One man and his bass

From scrap to finished product and complete in an hour and a half. All I need is a couple of banjo players and we can start gigging.


7 Responses to Building a Tea Chest Bass

  1. fxbass says:

    That’s a great project and a cool implementation! Heyyy, I wanna hear the sound of this thing, pics are not enough!!!

    • I took it out to an acoustic blues night last week. It was great fun. Will try to post some video or audio in the future!

      • fxbass says:

        Please do 🙂

        Btw, is the stick (‘neck’) fixed to the box, or do you have to hold it and provide the tension for the rope with your hand in order to play?

      • The “neck” is sharpened to a point so it will rest in the 20mm hole in the corner of the lid. See photo. To tension the rope you then place a foot on the opposite corner for stability and pull the top of the stick away from the centre of the bass. Tuning it is fifty percent guesswork, ten percent skill and forty percent divine grace.

      • fxbass says:

        Thanks for the explanation. I enjoyed the tuning part the most 😀 😀

  2. Scott Moore says:

    Is the bottom of the “tea chest” open? Or are all sides “closed” and intact?

    • The bottom is open. It sits fairly flush with the ground, but I want the option to raise it slightly to get a different effect. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m doing – just having a go and seeing what happens.

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