The “Invention Spotlight” is an irregularly published post where I spotlight an invention I think is cool or if there’s a cool person behind the invention with a story to tell. My goal is to help inspire readers that they can do it too.

Here is the story about the Bogdon Bass. The Bogdon Bass is an inexpensive alternative to a traditional standing bass.

I’m a fan of jazz and the blues so this invention was of interest to me. I sent Bogdon a few questions for this interview. Here is Chris Badynee’s (aka Bogdon Vasquaf) story in his own words:

How did you get the nick name Bogdon?
What was the inspiration for you to create your invention?

My fathers name was Casimer Bogdon Badynee. He was a Detroit Fire Fighter. My dad had an unusual thick head of hair. He cut it all off when he got cancer because he thought it would all fall out during chemo-therapy. It didn’t. All his hair did was turn white. My dad’s glory days as a young man was the early 1950s. So I put that all together. Bogdon = his middle name… Vas=vasaline… Quaf = coif = hair. My name “Bogdon Vasquaf” is a celebration of my father’s hair. The Bogdon Box Bass creation was a direct result of my bathroom catching on fire. He told me not to use a space heater but I did. Every time I saved up enough money to buy an upright bass something terrible would always happen. I’d have about $800 and my refrigerator would break, or the washer and drier would break, or I’d need new car tires, or my kids would need braces, ect… In February of 2006, my bathroom caught on fire and the whole house had smoke damage. If that fire never happened, I would never have upgraded a bathroom cabinet, and I would never have acquired a very large cardboard box that resembled an upright bass (to me), and I would never have had scrap wood flooring to make into a bass neck. The inspiration to make my Bogdon Box Bass was that I had the desire to own something that I couldn’t afford so I made one myself.

All I wanted was a natural sounding upright bass for my own personal home recordings of songs I wrote. No one was ever going to hear it. That first box bass was the result of an all-nighter. I knew a little bit about the importance of resonance, so I had to figure out how to support string tension without having the bass neck touch the face of the body so the bridge could float on a surface that resonates. It didn’t take much thought. I sawed the neck, drilled the holes, assembled it, and attached it to the box. I know what a standard bass bridge looks like so I rummaged through my kid’s toys and found a Scrabble Game Square Holder. I made my own tuners using nuts-n-bolts and I used weed whacker twine as strings. I bought the same exact gauge of twine to match bass string gauges. My box bass sounded so fantastic that I had to tell someone, but it was 6:00am. So I filmed a 60 second video and posted it on the web. I got 1000 hits on youtube in less than a day and accidentally deleted the video! I reposted the video and Good Morning America contacted me to sign a release so they can show it on TV. They showed it for 10 seconds and I started to get requests to buy my box bass. I asked my Uncle Dave to help me because he owns a printing shop. Dave brought in 2 cousins that are an Acoustic Engineer and an Electronic Engineer. They perfected the box bass which is now an electric cardboard box upright bass and we began to sell hundreds on Ebay. We used the Ebay profits to protect our invention instead of taking loans out or going into personal savings. Dave taught me that the product can survive on its own. Dave put up a few thousand dollars to get started buying materials, but no other money came out of my pockets.

What was the most difficult part?

Local guitar stores laughed at me and told me that no one would ever buy a cardboard bass. I regretted taking my son to some stores that were rude.

I began to get HATE mail. I would get banned from bass player’s forums. Some bass players would insult me and go out of their way to spread the  word that I sucked. Uncle Dave told me that it’s a sign of great success. Controversy was now being attached to my box bass which is impossible to do without dissent. I remained calm, polite, and distant. Hate is a passion that knows no boundaries. Those guys would try to warn people about my product and then those people would come to my website to see for themselves. Then some of them purchased my box bass. When someone loves something they might tell a close friend or two, but when someone hates something they’ll go out of their way to make everyone know everywhere. The hate-people were actually selling my box bass for me, so I began to feed them reason to go over the top.

I told my story to Bass Player Magazine and they featured me and my bass in a rave review. I’m a mailman but my name is on the cover of Bass Player Magazine! We then participated in the NAMM trade Show and was awarded Best in Show. My box bass was picked up by retailers and began to get attention in newspapers, other magazines, local TV news, and national TV shows. The hate letters stopped.

 

What would you do differently if you had to do it over?

I regret not keeping a daily log. I lost an ABC-TV producers personal email address and a few important phone numbers. I can’t express enough to everyone to keep a daily log of thoughts, events, and contacts. I really wish I would have filmed to document my whole experience from the very beginning. One never can really know beforehand how a personal event will change ones life. My life is very different than it was before I made the first cardboard box upright bass, and it will never be the same.

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