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BASS BOX Testimonial Page

For as long as people have been playing traditional American music, they have been trying not to carry around a bass to play it. In the 20's, 30's, and 40's people would substitute the smaller cello, but this never really gave the bottom to the music that was needed. Next came the Electric Bass, but this always sounded artificial and left the group seperate from the actual sound source, the amplifier.

John has done something radically different without even using strings. It sounds like a bass. It vibrates the floor like a bass. It is an acoustic insturment that stays with the other insturments. A person playing this insturment can use it to hold a fiddle, guitar, and banjo together just like a "real bass."

It even requires that the bassist sit down. Any bass player will tell you what a luxury this is. Sitting while playing bass has always been at best awkward and mostly impossible.

Basses usually sell for $1,000 up depending on quality and condition. The Bass Box sells for just a fraction of that making it one of the most affordable insturments out there.

Dave Cannon

Feb. 17- Yes I got the bass box. It looks and sounds GREAT. I think I'm going to enjoy it, I have named it Pandora, you never know what might come out of it. I will be playing it tonight at the jam.

Feb. 18 - What an night of playing many did not know where the bass was, they could hear it but not see it. They were amazed to see how small it is to get that much sound out of it. I learned to play it tonight.

I do have a blister on my middle finger. (John says watch the playing tips video again).

Chuck Bose
Chuck's Handcrafted Mandolins & Mt. Instrument Shop

John Kelley (banjo player in the Tune Dogs, a Sugar in the Gourd favorite) has seen the future of Old-Time music and it is small. The Bass Box looks like an overgrown kalimba or mbira (African thumb piano) and kind of sounds like one when played unaccompanied. But when joined by other Old-Time instruments, this unassuming wooden box sounds just like an upright bass. It's spooky. Just the other day I walked into a jam and heard a bass. I looked around for the bass player but couldn't see one. Then I wondered, "Why is John Kelley just sitting there, why isn't he playing his banjo?" Then I realized, he was playing the Bass Box (it also functions as a seat). There's lots more info about this cool, portable instrument at John's website.

John Salmon
guitar, banjo, and mandolin- Atlanta, GA

Sugar in the Gourd - Old time music internet radio.

Like many others, my first experience with the "bass box" was coming up to a group of musicians, hearing the bass, and wondering where it was. Closer examination showed John Kelley sitting on a box and playing it by plucking on some metal bands on the front of the box. It was the most amazing thing because it sounded exactly like a bass in both tone and volume, a perfect accompaniment to a string band, and so much easier to carry!

Pat Gill
fiddle and banjo - Nashville, TN

I purchased a BASS BOX hoping my wife Bev, a non-player, might catch on to it and have more fun playing than just reading a book at a jamming weekend. After a brief explanation, Bev started playing almost immediately. Now she joins me instead of shutting the door. Yes, it's exciting!

We have found a way to arouse the curiosity of a room full of folks about to engage in a jam or song circle. We come in quietly with our BASS BOX and sit in the back. At first when we plucked the metal tabs we didn't realize how far the sound carried or how much the BASS BOX sounds like a large string bass - but now we are not surprised when people start looking around wondering where the deep bass notes are coming from. When folks realize where the sound is coming from they always ask, "What's that?"

George Neidhart - Portland OR
banjo (and now BASS BOX) player

I'll give John a couple of free plugs on his Bass Box.

The sound really is good. Now, I wouldn't use it as a solo instrument, nor would I use it in a string quartet playing Mozart. But, when playing amongst an old-time string band it sounds just right.

It IS easy to play. My 8 year old son plays it fairly well. I can sit in with another band and play it as long a I can see the guitar players hands. I've taken it to dance camps and found other people pick it up real quickly. Even if you normally play another instrument it's nice to have one at home or where you play to get a "hanger on" to play with you.

My only suggestion is that John figure out how to hinge the bottom so you could use it as a suitcase! We end up stuffing all our underwear in it when we take a long trip.

Neal Rhodes The Back Porch Rockers
guitar, hammer dulcimer, and bass box player - Atlanta, GA

The box arrived today in perfect condition. I made a few adjustments on tuning and I am now practicing like hell here to get the right feeling for the playing. It is not so hard although I have not yet tested your slap-bass concept.

All together, nice box, good workmanship and thanks for the nice CD.

Ulf Jagfors
banjo - Sweden

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