For many of us, washing clothes by hand is no longer a necessity. Yet the simple ridged device used before the advent of washing machines is still in production today and continues to be used all over the world. Leaving soapy water well behind, the washboard found a new life in the hands of musicians playing everything from skiffle to dixieland, and jazz to blues. Solo guitar players can now provide their own inexpensive snare-like percussive accompaniment, by attaching a Pik'N Board to their instrument. The mini-washboard is positioned below the picking area of an acoustic guitar, with players extending the pick stroke to tap out a latin beat or scrape in some cajun spice.
Looking for a lightweight solution to providing his own back beat, multi-instrumentalist Steve Baker came up with a mini-washboard device that attaches to the face of the guitar and is played with the pick hand in the same stroke used to strum the strings. The Pik'N Board is said to allow learners and advanced players alike to add their own "Latin Maracas or Cha-Cha Cabasa, or Guru beats, as well as country off beats, and solid bluegrass, and rock and roll chunking."
Available now for US$29.95, the Pik'N Board offers players the chance to roll up the spirits of Big Bill Broonzy and Washboard Sam into one instrument, adding an interesting new sonic layer to the solo performance while providing a talking point for those watching.
Take a look at the following video for a demonstration of the Pik'N Board in action: