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(Soundbite of music)


This is a band from Brooklyn, New York, called Buke and Gass. They were here recently to perform one of NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concerts. And just from hearing their music, you'd probably expect Buke and Gass to be a whole bunch of people. Well, here's what's surprising: Buke and Gass consists of two musicians, Aron Sanchez and Arone Dyer.

(Soundbite of song, "Your Face Left Before You")

Ms. ARONE DYER (Band Member, Buke and Gass): (Singing) With or without, you decide. We're already up on a level. Lean further on your side. It's heavier than mine. Fess up heart rate, by default. Honest-er the closer we walk. One day, I'll like the truth. Until then I know you'll...

SIEGEL: They don't just make music, they make their instruments too. Aron Sanchez plays kick drum and his creation, the gass - he'll explain that one in a moment - and Arone Dyer sings. She had some percussion - bells actually, with her feet, and above all, she plays the buke.

Ms. DYER: Which is the shortened version of baritone ukulele. But it is no longer a baritone ukulele. It is now a six-stringed instrument, basically a guitar, and I call it a buke.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. DYER: And then it also...

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. DYER: can do that. And it can...

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. DYER: ...I could do that and then I can hit it.

SIEGEL: And as you're doing that, you could have the bells on your...

Ms. DYER: Yeah, I have...

SIEGEL: ...on your ankle, on your foot.

Ms. DYER: On my toe.

SIEGEL: On your toe.

Ms. DYER: Yeah. These are - this is the toe-bourine.

SIEGEL: The toe-bourine?

Ms. DYER: Yeah, this is a new one, too. I made this one. I made the plate and everything for it, little screws even.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: We appreciate it for the Christmas season that you have.

Ms. DYER: Yeah.

SIEGEL: And, Aron Sanchez, you're the gass part of this.

Mr. ARON SANCHEZ (Band Member, Buke and Gass): The gass. Gass is basically a mash-up between a guitar and a bass, which has two bass strings and four guitar strings on it. And the instrument has separate outputs, so the guitar strings go to a guitar amp and the bass strings go to a bass amp.

SIEGEL: So you don't have all the amplifiers here, so we really can't hear what gass, guitar-bass sounds like.

Mr. SANCHEZ: Yeah. It's hard to hear acoustically because it is like playing an electric guitar acoustically, right? I mean...

(Soundbite of chord)

Mr. SANCHEZ: That's what it sounds like, but there's...

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. SANCHEZ: ...and (unintelligible) here.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. SANCHEZ: There's bass strings on it. What makes it unusual is that the bass strings, they alternate through the guitar strings.

SIEGEL: So this is a unique instrument?

Mr. SANCHEZ: Yeah. I mean, I've never seen one like it, but it's not a totally new idea to put bass strings on a guitar. But I haven't seen it arranged in this way.

SIEGEL: And I should say that the - this particular instrument itself, the general appearance it gives is of something that you might have shielded yourself from a machine gun attack with it, something like that.

Mr. SANCHEZ: It could be, yeah. The body is made from an old Volvo.

SIEGEL: There's probably an NPR listener driving that Volvo.

Mr. SANCHEZ: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SANCHEZ: Although it's from the '60s or - it's pretty old. Pretty old Volvo.

SIEGEL: That's pretty old. That's a pretty old Volvo.

Mr. SANCHEZ: Not a 240 as many NPR listeners would drive.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: These instruments, I mean, this is somewhere between a craft, a hobby, a job, making instruments. You're adapting instruments to the kind of music that you want to play. Do I have that right?

Mr. SANCHEZ: As it relates to this project, it's just that we're trying to solve a problem. We're only two people. We want to sound like a bigger band. We want to make a certain kind of noise and music. So the first step was while we can't do it with normal instruments, we need to create something.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: Aron and Arone. Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, or Buke and Gass, thank you very much for talking with us.

Ms. DYER: Thank you for having us.

Mr. SANCHEZ: Thank you. Thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: Buke and Gass' album is called "Riposte." There's a video of the duo performing at

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