I'm currently working on building myself a Whamola. I've searched and trawled through every bass forum I can find and from pictures and what little info I can find i've drawn up a design I think would work; I'm not very experianced in DIY or instrument making though so i've come here to get feedback on my design.

Heres the best reference picture of the original i can find:

And heres my design:

I'm building mine to a 35'' scale rather than the 42'' of claypools (I believe thats what his is) so I can use standard electric bass strings, I plan to either string it with a D like claypools or an A tuned down to G (because I play frequently with a melodeon player whos instrument is tuned to G or D). I want to build the main body out of aluminium and the fretboard out of some hard wood so it wont get too damaged from the abuse it'll take, the bridge and nut will be made from pulley wheels, it'll be strung through the body.

Heres the specific information/opinion i'm looking for:

1. I'll need to cut quite a few holes in the aluminiom body (for the lever, the electronics etc.), How should I do this and what tools will I need?

2. I'm going to tune the instrument with the lever in the tightest possible position (unless someone tells me not to and why anything else is better), I want a way of locking it in this position so I can play on the fretboard without it reverting to the loosest angle, I'd like to do this with a thumb button or catch for my lever hand, anyone got any advice on how to do this?

3. I have an old Squier P-Bass that I'll take the pickups, tuning key, electrics and anything else that I might need off, other than these what tools or specific parts might I need? What would be a good hard (cheap DIY store sold) wood for the fretboard and what should I make the lever out of.

4. Whats the best way to set the lever up? Currently I'm planning to put a pulley ring in the body and just run the string over that to attach to the tuning key on the lever with the lever running off the same axel as the ring, the body will be cut in such a way to let the string pass through and restrict the levers movement to the desired level. Is this ok or is it flawed? (or is there a better way)?

5. Whats the best way to secure the bridge? I was just going to weld some pieces of metal to the sides of the body and run a pulley rung on an axel between them, this sound ok?

I also welcome any advice/suggestions or ideas that anyone wants to give me, especially from anyone whos build a Whamola as your advice is obviously highly regarded on this subject .


edit: forgot to add, when I'm finished I'll post soundclips and the exact specifications/parts I used to build it, since there seems to be no decent guides or information on building them at the moment.
Last edited by osouth at Jan 12, 2007,
Looking forward. Ive never actually seen something like that. Good luck


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2) Unless you wana get technical with it all, I would just use your own judge ment when enough is enough
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5) Srcew it on i recon, but whatever.

I must say I have never seen one of those before and its ****ing sweeet
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Ah, by 'holes' I meant like the cutaway sections to put the electronics plate on and to run the lever through the body, so they'll need to be pretty carefully measured sections of metal taken off.
^ a dremel would work well i think

and to tell you the truth- lookin at the whamlol desight- i think it would be best to tune it at the middle- so you would be able to go both up and down with the pitch

but i dont kno- if you did it in the middle you do something similat the that of a trigger on a gun, the safter make it to you can pull teh trigger.... yta kno?
A dremel is exactly the right thing, now i've just gotta find someone with one i can borrow :P

I decided to tune it in the loosest position (90 degrees from the body), i think this will give it the best sound and playability.
Google ftw! I was interested in building one too... has it been built yet? A year later, lol...? If so, what happened to the sound clips and measurements, etc.?
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Google ftw! I was interested in building one too... has it been built yet? A year later, lol...? If so, what happened to the sound clips and measurements, etc.?

Why would you bump it up?

It's over a year old ffs

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At Gear of the Godz we do featured days / weeks of artists and gear, recently we did Les Claypool, so we did a write-up on building a whamola. We did a ton of research on the subject and wrote up plans, fully fleshed out with wiring diagrams and instructional videos, and detailed photos. Thought we'd share it with you guys and see what you thought. Check it out: How to build a whamola