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WipLstix around the world

It's hard for me to imagine where all the wiplstix have visited in this world. A lot of remarkable, intrepid explorers have taken the song in their heart, packed it up in a little tube and shared it around the world. It is a great honor for me to have facilitated this good will towards our fellow humans. If you have traveled to an interesting place with a wiplstix, or have an interesting story, please send me your pictures and anectdotes.

Here's what folks have said about their wipLstix:


Hi Bill,
 Just wanted to tell you that my husband and I made it to Mount Katahdin on November 1! I have loved the instrument so much. It has been a beautiful part of our journey and brought me so much happiness, and the chance to share music along the way. Everyone asks about the instrument and I tell them about you and your work.
Cheers, and thanks for your excellent craftsmanship. 
Sheila "Sap" Lovelady (rosined my bow on tree sap)


thank you for your email. 
I hope you have ensured that you are not out of pocket due to my crazy style of ordering from you!! 
We are intrigued - how do you know about the loch of lumbister????!! The fishing might be good in there, but it is a helluva trek to reach it.. Much better to catch brown trout in the Loch of brough! 
As for woolly beasts - my son will play you a lovely Shetlnad tune in a field of beasts once the fiddle arrives,I am sure! 
We look forward to trying out your very exciting and unusual fiddle and i will let you know when it arrives.

Many thanks, linsey nisbet , Yell Island, Scottland


WiplStix arrived today. 
Canada Customs filed "WiplStix with bow" as "Archery Supplies" so I've christened it "Archie".
It takes a bit of getting used to playing, but I can see that we're going to have a lot of fun together.
Thankyou for creating and supplying such a unique instrument.

Hi Bill,
Thanks for sending the maple fiddle. It arrived on Saturday in great shape. I love the maple and think Jessie will
too. By the way, I lent it to a friend of ours who is a First Violinist for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C.
He took it to "work" with him on Saturday night, (they were playing a concert) and showed it around backstage. Everyone who
saw it was quite taken by your instrument and wanted to know where to get one! I am sending you a picture of the Concertmaster, Nurit
Bar-Josef, who also loved it. This is high praise indeed.


By damn. That silly looking inner-tube works!! 

Hello Bill,
I'm back from Scotland after playing my album release at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.  
While there, I went back to Skye where I used to live.  I brought your fiddle hiking as well as to some sessions during the festival....a big hit.
Here's two photos from the Isle of Skye with the Black Cuillen mountains in the background.  (The well known Irish bronze age horn player, Simon O'Dwyer, is dancing on the rock next to me).
Thought you would enjoy!
Thanks again for the fiddle.
 Bonnie Rideout
Tulloch Music, Ltd.

Perfect! Pretty damn good tone for a sweet little thing! Thanks so much! –Jean


Hey Bill
I took my Stix on a ship, and was videotaped playing
in front of an iceberg.Attached is a still (screen clip); the whole documentary of the cruise is here:
(I was in the "Life at Sea -- Watching Icebergs segment)
 Thanks for providing the entertainment.
 Jules Hummon


As promised, here's a wiplstix in action in Iceland. Location is in a place called sænautasel "near" the town of Egilstaðir, though really it's kind of in the middle of nowhere. Anyhow the fiddle held up well though getting lost in Minneapolis, and throughout the journey around the entire country. It was a welcome friend when I wanted to play a tune in the middle of the openness (of which Iceland has no shortage).Best,-kz


Dear Bill,
I received the wiplstix Monday and I am floored by its construction! You are absolutely brilliant! I am having a great time, I played outside the student union today(no pictures, yet) I was surprised at how small it really was and what a great sound I could get from it. The pitch pipe tail piece was a clever addition and I love that it fits perfectly in the pvc pipe! Thanks again! -Shaina

Hello Bill,
I bought a WipLstik a few years back. The purchase was about testing out whether or not I wanted to return to playing the violin (which I had left behind 30+ years ago) or accepting the fact I had simply acquired a neat piece of wall art.
The good news is the music bug bit. I now own 2 full size violins and take a lesson every week. -Barbara W.


My daughter had an opportunity to play one of your wipLstix at Colonial Williamsburg this evening and she was enchanted. Do you have a means up making a shoulder rest for someone more classically trained? Have you ever made a Viola version? My daughter plays both violin and viola and very much wants one of these instruments.
Thank you, Wendy
...I will attach a picture of Olivia trying a Thomas Jefferson Wood WipLstix at the King's Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg, VA



I bought a wipl from you for my two year old daughter. She loves it!
Unfortunately, I need to order a replacement bridge for it - somehow  
the one that came with the violin came off, and was lost somewhere in  
the house.
Would it be possible to buy just a bridge?
Let me know-


Many thanks... it sounds very nice and is a really brilliant creation... kudos! I'm taking it to my local luthier to have fittings changed as Leander Branham suggests. Best, David

