The MuLttrBox 2014 Collection

 

All the different ways your 'µ'-box can look and sound!

 

 

 

Really, there's no limit to how your slit-tongue drum can look! The shell can be decorated with anything from a matte finish, to an intricate compendium of sigils, logos, and designs. Basically, if you can think it, i can make it!

Here, a few of my first drums give a very rough idea of some of my more playful attempts to cast the project onto the aesthetic

The Silver dragon and the Golden Phoenix

DragPhen

Between the two of them, these drums span the entire chromatic scale, and so were designed as a pair with a classic chinese motif.

10 Nights in Algiers

Algiers

This drum was designed to reflect its 'Navient' scale. This Egyptian scale led me to research desert dwelling, blue-clad nomadic peoples, which in turn inspired the design...!

Murmus

Murmus

The 'ake-bono' inspired scale gave this mini-drum (18cm dia.) an almost mystical tone. And so, adorned with alchemical symbols to compliment its Goetic lore!

 

 

 

 

...While some of the more standard finishes are textural, such as....

Kujakuseki

Kujaku-Seki

A straightforward example of a dark faux malachite finish on an Ake-Bono muBox. Have a listen!

Cup of Jamshid

Cup of Jamshid

Tuned to my favorite scale, a reproduction of my very first drum! Hear a bit of it!

Lapis laBluzie

TankDrum Lapis

A Blues scale Mu-Box with a Lapis Lazuli faux finish.

Tortoise Shell Mu

Tortoise Shell Mu

This Mu-Box is an 'F' Ake-Bono varriation finished with a faux Tortoise Shell look. It was the first to have a hard wood case! (Check out our Accessories!)

Hard Candy Finish

TealFinnish

Then, of course, you have your basic auto-finish shimmer & sheen...! Available in any colour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any color can be selected from a standard 'RAL' pallette*, either matte (satin), or gloss (hard candy).

Ral Pallette

 

Stainless Steel Finishes

SSColours

Marble Finishes

Carara

Carrara

agate

Agate

LapisLazuli

Lapis Lazuli

SphereWht

White Marble

Malachite

Malachite

BlackBrown

Portoro

 

 

*All colours are aproximative, as visualization may vary from one computer to another....

 

The Cup of Jamshid was said to be filled with an elixir of immortality and was used in scrying. It was believed that one could observe all the seven heavens of the universe by looking into it. The whole world was reflected in it, and divinations within the Cup were said to reveal deep truths. Helen Zimmern's English translation of the Shahnameh uses the term "crystal globe".

The japanese term for Malachite, 孔雀石, literally: Peacock-Stone, breaks down as:

孔 Great

雀 Sparrow

石 Stone

'Murmur' in Latin means noise, whisper, murmur, and the sound of the trumpet.

In Goetic demonology, Murmur is a Great Duke and Earl of Hell, who teaches Philosophy and can oblige the souls of the deceased to answer every desired question.

Sometimes spelt: Murmus, Murmuur, or Murmux, he is portrayed simply as a vulture, or as a soldier riding a Vulture (or a Griffin) and wearing a ducal crown while two of his ministers go before him making the sound of trumpets.

The Tuareg are a seminomadic Berber people found mostly in the Saharan interior of North Africa. Traditionally the indigo face coverings worn by the men are believed to ward off evil spirits. Because the indigo pigments of their veils and robes tend to stain their skin dark blue, they're often called: "The Blue People"of the saharah desert.

One translation of a script written in Tamahaq describes the travels of tribes of the Ahnet spending 10 nights of Ramadan in Algiers.

The dragon and phoenix are the perfect couple in chinese mythology. The Dragon is masculine, while Phoenix is feminine. When paired, the dragon is a symbol of the Emperor, and the phoenix the Empress, representing both aspects of imperial power. In creating yin-yang balance this celestial couple is the symbol of everlasting harmony. The pairing of dragon and phoenix was regarded as a powerful sign of good fortune. Thus, the expression: "When the dragon soars and the phoenix dances, the people will enjoy happiness for years, bringing peace and tranquility to all under heaven."

 

 

Each Mu has a default tuning which we try best to match to the base resonance of the material. Generally, our basic scales are variations on the major "modes":

Scale
Tonal Spacing
Ionian (aka "major") 2,2,1,2,2,2,1
Dorian 2,1,2,2,2,1,2
Phyrigain 1,2,2,2,1,2,2
Lydian 2,2,2,1,2,2,1
Mixolydian 2,2,1,2,2,1,2
Aeolian (aka "minor") 2,1,2,2,1,2,2
Locrian 1,2,2,1,2,2,1

 

DragPhen Algiers Murmus

Essentially, your drum can sound any which way you like it to! Because the steel-tongue drum (and by extention, the µBox) is loosely based on the Hang Drum design and sound, below are some of the scales best known from the original hang drum (many of which are no longer available in standard production).

