Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Washboards and Woodblocks

The washboard is used as a percussion instrument in jazz, zydeco, skiffle, jug band and old-time music.  It is played by tapping or scraping the metal with a thimble.  They can also be played with a wisk broom or wire brushes.  Sometimes, woodblocks, cowbells or small cymbals are added. 

Woodblocks are basically a slit drum made from a single piece of wood and struck with a stick.  Eastern Asia music uses woodblocks of various sizes ranging from small, hand-held to enormous and immobile.

Orchestral woodblocks are typically made from teak or other hard wood.


  1. Hi, Heather!

    The washboard - now that brings back memories! When I was a little girl the washboard was being used. I found it to be a fascinating apparatus! There were many a days when my knockles were red and skinned from scraping them against the board; so thankful for technology!

    It's amazing how they have taken a thing of the past and found a way to incorporate it into the music realm! It does provide for an interesting sound! Looks like they are having tons of fun- hahaha!

    I remember the wood blocks from my school days! They too make an incredible sound!

  2. Video number one: Okay, how do we get from that to the idea that washboard abs are desirable?

    Video number two: Love the sound. Wouldn't mind a set in my house for the kids. The sounds would be so much more soothing than the screaming. Oh wait. There would be a fight over the drumsticks. Sigh.

  3. Both of those instruments look fun to play! :)

  4. Hi Heather - what a great "W" post. You are really "rocking" this A to Z Challenge with your musical instrument theme.

    I remember the other use of a washboard - now that really gives away my age, doesn't it!! *grin*

    Cheers, Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

  5. Being from WV no band should be without these instruments j/k

  6. My brothers and I tried to turn just about everything in the garage into musical instruments. We had quite the washboard sound on a galvanized wash tub and a metal file. That is, until we wore a whole in the side of the tub. Whoops.

  7. Hello, Heather! This is so cool. I love musical instruments though I have no talent with any. My musical talent is two things: listening to music and enjoying it! ;)

    Have a lovely week and happy A to Z!!

  8. I love the washboard! I saw it last year for the first time in Union Square, New York. Three guys were playing and singing on a folk tune, and the washboard guy was just the most interesting among the three!
    I gave them a couple of bucks!