Dominican Jing Ping master demonstrating the gwa, Credit: Africasounds.

As the name suggests, a scraper comprises a ridged edge with a stick. Scraping instruments are common in Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, and are played with sticks, combs or a switch.



The guiro or reco-reco (raspador, casaca) originated in Africa and is made of ridged bamboo, or, in Latin America, often made from a metal spring. The scratcher, a tube of ridged galvanized iron sheeting, is often used in the rhythm section of a steel band.



The washboard was a popular jazz instrument in the 1920s. It was also played in the folk music of the southern states of America and in skiffle – all styles of music famous for using homemade instruments.


It is, quite literally, an old-fashioned washing board with a rectangular wooden frame, 30 centimeters (12 inches) wide and 45 centimeters (18 inches) long. In which are mounted galvanized metal ridges. The washboard may be hung from the neck of the performer, as in the Cajun or zydeco rub-board vest, where the performers wear metal thimbles on their fingers and rub the washboard in a rhythmic pattern. In a jug band the washboard is stroked with a whisk broom or metal snare-drum brush. The washboard provides a constant backbeat to the music, like the use of a shaker in Latin-American music, and may replace the drummer in a band. The performer may add other small percussion instruments like a cymbal, woodblock, or cowbell to the washboard.