I love instruments that create deep, rich bass pitches. Instruments like the acoustic bass, electric bass, huge gongs, giant drums and now bass tone bars. I met Chris Banta after I acquired one of his fantastic custom built Contra Bass Marimbas. This instrument is a one of a kind creation. Chris made a whole new set of wooden marimba bars out of the wonderfully musical wood: African Pad auk.
Chris invited me to his shop where I first saw his amazing Bass Tone Bars. Basically this is a set of gigantic contra bass marimba bars individually mounted on a wood roll-around resonator. The bars are so massive you can hit them really hard with huge mallets to create gigantic bass tones that set the house (windows and all) vibrating. Chris brought them over for me to try out. He also installed a piezo pick up on each bar. I found that I could record several bars together with a high quality mic and also route the piezos for a crisp sound that is completely isolated. Combining the two elements gave me fantastic sounds. I immediately started to write music for them and recorded several cool tunes. Here’s one of them: Bass Tone Bar
Chris and I took them to a Remo drum circle to show them off and really got an enthusiastic response. I was wanting to help Chris get the superb instruments out there. I sent an e mail to Danny Elfman (I’d work with him briefly on a film). He told me he was interested. His assistant came over and was blown by the sound. Danny asked to borrow them…and well, that was that. He bought them! Fortunately Chris has another set for me, so I can continue my “deep bass” explorations. Here is the site to check them out. Chris Banta’s Bass Tone Bars