Grandma's Washboard An Unappreciated Musical Instrument

In the mid to late 19th century, washboards were used as musical instruments when amateur performers couldn’t afford real percussion instruments. The original purpose of a washboard was to wash articles of clothing. In the music world, washboards are a percussion instrument, played by a percussionist. The washboard adds a scrapping or tapping sound to the rhythm, but it also can serve as the base line of the rhythm. Washboards are used in Zydeco and Cajun-Zydeco music. Brushes, thimbles, wooden and metal spoons, whisk broom, and drum sticks are all used to create music with the washboard. Accessories can be added to the washboard to make additional sounds. The traditional accessories include bells, tin cans, woodblocks, or bicycle horns. 

What Does a Washboard Look Like?

Washboard’s Place in Zydeco and Cajun-Zydeco Music




Places to Enjoy and Participate in Washboard Music