Day 6

Canadian musician builds stand-up bass shaped like the Stanley Cup

Shane Chisholm is a Canadian living in Nashville, and while the Penguins and Predators take to the ice to fight for the Stanley Cup, Chisholm will be playing his own replica as an upright bass.
Shane Chisholm plays the upright bass, but he also plays a gas tank and the Stanley Cup at shows in Nashville. (Susan McKenzie/CBC, Shane Chisholm)
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Walking down the streets of Nashville, Shane Chisholm carries the subject of many a hockey player's dream — the Stanley Cup.

Though it's not the real thing — it's actually an upright bass — now that Nashville Predators hockey team is facing off against the Pittburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final, the cup has become a topic of conversation in the city known for its music.

"I just kind of smile as I walk by them," Chisholm, a Canadian country and Americana musician, tells Day 6's Brent Bambury. "Everyone is pointing and asking. It's pretty fun. I enjoy that."

     

Nashville has a Stanley Cup, whether they win or not

Chisholm's Stanley Cup bass stands about as tall as he does. (Susan McKenzie/CBC)

Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Chisholm first built his musical replica while living in Alberta. Now he takes his cup bass to gigs around Nashville.

He performed with it in Tennessee for the first time several months prior, right as the Predators were gaining steam.

"Someone in the audience had asked, 'What is that?' And I go, 'Well it's Stanley Cup. I wanted to show Nashville what it looks like'," he says.

"You know the joke's [now] going to be that Nashville is going to show me what it looks like."

Chisholm built the trophy out of pots and pans of varying size, and an Ikea salad bowl. The whole thing weighs about 23 kilograms and is as tall as he is. He's added wheels so that it's easier to take to performances. 

    

Sparks fly in fiery finale

He also added an extra bit of metal for his fiery finale, where he takes an angle grinder to the side of the trophy and lets the sparks fly.

That angle grinder acts as a musical instrument too. Chisholm attached a music pickup to the hardware tool and can play a few simple melodies with it.

"The kids like it," Chisholm says, laughing.

This display is actually a tamer version of one performed by the hair metal band Jackyl, who in the music video for "The Jumberjack," play music with a chainsaw.

The Stanley Cup bass isn't his only novelty instrument, however. He also plays an automobile gas tank.

Chisholm says that he found inspiration while building a bass out of wood, the challenge being that it requires about 120 pounds of wood to be whittled down to roughly 15 pounds.

While he was working on that project, he was in a wrecking yard and saw a gas tank laying on the side of a van.

Chisholm's musical replica, while not as tall as this statue, doesn't actually differ in size or weight significantly from the real thing. (Shane Chisholm)

    

Novelty bass sounds better than you'd expect

"I said, 'actually that's about the same size. I'm going to try it. See what happens.' Took it home. Purged it. And it actually sounds decent," he says.

The gas tank sounds better overall than the Stanley Cup as an upright bass, but overall Chisholm says people in the industry are surprised when they hear it.

"I like to be challenged. [The Stanley Cup] doesn't sound as good as the gas tank but it has its own unique tone," say Chisholm.  

While few in Nashville recognize the old Hockey Night in Canada theme, he says he's gotten a lot of mileage out of Stompin' Tom Connors' "The Hockey Song."

Chisholm is a Boston Bruins fan, but now that he spends so much time in Nashville, he's happy to root for the home team, especially as they enter Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. 

"They're a great team. You can feel it just walking," said Chisholm. "The other night when the Predators scored, you could hear through the entire inner city of everybody screaming. It was an amazing feeling."

To hear Shane Chisholm play a rendition of Hockey Night in Canada on his bass, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.