Identify this percussion instrument
February 3, 2005 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Identify this percussion instrument: I just bought a thing that is a 5' tall stick with a pogo spring on the bottom. It has hi-hat cymbals on the top and a tamborine, cowbell, jingle bells and a woodblock attached to it. You thump this thing on the ground while wacking on everything with a drumstick and it makes a racket that will wake the neighbors. What is it?
posted by wsg to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total)
Sounds like part of a one-man-band getup. I don't know if there's a name for it other than that.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:27 PM on February 3, 2005

It's a teetotaller's lagerphone!

(nah, I vote for one-mand-band-thingy-with-no-particular-name)
posted by pompomtom at 9:47 PM on February 3, 2005

So the spring on the bottom operates the high-hat? And everything else is operated via a drumstick?

Not sure if this is an "instrument" that anyone ever named, but it is possible that there is a generalized name for such cobbled-together percussion wonders.
posted by scarabic at 9:48 PM on February 3, 2005

Only thing I've been able to find is "one man band stick".
posted by pompomtom at 9:54 PM on February 3, 2005

The spring on the bottom really only acts as a shock absorber. The hi-hats are on a spring, too. It's very well-made and looks like it could have been manufactured. The tamborine is a tunable model with a print of an indian profile on it. I just got it this evening. It's very cool and I can't wait to play it, but my other half could only take about 3 seconds before she was saying that maybe this is an "outside" instrument. Hmph...

pompomtom, thanks, I found that, too, but was hoping that someone would know something more about it.
posted by wsg at 9:59 PM on February 3, 2005

If it was a proper do-it-yerself affair with beer bottle caps nailed to a shovel handle, it would be a lagerphone. (The last band I was in referred to the New Guinea war club we used to beat the lagerphone with as "the donger".

I dunno about the spring at the bottom. Half the point is the marvellous thump from whacking it into the ground.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:03 AM on February 4, 2005

I've always heard them referred to as an oompapa, though that may be a Pennsylvania German regionalism.
posted by roboto at 12:06 AM on February 4, 2005

Close, roboto, but it's really called a boom-ba. I myself happen to be the champion (only?) boom-ba player of Down East Maine (although I hail from PA, true boom-ba country), and — yes, it's sad but true — get called out of the audience in bars and at parties to sit in with bands on the one boom-ba locally available.

Our boom-ba came into town via the dad of the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, who found it at a flea market in Mechanicsburg PA. Each is customized by the individual player, and there are traveling hordes of boom-ba players who invade nursing homes, etc. to bring bouncing joy to listeners. The Graceland, or Mecca, or Promised Land of boom-ba players is the Leather Corner Post Hotel in Orefield PA, which I hope to visit someday.

p.s. I actually am not coordinated enough to play the boom-ba while standing up, but have evolved my own style of sitting down with it leaning across my right leg, and using two drum sticks on the blocks, bells, etc., instead of hopping up and down.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:16 AM on February 4, 2005

I've heard of something like this called a polka cello. There's a picture on this page (scroll way down).
posted by sagwalla at 4:30 AM on February 4, 2005

My wife has the exact same thing and she's always called it a Bumpus Board, which is what her mother called it.
posted by bondcliff at 7:34 AM on February 4, 2005

This is good. Thanks, everyone.
posted by wsg at 10:09 AM on February 4, 2005

From my wife:

AKA "stump fiddle". That was the name in the catalogue when my mom ordered it.

Google seems to confirm it.
posted by bondcliff at 11:06 AM on February 4, 2005

bondcliff: even though this site agrees with your wife, I would disagree and say that this is a real stump fiddle. (You don't, after all, bang a 'fiddle' on the ground, as you do with the boom-ba.) On the other hand, thanks for the reference, which led me to this fantastic page about one-man bands. (Which also agrees with your wife.)
posted by LeLiLo at 11:48 AM on February 4, 2005

I read the description, I said to myself "self, they got them a mothersuffing Bumpus Board."
For what it's worth.
posted by dong_resin at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2005

« Older Name this music   |   MoveableType Help Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.