Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions

What is a lamellophone Bass Cubajo?


Don’t get intimidated by the word lamellophone. Let look up the meaning from. (Merriam-Webster dictionary) Lamellophone nounla·​mel·​lo·​phone | \ lə-ˈme-lə-ˌfōn \variants: or less commonly lamellaphone plural lamellophones also lamellaphones. Definition of lamellophone: any of a class of musical instruments (such as the mbira, Jew’s harp, or music box) whose sound is generated by plucking flexible tuned tongues of metal, wood, cane, or other material attached at one end to a small board or resonator and plucked with the thumbs or fingers or activated mechanically— called also linguaphone, thumb piano.The lamellophone Electric Bass Cubajo is a bass instrument with its roots in the Mbira, thumb piano of the ancient Africa. Of late, this electric bass lamellophone instrument is a direct descendant of the Afrocuban Marimbula of the province of Guantanamo, Cuba. The word Lamellophone by its definition meaning lingua, tongues, laminates and many other similar words relate to slenderness as in ea. thin, wide and long. As in most cases of the use of a lamellophone (laminate) either of wood or steel its geometric is thin, wide and long in order to create the necessary vibrations when plucked with the fingers. Unlike the marimbula, using the same Lamellophone (steel laminate) in the Electric Cubajo require much less plucking force to create the necessary vibration for an excellent auditory sound wave response.All the music notations in the electric bass Cubajo are posted in the bridge of the instrument by the laminate indicating the pitch sound of that particular laminate. Therefore, all the notes are exposed and facing the musician playing the instrument sitting or standing. The Cubajo is easy to learn how to playing, all the notes are arranged like in the piano sequentially ea. C-do, D-re, E-mi, F-fa, G-sol, A-la, B-sí, C-do… for easy remembering. There is no fingering positioning to learn and remembering the notes of the left hand along the length of the instrument like in the string’s instruments.




Where the Bajo Marimbula Acustica afrocubana is coming from?


The Afrocuban acoustical bass marimbula is based on the the Sansa and/or the Mbira of Africa. Is believe that the actual shape of the marimbula with sound reproduction and ressonanse box with metal keys came from the area of Guantanamo, Cuba.




What is the basis of the CUBAJO design?


The design of the “CUBAJO” is base on the Lamellophone Afro-cuban acoustical bass marίmbula bridge and its tuning is base in the gravest natural notes of the piano from C1 in the octave 1 to C4 in octave 4 or middle C or thereafter.




What is the difference between the accoustical Bass Marimbula and the Electric CUBAJO?


The acoustical bass marimbula depend on the its box for transmission and amplification of the sound wave as the metal keys are plucked and allows to vibrate. In contracts the electric Cubajo don't need the transmission and amplification box. Instead the sound wave is pick up by the electric sensors before it gets to the bridge and electrically/electronically transmitted and amplified like an electric guitar.

The bridge of the acoustical Bass Marímbula was re-designed and converted into an Electric CUBAJO.




What is the CUBAJO made from?


The body of the CUBAJO (The Bridge) is manufactured of hard wood; mainly oak. The keys are fabricated from metal strips. The fabrication of the CUBAJO is consistent with the fabrication of any musical instruments that should maintain their structure and tuning for a long time as well to be visually pleasant. All of the Cubajos are individually handmade.




What makes the sound?


The Lamellophone musical instruments' (Marimbula) metal keys or metal laminated strips are designed and manufactured based on their geometry and material to acquire the desired pitch/sound and ergonomically finish to protect the musician from an accidental encounter.

Sound wave created by the laminate keys when plucked have two components of interest to the Cubajo user, pitch and amplitude:

Pitch - Is the tone as the soundwave is perceive to our hearing; high or low.

Amplitude - Length of time the soundwave stayed on in the hearing range.

Therefore:

The metal in the keys having the same micro estructure properties can have different pitch and amplitude depending on their geometry. Two metal strips having the same thickness and different width can have the same pitch with different amplitude.

Ex: 1/2" wide metal strip will have the same pitch as a 2" wide metal strip but the 2" metal strip have a greater amplitude.




How do I know which is the best CUBAJO for me?


The wider the metal keys will give you the gravest sound or amplitude. The rest depends on the individual taste for sound therefore the ½” width keys will give you a grave sound but less grave than the 2” width metal keys.

I encourage everyone to listen to some videos to find your likeness in sound that fit your personal desire. Keep in mind the name of the Cubajo and width of the keys. Always email me and your questions will be answered in a timely manner.

The family of the Cubajos are based on the number of keys or laminated-metal strips.

Such are as follow:

♫ Alayé Mikayla ♫

13 Keys/laminate-metal strips or less, – Could start in 3 different octaves of the bass area of the pentagram and have different geometrical structures of the keys. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 1/2”, 3/4”, 1”, 1-1/2” or 2”. The smallest of the Cubajos with a surprising exotic bass sound for its size. Its tuning can be arranged as the traditional acoustical marimbula or in sequences like the Piano. One complete octave: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C or any combination there off as a special arrangement.

♫ Aňa Enkunga Treston ♫

18 Keys/laminate-metal strips, - Could start in 2 different octaves of the pentagram and have different geometrical structures of the keys. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 1/2”, 3/4”, 1”. These Cubajos Aňa Enkunga Treston have a Harmoniously and contagious sound somewhat anywhere in the neighborhood of the sound of the bass guitar or the Baby bass. This Cubajo is light and easily manageable for its transportation and versatile in its musical range. The musicians seem to prefer this great Cubajo to get down to business. Only natural notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C – no radicals.

