Held by its neck or suspended by a cord, a Waterphone may be played as a stringed or as a percussion instrument with bow, mallets, and hand/fingers. My Waterphones have been used successfully to call whales and other Cetaceans.
They require only a small amount of maintenance and very little instruction is needed. My Waterphones are hand crafted, durable, sonic sculptures that are fun and easy to play.
Waterphones have been used on film and TV sound tracks such as "Poltergeist," "Star Trek" movie (music by Jerry Goldsmith), "Bugsy," "Young Guns," remake of "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "The Man Who Skied Down Mt. Everest," "A Pure Formality" (French), "Truman," "Powder," "Mystery Men," "The Matrix," "The Shadow Conspiracy," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "The Spirit," "Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)," the TV production "24," "Female Perversion," "The Mentalist" and many others.
A few Waterphone collector/players: Aerosmith, Kim Atkinson, Richard Barone, Todd Barton, Andrew Carter, Lee Charlton, Carson Cooman, Tony D'Anna, Rubem Dantas, David Darling, Karen Elaine, Reinhard Flatischler, Evelyn Glennie, Dave Grusin, Sofia Gubaidulina, Micky Harte, Imogene Heap, Toshiyuki Hiraoka, Kitaro, Klang, Gary Knowlton, Chris Lamb, Pete Lockett, Bill McQuay, Robert Minden Ensemble, Nexus, Not Breathing, John Pascuzzi, Luis Peralta, Emil Richards, Steve Roach, Christopher Rouse, Lalo Schifrin, Tom Scott, Andi Spicer, Jesse Stewart, John Synder, Bert Turetsky, Glen Velez, Sara Winge, Tom Waits, and many others.
Waterphones have been exhibited in museums and galleries and utilized by music/performance groups and symphonies such as the "New York Philharmonic" and others worldwide. The Renwick Gallery (The Smithsonian Institute), The Oakland Museum, The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, L.A.I.C.A., the San Francisco Folk Art Museum and the Exploratorium are a few of the art spaces to exhibit them. They have been the subject of several documentaries including "Art Notes," aired on public television in San Francisco and a movie short, "Celestial Wave" as well as numerous videos on YouTube.
This instrument is well represented in contemporary music. A few recordings are: Miles Davis, "Aurora" & "Tutu," Steve Roach & Robert Rich's "Soma," Petit Mal's "World Siezure" & "Levitation," Machette Ensemble's "Matters Not," Mel Graves' "3 Worlds," George Marsh's "MarshLand," Tokenki's "Primal Landscape," Petite Jinks "Where Is The One," Terra Nova's "Groundswell," Bill Frisell's "Old Sugar Bear," Todd Barton's "Nosferatu," "Droman," & "Timbres," Gatmo's "Sideshow Seance" and Tan Dun's "Water Music." (Also see Richard's "Water Dreams" and the Gravity Adjusters Expansion Band, "ONE" offered on this site).
"It’s an honor to carry on my friend Richard Waters’ incredible legacy of sound and vision. Overall, Richard Waters was my biggest influence in learning how to combine disciplines and forge new ones. Out of our friendship bore an exchange of ideas, a mentorship, and a supportive confidant during the creative process."- Brooks Hubbert IIIMore About
"Brooks Hubbert is the ideal artist to expand the
legacy of the Waterphone. My father, Richard Waters, was impressed with Brooks'
dedication to soulful music and inspired craftsmanship, two vital aspects of
making these world-famous percussion instruments. This new generation of
Waterphones, handmade by Brooks with both technical skill and an ear to tonal
quality, my father would have been thrilled to play. It's with the Waters'
family blessing that Brooks' carries on the tradition of the Waterphone."
I am the proud owner of four waterphones that were handcrafted for me by the instrument's inventor, Richard Waters. As a composer, percussionist, and instrument builder, I am always looking for new sounds and new musical resources to work with. In the waterphone, I have found a remarkably versatile and aesthetically beautiful instrument that is capable of producing an astonishing range of sounds and colours. I consider the waterphone to be one of the most significant additions to the percussive palette over the past half-century. These are exquisite instruments and I feel very fortunate to have them.