AkeBono:
AkeBono
Aeolian:
Aeolian
Harmonic Minor:

HarmonicMinor

Hitzaz:
Hitzaz
Navient:
Navient (egyptian)
Pygmy
Pygmy
Blues:

Blues

F Pentatonic:

PentaF

Mixolydian:
Myxolidian
Hungarian:

Hungarian Major

Many of these sound great on their own, but any variation thereabouts can be accomodated... however, the drum can be tuned to whatever scale your heart desires... Even quarter-tonal maqam or echo scales! (though they don't sound that great, honestly) Scales can even be designed so as to play along with a particular band or song, should you so wish!

 

For all possible scales,

Click Here! Or Here!

 

Every deluxe & classic Mu-Box comes standard with a premium hand-made, custom, high-quality, luxury prestige, name-brand carry bag, two mallets (rubber, or wrapped rubber core), and a display stand!

Bag Cartouche Bag CrestBW Bag Sword Bag Colour

These hand-crafted bags come with any of MANUFACTOTUM's varrious logos, crests, and emblems, printed onto a high quality water-resistant fabric!

 

Also included with every purchase, (in addition to the bag) are a set of rubber-core, hand-wrapped mallets, and an iron display stand, wrapped to match your MuBox! Mallets Stand

 

LED Lights

LED lights affixed to the inside can be added for a gnarly effect! The RGB light strip is powered both by battery, or by universal 12V DC adapter. The control switch fits into the underside of the muBox, and has 20 fixed colour combinations, and over 50 demo (flash, strobe, cycle, etc.) modes!

LED Strip (Unassembled LED strip with Battery pack)

 

Case Additional accessories include this beautiful wooden case, hand crafted (of course) and hand finished. Can be purchased both as a plain hard carry case, or with the aditional Speaker/Amplifier insert! Great for tank drums with a 6mm Jack input! CaseDetail CaseAmpli

 

 

Where our "µ" comes from...!

Why our Drums are so Special

What sets the µBox apart from your typical steel-tongue drum are the varrious considerations that go into its construction. The craftsman who fashions them (yours truly), does so with the craft, and philosophy with which he used to forge japanese-style Katanas! Each drum (like each blade) is considered a creative entity with its own name and personality. So too, each has its own distinct voice, and a name just waiting to come to life! It's up to the craftsman to bring it out.

The first few drums made out of curiosity, bordome, and just old fashioned challenge! Having found (and in a couple cases, begged for, forraged and stole) a few empty tanks, they were cut up, cut into, and welded back together, and tuned. They were, needless to say, a mess! But they were brought 'to tune' through some crafty engineering, and ingenuity (which i musterred up from my experience as a blacksmith)! I've been told, that the difference between a good craftsman and a poor one, is their ability to correct and rework mistakes (the implication being, that even good craftsmen make mistakes). Whether or not this is true, it seems that the ability to learn from from them is not only an essential skill, but a defining one!

From that first messy drum, some basic tools and understanding were aquired! How to rework bad notes, how to fix bad cuts, etc.! Once the third drum was made, the relationship between the material resonance and the scale that can be achieved, became clear. By this time, the first one was chipping...! But, as Richard Bach once wrote, "[...w]e seeSteelPropk problems because we need their gifts!" I understood how material added to the drum affects the sound, and which finishes are required for that particular type of steel. Lastly, i turned again to my experience as a blacksmith (indeed, as a bladesmith) to see what kind of tempers i could get out of the drum...! Being as how i've cemented a great deal of faith in what my first smithing teacher taught me on the matter, it's no surpise to me that what worked best was the method i have thus far applied to my blades!

One can be quick to assertain the particulars of a theory, but until that theory is put into practice, he is still a novice! I was lucky to encounter the problems i did in creating that first batch of drums! It made me aware of the considerations one need pay close attention to, to make a worthy instrument!

Having in me the need to strive for the best, i fell into the role of drum-maker! When others saw the drums i crafted i was continually pulled into making another, and another... and another! Now i have a supplier, some basic tools to quicken the process, and the support of a community!

Originally, production began with the demolition of an old propane tank, or the construction of a drum from pre-assembled (or not-yet-assembled) pieces thereof.  Typically, the size of the tank determines the size of the drum; usually ranging from 18-35cm. Now, however they're mostly made with domed steel bottoms; the likes of which can be ordered to specifications fairly readily!

 

Care & Maintenance for your Drum

Steel Tongue Drums

Your steel-tongue-drum is finished with a specific surface treatment. It has been both tempered and lacquered- but either neglect or misuse might cause both of these things to be undone.

Should the drum need cleaning, use a soft damp rag (not moist, not wet, not whetted, or humid). Remember that steel (unless it is 'Stainless') WILL RUST if it is not properly kept dry.

Keep your drum out of direct sunlight (it does not need or want a tan), and other direct heat sources. If it is too hot to handle the temper may already need redoing (not to mention possible damage to the paint). Too cold to hold, well... apart from the risk of condensation => rust, how you might've managed that impresses and disturbs me.

Excessive force when playing, heavier/harder than necessary mallets, or accumulation of rust/oxidation from long term exposure in damp or humid environments may cause changes in pitch over time.

 

 

*Some minor variations in temperature may cause short-term variations in tuning/pitch...!