Louisville, early 1920's

Health Warning!






The RJO takes no responsibility

for any hospitalisation that may occur.

Jugs became common rhythm instruments in the 19th Century.

They were either stoneware (very heavy), glass demi-johns (show the spit) or paraffin cans (smell awful).

If you can't find any of these why not make your own? 500ml plastic milk containers work, but try anything.

See http://www.jugband.org


To play, put your tongue behind your lips. purse your lips and make raspberry noises into the jug.

Vary the shape of your tongue, mouth and amount of breath for each note and vary the angle of attack

to give different timbre to the sound.

To avoid possible arrest, please practice in the privacy of your own home.

Homemade Instruments

Washboard, cymbals, blocks and cowbells make a

cheap, effective drumkit. Use metal thimbles or snare brushes.

Visit http://www.washboards.com


Listen to Washboard Sam or

the Nashville Washboard Band to get the idea.

Remember skiffle?

A pole and nylon chord fixed in a washtub

or tea-chest makes a good bass.

Change the notes by altering the angle of the pole (remember to wear garden gloves).

Full instructions at http://www.jugstore.com/washtub.html

The RJO wishes to inform players that excessive use of any of these instruments

can be seriously annoying and may

enrage sensitive listeners.

The kazoo was invented by an African American

named Alabama Vest in 1852 in Georgia

(it is the only instrument invented in the U.S.A.).


The kazoo ia a membranophone and is a 'singing drum'. Similar instruments have been in use in Africa for hundreds of years to disguise the voice for ritual purposes.


Some early jazz bands used metal kazoos

to sound like cornets or trombones. (For anorak information, in the Original Dixieland Jass Band 1921 recording of 'Crazy Blues', I think you'll find that what the casual listener might mistake for a trombone solo is actually a kazoo solo).


Don't blow, imagine the tune and make 'do do do' noises into the large end. An old stovepipe really helps.


U.S. National Kazoo Day is 28th January (seriously)

See http://www.howtokazoo.com

RJO kazoos are purchased from Kazoobie Kazoos in Florida

Eight inch metal ones (impress you friends) are obtained from Newcastle Drum Co


Make your own by using a comb and waxed paper.

Bones are a traditional percussion instrument that, with tambourines, found their way into minstrelsy.

Visit http://www.rhythmbones to find out more.


Spoons make a good alternative


Grip the top spoon very firmly between thumb and index, hold the bottom one between middle and ring finger and let that spoon move as you hit your leg, arm or whatever.