We are Sensatronic Lab, here again with a simple yet amazing design of a DIY accessible instrument you can build and adapt. We design instruments with and for young people with multiple barriers to musical engagement. In the case of the bungie bass, it is a fantastic sensory tool combining both sound, light and touch simultaneously.
To make your own bungie bass you will need:
1 x chair with something to hook onto underneath
1 x bungie cord
1 x contact mic
1 x smart phone/device
1 x irig
1 x speaker
1 x sound app ('Impaktor' in our case)
1 x rgb disco/par can light
This is a similar design to our previous beatzza box only this time spread over a chair
Step 1: Getting the Basics Done
First step is attaching your bungie cord to the chair. Simply find something to attach to under the chair, a metal bar or whatever and stretch it all the way over and round and back again to connect to the same bar if possible from the other side.
The sound and vibration given will change depending on how tight you pull it.
We found the best chairs to use are old plastic school chairs but any chair will do.
Step 2: Making the Funk
To get the bungie bass to play the funk you have to do a simple set up with some items.
First attach the contact mic to the bungie cord. We used the Korg contact mic for this as it comes with a clip however you can tape any old contact mic to the cord for the same result. Make sure where you position it, at the top of bottom of the cord - that is picks up the vibration when plucked.
Next plug the contact mic into the Irig2 into the guitar symbol slot
Then attach the Irig2 to your Iphone/pad and launch the sound producing app you like. we used an app called 'Impaktor' available from the app store.
Finally attach a speaker to headphone out of the Irig2. We decided to bore a hole in the top of the chair for a small circular speaker to fit into. You can place the speaker any way you wish though dependent upon the size and type of speaker you use. Attaching it to the actual front of the chair however gives it some direction at the user which is good particularly if it is a small speaker.
Step 3: Light It Up
We used a cheap rgb dmx light for this.
For this step you need to take a few measurements:
First unscrew the outer lid of the light fixture and lift it and the plastic cover off
Measure the circumference of the inner circle of the lid and draw it onto the bottom of the plastic chair as close to the middle as you can get.
Next you need to cut this circle out very carefully. I did it first roughly with a jigsaw then did a finer cut with a stanley knife. You want it so that when you reattach the circular lid there is so sign of the plastic chair between the light and the lid.
Next place the lid on top of the circle and mark out where the screw holes are. Lift the lid and drill the holes.
Next you place the lid on top of the hole in the chair and the light with plastic cover under. You then put the screws back in. The original screws may be too small to reach through the chair now so get some slightly longer screws to do the job.
Finally to finish the job, set the dmx switches to 'sound activated mode' (see instructions in light fixture) and plug it in.
Hey presto you should have some funky sounds triggering some amazing colours.
OPTIONAL: We went 1 stage further and soldered a jack input onto the circuit board of the light fixture where the internal mic was. This is so when on sound activation mode you can take a jack input directly from the Irig2 which means the light will not respond to background noise, only the triggering of the bungie. This step requires some electronics skills though and we do not recommend it if you do not know what you are doing. If you have some electronics experience then replacing the internal mic with a jack input should be relatively straight forward for you to do.
Step 4: Play the Bungie Bass!
Now its time to jam!
There are plenty parameters you can play and tweak for your own needs.
Maybe you could try using different chairs/objects to stretch the cord over?
Maybe you could try it with another stretchy material instead?
Play around with the random button on the 'Impaktor' app to see what sounds you can discover
Got some lighting experience? Why not set the light up through DMX and affect through a controller?
Why not take off all the technology and play just with the sound of the bungie and the chair alone?
I hope you have fun playing with your new Bungie Bass. This is not a gimic instrument. It has a real unique timbre due to the vibrational nature of the bungie. It can create awesome repeat notes or sustain notes. Play around and see what you can create.