Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 'Whoopin' Stick''

I saw a photo several weeks ago of a bed warmer turned into a single-string instrument.  It was a pretty crude example of what I thought could be a really interesting 'allmosta guitar', so I started looking around for a similar item.  My exploration took me to Craig's List first, nothing there, so I was off to eBay, where I found several, all in England, but the cheapest was $35US, and I'm not paying thirty-five-bucks for a brass can someone sticks hot rocks in to warm the sheets . . . that's more than some hookers were getting at the Superbowl to warm a bunk . . . which the nuns from Cleveland were talking about in their quest to save young women from creepy 'ol men.  They were probably as successful in their game as the Patriots.

Browsing around a junk shop in Delaware (that's Ohio) last week, I discovered one of these nifty little things.  It is brass with a curly shaped handle, really a half-handle, in that it was only a half-inch thick and rounded on one side only . . . weird, but if you've been to England you can understand . . . they have some strange customs, like driving on the 'other' side of the road, and calling french fries 'chips' . . . geez, no wonder we won the war.  Otherwise, it was really cool looking.

I bought the thing (for two bucks --- that's $2.00).  Gawd, I love America!  Beat feet out of the place and for the next 45 minutes driving home, a plan emerged from inside my ghourd.

After unscrewing the brass can from the half-stick, I glued the stick to a walnut neck blank I use for my other guitars.

When the glue dried, I commenced to fit and shape the laminated neck to match the original design, but the headstock needed it's own treatment, which was a snap.  It took me a couple hours to shape, rasp, file, drill and sand the neck to the final stage, before a finish coat was applied.  While this was going on, I polished the can to a high gloss.

Once that was complete, I marked the nut and bridge positions, and also the 'key' fret (there are no frets) positions, secured the custom pieces to the 'new' stick, installed it in the can, complete with Piezo pickup, added strings, and voila, I gots me a real two-string 'whoop stick' tuned to open G.

These little brass cans with a stick for a neck are sometimes referred to as Lowebows or strumsticks, but I call mine a 'Whoopin' Stick', as in whoop ass, 'cause it turned out to be really fun to play and it beats hell out of fighting with a slide on a six-string.  I've discovered that I am not that guy, and I never will be.  Besides, that cool vibe should be left to the old Black guys who really know how to make a slide growl.  Us white boys just don't have what it takes.

This turned out so well, I think I'll go back for the other two warmers the guy has.  And, wait 'til you see pics of the cool thing I found for a neck strap at this store.

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