I have long had a fascination towards the waterphone instrument and have used it in many of my solo concerts, writing projects and concerti performances including the concerti by Michael Daugherty and Tan Dun. It is difficult to put into words the description of the sound because it is forever fluid and changes in ways that are totally unpredictable thus allowing the performer the experience a truly never-ending journey of fascination. Richards Waterphones require only a small amount of physical effort to coax a sound from the instrument but for me the respect of allowing the instrument to 'speak' is of the utmost importance. Richard crafts his Waterphones with such care, which is why they are of the highest quality. It almost feels as if the instrument is a living thing, always communicating in ways that are ethereal and wonderful. I am delighted to be the proud owner of a varied collection of Richard's Waterphones and other inventions.
If I had to live on a deserted island and could only have one musical instrument it would be one of your waterphones! After 30 years of exploring the waterphone there are still new territories to find. Having experienced a variety of knock-off style "waterphones" over the decades I still am most moved by Richard's originals: The Deep Resonance, Musical Tunings and Subtle Responsiveness -- for me it is the Stradivarius waterphone!
I thank you again for the polite and great job and kindly price. I had a chance to play the cheap imitations of waterphone. They are like junk, very bad fishish, bad materials..... and very different sounds - no natural echo, no superball mode sound, no sympathy, no cool rod sound etc. I was asked about a waterphone via myspace, then I recommended to contact you.
A friend of mine has 2 imitations; #1 sold at EBay- a very cheap materials and bad finish. Bowing sound is noisy, no natural echo, no rod sympathy sound. Superball mode works but cheap/dirty sound. #2 gold one - a bit better finish than #1 but material is too thick. Superball mode doesn't work well. No natural echo/reverb, no rod sympathy sound. *I mean "rod sympathy sound" is the special sound made by some of rods by sympathy. A bit difficult to explain in English....
Comparing with these imitations, your work is very very polite and greatly tunes w/selected rich materials. It's different instrument from these imitations. OK, I'll let you know when I finish the CDs. I am a guitarist/ keyboarding (main job is composing) but now I play the waterphone mainly!
The MegaBass Waterphone was just delivered and has arrived safely. The sound is exquisite - it bows so well - and I look forwards to many years of music with is as I learn it's idiosyncrasies. Having only played copies before, it is wonderful to work with an instrument with such a beautiful sound, resonance and sustain. Thank you once again and best wishes.
I received my MegaBass today safe and sound. Man is it a beautiful thing!! Wow, like night and day from that ocean harp I have. I don't know why I waited so long to get one of yours but I'm glad I finally did. - The real deal. I will let you know when I use it on any specific projects of note when that time comes. Thanks a million for your workmanship and I'll catch up with you later.
It's a real thing of beauty, and the richness of tone is way in excess of what I expected. The samples I have don't really do it justice. The sympathetic resonances, the way they can be coaxed to fade in and build up... it all reminds me very much of the way a Sitar works (I had one in the late 60s / early 70s).
I received the MegaBass Waterphone yesterday in the post. I couldn't have received it sooner since I've been away in Lisbon visiting friends. I have now become acquainted with the instrument over the last day. I cannot tell you how grateful I am you, it is a marvel and the most beautiful thing I've ever held or played. A simply stunning sculpture which casts a powerful, overwhelming spell over me. A big thanks to you once again Richard, I think that what you do is incredible.
Thank you thank you Richard. The Waterphone is just out of this world! I am completely in love. I'm like a little kid when people came into the room wanting to show her off. Her? hmmm... That just rolled off the tongue. Will report more once I've played on stage this Sunday but I know the response is going to be a lot of dropping jaws!
Just wanted to drop you a line about the waterphone, Richard. I wish you could have been at some of the shows we played and seen the reaction from people when it was used. Every head in the room turned, all conversation stopped, and musicians and others have constantly been asking me about the instrument. The range is awesome, and it's a sound that's both beautiful and eerie.
I'm still learning to play it, and I'm positive I will still be finding new tones years from now. I'm extremely happy about this instrument. If I need an indescribable sound that immediately evokes an image or mood -- either from a crowd or for a studio recording -- I know what I'm reaching for.
