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Six Bass

The six bass is made out of six whole drums with three notes in each. The tonal range is 18 notes, starting from A1. The Trinidad layout of the six bass is designed to put notes with fourth or fifth intervals in the same drum as often as possible. This is done to make the notes support the harmonical spectra of each other. But it will result in the notes being distributed quite "arbitrarily" over the drums, see the layout figure.

Overview of Six Bass, Trinidad style

The tuner Clifford Alexis uses an alternative layout that presumably seeks to combine the goals of putting harmonic intervals in the same drum and a logical structuring of the notes. The result is a six bass that has intervals of fifths in the three first drums and fourths in the last three.

Overview of Six Bass, Clifford Alexis style

Special crafting techniques

No separate sinking is done on the basses. The surface is lowered at the same time as the pan is backed. A six bass is sunk down to 9 cm in the middle. It is important that the borders of the notes have a straight slope (not curved) down towards the middle. To raise the notes of a bass a special tool is often used; a paddle-like wooden stick that is long enough to reach down to the bottom of the drum, see fig. B.12.

Measures for the Six Bass

The measured six bass was made by Rudy Smith in 1990. The position for the lowest note is left out and the measures for the highest note are extrapolated, due to the difference in range between Smith's and Alexis' layouts. Position of notes is given according to Clifford Alexis' scheme.

Notes

Drum

Groove

Number
of notes

Tonal Range

Depth of playing
surface [mm]

Length of
side [mm]

Hole pos.
from rim [mm]

Width [mm]

Radial length [mm]

End from rim [mm]

18

C2-F3

90

883

100-150

5-6

210-230

60

Note

Position

Radial length

Tangential length

Length along rim

B1

275

450

650

C2

1

275

440

650

C#2

4

270

430

640

D2

2

270

430

650

D#2

5

280

420

660

E2

3

265

450

640

F2

6

260

430

620

F#2

4

265

460

620

G2

1

265

430

630

G#2

5

270

430

630

A2

2

260

410

610

Bb2

6

260

430

610

B2

3

240

360

470

C3

1

240

370

470

C#3

4

235

360

470

D3

2

240

360

470

D#3

5

240

360

480

E3

3

240

360

470

F3

6

240

360

470