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*Header Photo By Chromatic Life Photography (Austen Amacker)
A relatively new boutique bass building company, at less than four years from it’s inception, Mana Basso is creating quite a buzz. With bassists from Dumpstaphunk, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and Aston Barrett Jr. playing and recording with Mana Basso basses, not to mention one in the works for Robbie Shakespeare, chances are if you haven’t heard one yet, you will soon.
For Tony Walters, owner and luthier, bass has been his passion for nearly all his life. Having started playing bass in his youth, he’s never put it down. Combine that with over a decade’s time as a fine furniture maker, and the move to building basses makes perfect sense.
Walters completed his first bass in 2003. “I learned a lot from the basses I had played up to that point. I paid close attention to what seemed well designed, what wasn’t, and tried to improve on every aspect that seemed to be lacking.” Walters still owns that first bass. “It sounded tremendous. I’m still grateful to this day for that, because it propelled me forward.”
On forming the name Mana Basso, Walters explains, “Over time I began to research and incorporate more old world instrument making elements into my designs and construction. ‘Basso’ is the Old Italian word for bass, and represents that. I’m also big on the unseen energies in life, in particular our mana, or Qi. Mana Basso basically means ‘life energy bass’.”
With strong influences in world music, funk, fusion and reggae, Walters has refined his basses to span this broad spectrum of timbre, and offers them in two standard configurations; funk/fusion/rock and reggae/world/jazz, along with custom configurations as well. Mana Basso basses can be found at one of North America’s premier bass stores, the Amp Shop / LA Bass Exchange, and will be exhibiting at this years Bass Player Live! in Hollywood, California.
“Tony came through with the goods” Shiah Coore, bassist for Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley “This bass sounds gooood, I’ve been playing the sh** out of this” Nick Daniels III, Dumpstaphunk “How sweet thou art, with my Rasta Phi™ close to my heart, Boom Boom! Out go the lights. Done talk” –Robbie Shakespeare of Sly And Robbie