Thanks again for such a unique and beautiful instrument.
I'm really enjoying getting to know my new Waterphone. It's a deep and complex instrument, as well as being easy for a novice to play in a pleasing manner.
I have been an avid user of a bass Waterphone for about 8 years now. It was given to me as a gift with no information about it whatsoever. Before then I had only heard the instrument in movies, TV shows, etc... I really never found out much about the instrument until the past three years. When learning more about it I never thought to look for information on the Internet! Recently a friend of mine informed me that he was buying one from you! What good news to hear! I wanted to write you to just say thanks for creating such a great instrument! It has brought much enlightenment and joy into my life! I have really yet to find anywhere near the amount of sonic possibilities it can create! I have found it to awe audiences over in seconds, totally make people stop what they are doing and just enjoy the good energy it produces. I have used the Waterphone in countless experiments - from straight, to with digital and acoustical effects... going as far as playing it live through a Talk Box and singing it (enochian style) to playing it underwater at pool parties. It has shown up on about 12 releases from my band Not Breathing, as well as had been taken to countless live performances including 4 U.S. Tours (w/ bands such as Einsturzende Neubauten, Test Department, Pigface, DVOA, Cluster, Scorn, etc... ) and used in local Butoh Fire Dance performances. All the best to you!
P.S. - A funny Waterphone story. One time I was watching Telemundo (Spanish television) one night at about 1 in the morning. It was a special news report - but I couldn't figure out what it was talking about... then all of a sudden the camera goes into a dark warehouse, all you can see is smoke... and the whole time someone is playing the Waterphone very badly (probally a looped sample) and then the camera zooms into a big COCK FIGHT! It was an anti cock fighting segment! Yet it was so haunting with the Waterphone background.... just thought you should know that! :)
Wow! the (Bass) Waterphone is so beautiful. i have been using it with some of my live looping devices and it is truly truly wonderful to hear a repeat of the bass tones washing washing away is sonic heaven. i am able to move from serenity to utter chaos in a matter of seconds with the waterphone. i have found that chopsticks are a good way to move from bass to some higher end percussion, capture that in a loop and it becomes a spinning death trance and than i pull out the bow and move back into the world of black water.
Hey Brooks, the waterphone sounds great! I started using it today in contemporary improvisation sessions. Anyways, thanks so much for your hard work! Much appreciated and incredible craftsmanship.
Hi Brooks. I went to pick the waterphone today. It's incredible! You made a fantastic work! I just want to thank for your time
Hi Brooks Recieved the Waterphone in the beginning of this week. What a wonderful instrument it is. Thank you very much. Again, many thanks.
Dear Brooks, The waterphone has arrived and it is beautiful! Looks and sounds great! Thank you very much.
Dear Brooks, I just received the waterphone today! It's so lovely and making loud/great sound. I'm very happy with this! Thanks again for taking my order. I think I never seen this form of the waterphone at this size besides fake one. Anyway it's quite rare.
Hello Brooks, It looks absolutely amazing, beautifully crafted! You did a phenomenal job building it, thank you much!!
Hi Brooks, Everything is well! I'm very happy with that waterphone. It is good processed. It has a wide range of sounds and it sounds very rich and clean. That's all I can say after playing it just one day. I think there are a lot of sounds to discover in the near future. I don't regret that I bought it and if I would buy a second one I would come back to you. Thank you Brooks
Hi Brooks! I will definitely learn to use it more in my current album (which is an ambiance album themed as paleontology ancient sea creatures). Again, it has been a pleasure working with a dedicated passionate craftsman and musician. Thank you.
Hi Brooks, The Waterphone has arrived today. It looks beautiful and sounds wonderful!! I’m very happy. Thank you for this great work!! I will use it in my storytelling performance TRÄUMER (dreamer) as a main instrument. All the best
Hi Brooks! The waterphone has made it and sounds amazing. Using it in a concert tonight!
Brooks, The waterphone arrived in good condition. It looks great. I’m glad I got a chance to use one of the knockoffs. It makes me appreciate this instrument that much more. Thanks again for the beautiful instrument.