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My name is Chris Banta.

For the past fifty years (1973-2023) I've been exploring the design, fabrication, and tuning of various types of melodic bar percussion instruments.

This website is about to go down a different direction.   I am currently transferring all this data into a book writing project. 

The attempt is to document all my bar percussion projects, processes, materials, and musical technicalities used in this lifelong endeavor. 

This book is an exhaustive photo-opportunity and explains the wonderful, tricky at times, frustrating at times, and the never-ending romance of such a really cool instrument and subject.

(Heavy into the research phase right now.)

1979 - Chris Banta with early instrument constructions


2019 - Chris Banta in the shop with some of his percussion projects


Just Completed

Two Model C38D children's marimbas.

Bars are made from African Padauk.

Bodies are made from Baltic Birch Plywood

The upper frame (in front) is made from Maple and the other frame (rear) is made from Walnut to provide a stylistic constrast.


On Deck:

A 1-1/2 octave chromatic bass marimba (From: C2 to F3).  What's unusual about this instrument is that the bars are made from IPE (ee-pay) which is extremely dense and durable wood and is used extensively on outdoor decks, ship decks, and in areas requiring an environmentally robust organic material.  The one unknown at this time is when tuned, how the ring time and brilliance of pitch sound will be.

Note: In marimba building, since everything starts with the bars, their pitch and positioning, rulers and T-squares are used to align the bars to make them visually symmetrical.  From there, after their first tuning, the frame and resonators will be designed to conform and fit to this layout structure. 



Anyone interested in this wooden species, its tuning and its resulting sound research, please contact me and I'll be more than happy to discuss.  I would also be interested in the findings of others out there who have already experimented with IPE.

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