Hillbilly Harp

By Wyatt

My instrument is called the “Hillbilly Harp”. Another name for it is a washtub bass.  I wanted to make a Hillbilly Harp after seeing one being played on RFD-TV, a farm channel.  I told my mom that was the instrument I picked, but mom couldn’t find a pattern for a Hillbilly Harp, but she did find one for the Washtub Bass! 

My dad helped me a little bit when I made my instrument.  He took me to Tractor Supply to purchase the was tub and the cable clamps.  We also went to the hardware store to get the wooden stick and the cable and then we went to the Bargain Barn to get the paint and primer.
The first step in making my instrument was to prime the tub for painting.  The primer makes the paint stick better.  After the primer set, I painted the tub red and orange.  Red, because it is the color of Farmall tractors, and orange, because it the original color of Case tractors, which are MY FAVORITE.  After the paint was dry me and my dad drilled a hole in the stick so the cable could go through the stick and when stood up would allow the cable to make the sound needed.  After my dad and I had the cable secured to the stick, we clamped it down, and put the other end of the cable through the tub.  My dad watched me as I drilled a hole in the washtub for the i-bolt to tie down to.  Once I had the i-bolt secured to the tub, we put the cable through it and tied it down with a cable clamp.  The stick had to be cut with a saw to shorten the notch in the bottom, so it would be able to stay on the side of the tub when being played.  My dad also helped me to paint an extra board to stick under the tub, so when I played the sound would come out clearer.

When I play my Hillbilly Harp, I have to strum the cable to have Dynamics.  To make Loud Dynamics, I have to pluck harder and higher on the cable, closer to the stick or lower on the cable, closer to the I-bolt.  To make Softer Dynamics, I have to not strum so hard in the middle of the cable.  The Pitch of the Hillbilly Harp is based on how tight the cable is from the tub on the stick.  When I want a higher pitch, I have to not put as much tension on my cable, and not pull my stick so tight.  The Timbre of my instrument is bass and quite dull.  It has a full rich timbre.