Peter Ford’s Box Bass

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Peter Ford's Box BassPeter Ford holds down the bottom for the Baby Soda Jazz Band playing a single-string box bass of his own creation. He started out on the slightly more conventional No. 2 galvanized washtub bass before switching to a wooden bucket bass a dozen years ago when he was playing Irish and klezmer music with the Mad Jazz Hatters.

“I’ve heard of tea chest basses and packing crate set-ups, but when I was looking for a warmer, wittier sound, I made my own bass box out of pine.”

Ford’s triangle-shaped axe is designed in homage to the three-sided bar at Café Moto, on Broadway in South Williamsburg, where Baby Soda held forth every Saturday for several years. (The café is now closed.)

“First I built one with one large hole, Ford says, “but now I put two holes in front like a speaker port, so it’s not as loud, but the low end has more pitch definition and a better spectrum of tones.”

Indeed, when Peter Ford plucks his string and pulls back his stick, he creates bass notes that resonate with a tone as golden as any double bass or a tuba.

“Most people haven’t seen one before,” he says, “so, as a novelty, it draws people in.”

Ford plays tunes in all 12 keys, and he consciously swings the music. “People are compelled to listen,” he says with a satisfied grin


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