Stumpf Fiddle


Stumpf Fiddle  A915

Other names: Devil’s Stick, Stomp Stick Drum, One Man Band Fiddle, Stomp Drum, Stick Zither, Jingling Johnny, Basse de Flandre, Lagerphone, Pogo cello, Bladder and String, Turkish Crescent, Chapeau Chinois, Pavillon Chinois.


The Stumpf Fiddle has its roots in the rhythm sticks of Central Europe. The modern Stumpf Fiddle was invented by brothers Charlie and Bob Cronin, and Bill Schwartz of Sheboygan Wisconsin in 1900.  Bill Schwartz grew up playing a rhythm stick that later evolved into a music stick that he played in Shriners parades. In the 1970′s, Schwartz encountered the Cronin brothers at a Packers Game. The Cronin brothers had a more elaborate rhythm stick they called a “Stumpf Fiddle”, named after a mythical peg leg Harry Stumpf. Bill Schwartz and the Cronin brothers went into business together to market the Stumpf Fiddle. It’s a favorite instrument of Wisconsin brat fries, and Stumpf Fiddle contests are held every year in Wisconsin. In some parts of Wisconsin, the Stump Fiddle is also known as the “boomba”, “boombass” or “Teufel Stick”. You will also find variations of the Stumpf Fiddle made with beer trays or coffee cans instead of pie tins. In Minnesota, a relative of the Stumpf Fiddle is called the “German Fiddle”. It uses a coffee can instead of pie tins and doesn’t have a ball at the bottom or a wood block.

A Brief History of the Stumpf Fiddle

The stumpf fiddle was born of the rhythm sticks that may have come over to America from Central Europe. There is little information about the whys and wherefores, but can it made its way here in the early 1900s with the waves of immigrants.

Wikipedia makes mention of the stumpf fiddle on its Pogocello page, ascribing it as the basis for Mack Perry’s invention in the 1950s.

Legend  has it that the modern stumpf fiddle was conceived by Charlie and Bob Cronin, along with a gentleman named Bill Schwartz. These guys met at a Packers game with rhythm sticks in tow, and combined their efforts to market the things by way of The Fiddle Factory (Sheboygan, WI).

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