That wipLstix sounds wonderful. Has anyone on the site tried it? Does it double as a travel cricket bat? -Becky T

Still wipLing here in TX! Mine has accompanied me to AZ, UT, NM, PA, MD, and of course, all across the Lone Star State -- most often on hiking vacations where I like to noodle a verse or two of Brennan on the Moor, Wayfaring Stranger, or Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair, sitting at some scenic overlook. -Jason Cooke Austin, TX

We received the fiddle this afternoon. You are right - it's a beautiful piece and very unique. My daughter, Megan, tuned it and played it; and we all agree that Alex is going to love it! We'll have him email you with his reaction. Thanks so much. -Leanne

Hey Bill,
I love the wiplstix you picked for me. I take it everywhere. Everyone thinks it's awesome, including my piano and violin teachers . . . . . AND MY SISTER. My mom and I are wondering whether you have started working on the Jefferson wood fiddles yet, because we would like to get one for my sister, Megan. She is going to canoeing camp in July, also, and I think she is sad that she won't have a wiplstix to wipl with while she's there. Please let us know ASAP. By the way, she is in a different camp, but on the same lake, so we will not be able to share my wiplstix. -Alex

As you can see, my son is thrilled with his wiplstix. He takes it everywhere and whips it out every now and then, especially when he thinks he's got an audience, and plays a few tunes. Of course, everyone wants to know where he got it . . . and they're always amazed to see the A-tuner in the tailpiece. He also likes to show the PVC pipe to people, especially adults, like our neighbors, and other adults, and make them guess what's inside. It was, by far, his favorite birthday present. We would like to purchase the T.J. fiddle for Megan. Thanks again. -Leanne

I am sure loving my liddle fiddle. Thanks for the fun. -Karen J

Hey Bill,
My wife bought me a Wiplschtik for my birthday. I really love it! Thanks for inventing something that's portable, doesn't make as much sound and is beautiful to look at. -Brad 

I got the part. It works great. Thanks for providing it to me at no charge. Great customer service! -Brad L.

I saw this advertised in the Strings magazine. I am very anxious to get this as (can you believe). I wanted this even as a child- probably as much or more than a pony. -Mari W.

I recently bought one of your birdseye maple wiplstixs at the Philadelphia Furniture show -- and though my personal musical growth has only progressed to making noise, (a feat that I personally am quite proud of, mind you) I am thrilled with its effect on family and co-workers. Scottish, Irish and Appalachian tunes (as well as a smattering of classical) just happen, if you leave it out where people can see it. (And of course, this dispenses smiles,toe-tapping and occasional jigging all around) It is a wonderful social invention. I have expect that if I continue to leave it lying about, the Chieftains truly will pop round for a pint and a song. -Rose C.

Hi Bill, I got my wipLstix and it's gonna be perfect for the whitewater rafting trip i am going on next month! Thanks! -carolyn

Hi Bill -- I received my Wiplstick, and it's great! What fun to play! The stick is wonderful! Thanks, Bill, for your craftsmanship and ingenuity. -Judy

I'm a penniless student, but my first paycheck, after graduation, will be used for your fiddle, guitar, or dulcimer (undecided). Proves you not only think outside the box, you don't even know where the box is! -A. Miller

I am still penniless, but hoping for a good tax return this year. And I am still drooling over the interent pictures of the instruments (all three now!). Love the guitar design. Proves you not only think outside the box, you don't even know where the box is! 
Keep up the good work. You do it well. -A. Miller

Thank you. I love it. My family loves it, as the only time I have to practice is between 4:30 and 6:00 a.m. They can't hear all my mistakes, and if I close the door to my office, they can't hear it at all. Hmmmm. . . I guess the fact that its most popular attribute in this home is its "intimate" sound, says a little about my playing. Ouch.
Thanks again. It was worth the wait (4 years!).
Keep smiling.
-A. Miller

'Wiplstix with case and bow weighs 1 lb 1 oz.' That's perfect; my goal is for the fiddle and case and all to weigh no more than 3 pounds; I'm planning on hiking the whole Appalachian Trail with it, and every oz counts... -JoAnn

I loved having my little Wiplstix with me in Florida. Played it every day. My parents loved it. Their friends loved it. I played it in the airport waiting for my connecting flight. -Charlie

Thanks so much, it is indeed the wiplstix of my dreams. -JoAnn

Interesting product design, and looks good for camping and midnight practice. Review: Okay, I'll own up: I splurged and bought one at Clifftop this year. I'd long been intending to try and build something myself, so finding this was the answer to my dreams. I'm glad to say it's definitely lived up to expectations. The sound is quiet enough to play at midnight (and surprisingly acceptable to the ear, as well) and of course the portability is fantastic so you end up taking it on hikes, down to the park, overnight trips etc and never have to suffer without a fiddle again! Beautifully made and fun to play. Not that it feels exactly like playing your real one. The 1/8th size bow takes some getting used to, though I don't notice the reduced bridge-to-endpin length. The almost non-existant gap between tailpiece and top won't allow ordinary fine tuners (I'm going to see if those string-distorting ones you see on kids' violins might possibly fit) so tuning is harder but it does stay quite well once tuned. (You don't really want to use a penny for tuning--a table knife or screwdriver used sideways gives leverage for better control.)

