Jugs ...by Joat-Mon
The Jug Band CookBook
Brought to you by The Corner Jug Store
"John the Jug"
Central to every Jug Band is the Jug.
Can a band be a Jug Band without one?
Although the standard is a ceramic jug, almost every other type of bottle, can, and liquid container has been used over the years.
|In the accompanying photo you see the jug assortment belonging to "Doc Jody" (of "Jody and the Leasebreakers"). (Click on the picture for an enlarged view.) Note the tenor and soprano jugs in the foreground. This picture depicts the rare situation in which you can see that the center jug still needs to be converted for playing.|
Preparing the Jug
The preparations needed to convert a vessel to musical instrument use are:
emptying and cleaning.
If your jug is filled with Mountain Dew (not the TradeMarked kind) then emptying is clearly the most rewarding part of this process. If you use a bleach bottle, then cleaning is extremely critical.
If someone has let a good jug "go bad" -- such that the extreme odor of vinegar knocks you backwards when you play a note -- multiple applications of baking soda should help reduce the smell, although you probably won't be able to eliminate it completely.
|Playing the Jug|
|Buzz your lips. That's it.|
|Rather than blowing across or into the opening like you would a bottle or flute, you play the jug more like a brass instrument -- but without a mouthpiece. Different pitches are achieved by tightening and loosening your lips. A tiny, tight opening gives a high pitch. Loose lips flapping around give you the lowest bass notes (and spray the folks around you).|
In the photo above, you see "John the Jug" (of "John and the
Leasebreakers") at a recent performance teaching a member of the next
generation of Jug players. If the jug is a bit too heavy, don't give up.
Just get someone else to hold it for you! Or, try playing the sopranino
jug, like John is doing in the photo at the right.
|When "Washtub Basso Rick" (of "Ricky and the Leasebreakers") takes his turn at the jug, he often doubles on standard and sopranino and is noted for his triple-tonguing solos.|