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Chris Banta: Master Bar-Percussion Tuner


Chris Banta   -  Del Roper


It comes down to:

  • years of practice in building marimbas and fabricating and tuning endless amounts of marimba bars

  • understanding the physical properties in length, width, thickness, and shape of the bar,

  • knowledge in measuring and interpreting the vibrational areas of the bar using highly accurate test and measuring equipment to verify correctness of pitch

  • knowing the exact locations within the bar as to where and how much material must be modified to correct the tuning anomaly 

Back in 1980 Chris spent many hours with master marimba builder, Del Roper, discussing the detailed points of harmonic tuning. Without this critical harmonic detail, the bar sounds out of tune.


The interest in learning the marimba building craft lead to many construction projects having hundreds of bars of various sizes and ranges.  Every project offered more and more tuning and learning opportunities with many casualties and successes.


Along the way, there were many marimba, xylo, and vibe tuning jobs.  Most bars were capable of being re-tuned.  However, there were many bars that were out of pitch and not salvageable, thus requiring new bars to be made from scratch that exactly matched the size and pitch of the suspect bar. 


Chris has developed a professional tuning technique and extensive knowledge in how to read, interpret the strobe tuner's images, and most importantly how to apply those readings in correcting a questionably tuned bar.  Once tuned...ah!...a perfect and natural tone resulted.

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