Pogo cello

The pogo cello is a percussion instrument in the idiophone family. This instrument can be heard in the skiffle bands of England, jug bands from the United States, as well as some blues, bluegrass, folk and rock bands. Notable musical groups or persons using the pogo cello in their music are Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, Mojo Nixon, and Redd Fox, the famous comedian/singer who starred as Fred Sanford in the television show Sanford and Son.

The pogo cello is also known as or very similar to a; devil's stick, bumbass, stump fiddle, devil's violin, bladder and string, stick zither, basse de Flandre, jingling johnny, lagerphone, Turkish crescent, Chapeau Chinois, Pavillon Chinois.

The pogo cello, being a homemade folk instrument, has a configuration that is somewhat open to interpretation depending on the individual who creates it.

A typical description of the parts that might make a pogo cello are:

  • A broom handle, pole, or a six-foot 2x3 piece of lumber.
  • A spring fastened to the bottom of the wood.
  • A cookie tin, tambourine, or any similar resonating device.
  • A length of baling wire, attached to the top and bottom of the wood, stretched across the cookie tin or resonator.
  • Any miscellaneous noisemakers that an individual might choose to attach anywhere on the pogo cello.

The instrument is thrust to the floor to make a bass drum sound, and a length of baling wire attached to a cookie tin is struck or bowed with a long threaded stick or dowel to make a snare drum sound.


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