♫ Tate-gué Moreaux ♫

The Cubajos with 18 Keys/laminate-metal strips of 1-1/2” to 2” width belong to other category: grave sound similar to the Upright Counter bass.
Within electric Cuban Bass “Cubajos”, These are the basses with the gravest sound, the dipper sonority; town crier and the higher amplitude of the sound pressure waves. The voice of theses Cubajos evoke the palpitation and thickness of the vibrant jungle, the happy and carnival like call of its blessed history. The “Tate-Gué Moreaux” Cubajos have the immense desire to roar and impact the musicians as well as the dancers as the marimbula did with its entrance to the Cuban capital at the beginning of the XX century. With the gravest sound of the Marímbula these electric bass “Tate-Gué Moreaux” would like to conquer at new all for whom would like to take part in this journey together and conquer the world. Only natural notes: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C – no radicals.



♫ Embaso Icón Akoni ♫

The Cubajos with 25 Keys/laminate-metal strips, - have different geometrical structures of the keys. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 1/2”, 3/4”, 1” and or combinations of these widths. These Cubajos have the extended spectrum of the sound dimension of the bass natural notes. Two complete octaves: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C. Also available, Only in natural notes: Three octaves C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C – no radicals.

♫ Tata funde ♫

The Cubajos Tata Funde Keys/laminate-metal strips, have different geometrical structures of the keys. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 3/4”, 1” only.

The Cubajos with 33 Keys/laminate-metal strips These Cubajo have the extended spectrum of the sound dimension of the bass natural notes starting on C2 in octave 2 to G4 in octave 4 with all their radicals. Octaves: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C.

The Cubajos with 37 Keys/laminate-metal strips These Cubajo have the extended spectrum of the sound dimension of the bass natural notes starting on C1 in octave 1 to C4 in octave 4 or middle C with all their radicals. Three complete octaves: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 3/4” only.

The Cubajos with 40 Keys/laminate-metal strips These Cubajo have the extended spectrum of the sound dimension of the bass natural notes starting on E1 in octave 1 to G4 in octave 4 with all their radicals. Octaves: C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C. Widths of the keys/laminated metal strips 3/4” only.




What are the keys in a CUBAJO?


The CUBAJOs Keys/laminate-metal strips – The metal strips or laminated-metal strips materials are fabricated from high carbon spring steel or stainless steel. The properties and geometric configuration of the Metal strips give us the pitch/sound and amplitude of the notes.




How do I play the CUBAJO?


The CUBAJOs are designed to be played sitting or standing. Most of the CUBAJOSs have an adapter to be converted according to the musician’s desire.

Sitting playing arrangements.
A bench was adapted so it can take any of the CUBAJOS designed to be played sitting. Once mounted on the bench, the CUBAJO will be set horizontally in front of the musician at the knee level. The advantage of this set up is that allows the musician to play the instrument with both hands. The bench can be closed with the CUBAJO still mounted on to facilitate the easy transportation.

Standing playing arrangements.
Basically you take the position to play the upright counter-bass or the baby bass. The CUBAJOs are fitted with a mechanism to adjust the high to the comfort of the musician. Also, using over the shoulder strap can played like a guitar.

Playing the notes.

The Cubajo is play by plucking the metal keys plates with your fingers distal phalanx. This action requires slinding the fingers distal phalanx along the length or some part of the metal key plates and at the same time adding some pressure to the metal key plate until the finger leaves the key plate. This action creates a vibratory response of the metal key plate and therefore a sound wave. Clasically, the middle and the index fingers distal phalanx of either hands are use to create tha vibratory response from the metal key plates.




How do I tune my CUBAJO?


The Cubajos are shipped fully tuned.

Once the CUBAJO is assembled, the fasteners at either side of the keys are loosened and the keys move in or out until the right pitch is found.

The Cubajo is tune sequentially like a piano i.e. C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, … OR… Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do.

You can also send your CUBAJO back to us for tuning for an additional fee.




What is the encryption?


The encryption notes of each key/laminated-metal strips are represented encoded on the body of the CUBAJO. The encoded encryption on the body (base) of the CUBAJO are visible to the musician while he/she is playing either sitting or standing.

On the body of the Cubajo by their keys, the encryptions - C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A, A#/Bb, B, C, … - have been added.




What is the origin of the CUBAJO?


Santiago Moreaux Jardines (1943-2009)


The CUBAJOs 18 Keys/laminate-metal strips of 1-1/2” to 2” width have a powerful sound and are named “Tate-Gué Moreaux” as a sincere and simple homage/tribute to this multi-facet’s musician, leader of musical groups, radial personality, composer, author and friend from Guantanamo, Cuba. Mr. Moreaux was the inspiration so this author dedicated the necessary time to transform the traditional acoustical marimbula into an electrical marimbula, like Moreaux dreamed that one day it would happen; therefore, the birth of the Cubajo.

In order to maintain the African roots/histories of our ancestors’ words from the language Yoruba, Palo and Arara were used to name the different Cubajos:

  • Alayé Mikayla – Mikayla Goddess giver of life.
    • Alayé (Y) – Minor God. Giver of life in the creation.
  • Aňa Enkunga Treston – Treston the God of music, singer.
    • Aňa (Y) – Minor God. God of the music.
    • Enkunga (P) (Also ankunga) – Singer.
  • Tate-gué Moreaux – Father Moreaux.
    • Tate-gué (A) – Papá – Father.
  • Embaso Icón Akoni – (Flame, Brave Fire.)
    • Embaso (P) – Flame, Fire.
    • Icón (Y) (Also Ina) Fire.
    • Akoni (Y) – Brave – Brava.
  • Tata funde - Supreme Father.
    • Tata funde (P) Mpungo V. - Supreme Father – World Father.




How do I pronounce CUBAJO?


Co-Ba-Ho





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