For me, the biggest problem was a bit of sidewise rolling with string crossing despite the inflatable shoulder rest (I'm not sure this is pictured on the website; it's made of bicycle inner tube!) but I've designed my own to hold the half-round shape of the body steady (and fit in the carrying tube, of course) and it's fine now. -Bill M.


Hi, Bill--

Here's a pic of me with my WiplStix at about 20 below, somewhere in the Urals, Dec. 07.  I promised it to you some time back, but my home computer was down.  The gypsies living in the railroad cars in the background wanted me to join them, but my fingers were too cold to keep up...  All I can say is, it was damn cold!


The WiplStix never fails to amaze...Regards,Charles


Daily Freeman (newspaper from New Paltz, NY)

Serving the Hudson Valley since 1871

Police > Courts

Bomb squad blew up violin, case

Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008
By Dietrich Knauth

NEW PALTZ - The "suspicious device" that temporarily shut down the New Paltz Trailways bus station Thursday was a traveler's violin, New Paltz police said Friday.

Police said the device, which was blown up by a bomb squad, turned out to be "neither hazardous nor intentionally left there," and closed their investigation.

Police responded to the bus station at 3 p.m. Thursday and found a piece of white tubing approximately two feet long, that was capped at both ends with wires protruding from it. The bus station and surrounding area was immediately evacuated, and the state police bomb squad was called to the scene. Police X-rayed and then blew up the violin case.

Based on evidence recovered from the device after it was "neutralized," New Paltz detectives working with the FBI determined that it was a musical instrument called a WiplStix, a type of traveling violin. The instrument uses four colored strings, some of which were protruding from the PVC piping when the item was found by police.

"In the world we now live in, pipes with wires sticking out of them will almost always cause the precautionary response we implemented," said New Paltz police Lt. Steven Osarczuk. "When it comes to our residents, we're always going to err on the side of caution.

On Friday, police said the owner of the WiplStix contacted them after hearing about the incident. He said he had the violin in a white PVC carrying case and had it strapped to his backpack as he was exiting a Trailways bus from New York City to New Paltz. He told police that the PVC pipe must have fallen off the backpack as he was exiting the bus.

The WiplStix weighs one pound, one ounce, and costs about $300, according to the manufacturer's Web site.

"Y'all make a big deal about things up there," said Bill Whipple, who manufactures the instruments in North Carolina. He said police called him during the investigation.

Whipple has been making the instruments for about 10 years, and this is the first time one has been treated as an explosive, although people have joked about its resemblance to a pipe bomb.

"As kind of a joke, people ask me 'Can I take this thing on a plane?'" Whipple said. "I've taken them on planes and never had any problems."

Whipple said he requested that the remains of the violin be sent to him, but police told him its pieces were scattered over a dozen boxes.

"They blew it to smithereens," Whipple said.

Although Whipple said the police officers he talked to "definitely had a sense of humor" about the incident, Osarczuk said the alarm it caused was no laughing matter.

"I think the manufacturer should seriously reconsider how he packages these instruments in the future," he said.

Whipple said that he's considering putting up a memorial Web page devoted to "old number 465," referring to the instrument's number.

On top of the  world, Sheila "Sap" starts her 2200 plus mile trek on the Appalacian trail at Springer Mountain, Georgia with wiplstix.

On November 1st, 2012 "Sap" finishes the A.T, atop of Mount Katadin, Maine. (WOW, and congratulations!!!)

Wiplstix is a class act

Ilse of Skye, Scootland

Iceberg serenade

Iceland serenade

Shaking off the dust in Williamsburg

Wiplstix- The bridge to genius! "Mom! Where's my bridge!?"

WipLstix, the minimalist fiddle, makes a stop at Angkor Wat Buddhist Temple, Cambodia.

Rock levitating with Fakir in India

Lost Tourist in Thailand

Muses, the Greek Goddess of art, plays her WipLstix in front of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece.

Fiddlin' in Fiji

Ellen Hansen didnt need a sherpa to carry the wipLstix to a Glacier in Manang, Nepal.

On Safari in South Africa

Chillin' on an isle off Argentina

Zocalo Marimaba jam- Mexico

Really Chillin' -20 below in the Ural Mtns

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