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Marimba Bar Design and Tuning Workshop

Marimba Bar Fabrication Process




Course covers the entire marimba bar design process, which includes:

  • desired properties of wood used in bar percussion

  • bar design and sizing related to the octave

  • suggested fabrication tools and techniques

  • the tuning process with attention to specific harmonics (Chromatic Tuning devices also discussed.)

  • protective finishes

  • bar problems and solutions

  • the effects of the environment on the bar's function

Note: This workshop is primarily about the bar itself.  However, during the course, some discussions may provide insights on full instrument design and suggestions for bar layout strategies.

This workshop guides the student through a series of steps of how to turn a piece of wood into a musical note suitable for use in melodic bar percussion.   


MB1 - Marimba Bar Design and Tuning Workshop 

  • Length: (1 day) 8 hrs 

  • Cost: $250 

  • Location: Chris' Workshop (Thousand Oaks, CA

  • Class Size: Two students

Course materials include: 

  • Book: Marimba Bar Fabrication and Tuning, by Chris Banta

  • Helpful Handouts

  • Bar blanks* - sized for: C2 cello C, C3 tenor C, C4 middle C, and C5 treble C

  • Plenty of Functional Demonstrations

  • Plenty of Hands-On tuning of actual marimba bars using a special belt sander while monitoring the gradual wood removal process using the strobe tuner

*Pre-cut blanks are made by Chris Banta.  Other than the sander, students will not be allowed to use any saws or cutting tools.


How To Sign Up:  Simply contact Chris using the information below.  A date will be established that fits both of our schedules along with the street address to the shop.

Medical Disclaimer: 

  • The Student will be required to sign a form that holds Chris Banta and his property "harmless" and removes his financial responsibility in the event the student should hurt themselves while in the workshop.

  • Students must show evidence of medical insurance.

  • As a workshop environment, safety is stressed at and with every operation.  It should noted that in working with wood occasional splinters due occur.

  • Tweezers, Band-Aids, and a First-Aid kit are available. For more serious injuries there is a local urgent care center - but the student is fully responsible for his/her medical expenses.

  • Students are not allowed to use any saws or cutting tools.

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