FAQ Posts

Mallet FAQs – Marimba VS Vibraphone

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’re going to continue our series on mallet-related frequently asked questions (FAQ) by explaining the difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets. While they are very similar in appearance, and can sometimes be used for the same purpose, there are significant differences in marimba and vibraphone mallets.

The differences between marimba and vibraphone mallets begin with the materials used in their construction. The head of both style mallets contain a rubber core, but the material wrapped around that core varies. Marimba mallets use a softer yarn than vibraphone mallets, which use cord. The harder cord and rounder shape of the mallet head allows the mallets to produce a clear sound from the metal bars of the vibraphone.

Note the differences in appearance between the Vic Firth marimba and vibraphone mallets below. The M1 on the left is a popular marimba mallet. The M25 vibraphone mallet on the right was designed by Gary Burton, the world’s foremost vibraphonist.

marimba-vibe-mallets

Another important difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets is the material used for their shafts. Both are commonly available in birch or rattan, but marimbists and vibraphonists have different preferences. Marimbists typically prefer the rigidity of birch shafts, while vibraphonists favor rattan. Its flexibility is better suited to vibraphone techniques like mallet dampening.

In addition to their respective instruments, both mallets can also be used to play suspended cymbals. In fact, they are preferred over timpani mallets, whose wood cores can be damaged and destroyed by the vibration of cymbals.

If marimba and vibraphone mallets are very similar, can they be used for the same purpose? Yes, but only in certain circumstances. The soft yarn heads of marimba mallets limit their volume, and therefore effectiveness, on the vibraphone. However, vibraphone mallets can be used on the marimba for a clear, cutting tone. Jazz musicians who play both instruments simultaneously often choose vibraphone mallets for this purpose. In this video, Dave Samuels, with the Caribbean Jazz Project, uses vibraphone mallets while soloing on the marimba and then comping on the vibraphone.

Advanced percussionists, such as high school or collegiate students should own both marimba and vibraphone mallets. Serious soloists will have several sets in varying styles and hardness (see our previous mallet FAQ on marimba mallet hardness) available in their mallet bag.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between marimba and vibraphone mallets. Please contact us for assistance choosing mallets or for recommendations. See you next time!

Mallet FAQs – Marimba Mallets

Mallet FAQs: Marimba mallets

Welcome back to the Chops blog! Today we’re going to begin a series of posts on mallets. With the large variety of brands, applications, and styles available, purchasing mallets can be very confusing for non-percussionists and non-musicians. We frequently answer questions about mallets such as:

  • “Why does my student need these mallets when they already have several pairs?”
  • “What is the difference between these mallets?”
  • “What does my student’s teacher recommend this mallet and brand over others?”
  • “Can I use this mallet for this instrument?”

 

In this series we’ll attempt to answer some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) we receive about mallets.

marimba

We’re going to begin with marimba mallets. The most common marimba mallets consist of yarn wrapped around a rubber core, which is attached to a wood or rattan handle. Other styles, including rubber, are available, but yarn is the most common.

Yarn mallets are commonly described in terms of their “hardness” or articulation. “Soft” mallets have a large yarn head and produce a round, gentle tone in the mid to low range of the instrument. “Hard” mallets include a smaller head with less yarn and are better suited to the upper range of the instrument. Between hard and soft are a wide variety of “medium” mallets. Some brands include many models in this range, from “medium hard” to “medium soft”.

Compare four different mallets from the Innovative Percussion Soloist series in the photo below. From left to right:

  • IP200 – medium soft
  • IP240 – medium
  • IP275 – medium hard
  • IP300 – hard

 

Notice the differences in the shape and size of the mallet head.

ip-soloists

Experienced percussionists and marimba soloists should have several sets of mallets, from soft to hard, available. Students purchasing their first set of mallets for marimba should consider a medium mallet that will work well on the entire range of the instruments. Here are some recommendations for the beginner:

  • Innovative Percussion:  IP240, F1.5
  • Vic Firth:  M212, M3
  • Mike Balter: 13B, BB2
  • ProMark: DFP730

We hope that this brief introduction will help you understand the difference between marimba mallets. Stay tuned, we’ll have another mallet guide here shortly! Contact us for additional guidance or to purchase mallets.

Can I Payoff My Instrument Rental? – FAQs

pearl-export-2013Did you know you can pay off your instrument rental contract early and save!

If you choose, you may pay off your instrument balance in full and save 40% off your remaining balance. You can do this at anytime during your contract. There is no penalty for paying your instrument off early.

To do this, please call our accounting office at Paige’s Music by calling 1-800-382-1099.

You can also complete this process online on the Paige’s Music website. Please refer to this earlier post that explains how to make a payment on our website.

As always, please give us a call if you have any questions.

Do You Buy Back Used Instruments? – FAQs

Another frequently asked question we get is “Do you buy used instruments?”

We do buy back used instruments, but we don’t buy back everything. Before you bring your instrument in to the store, here are a few things to know:

1. There is no guarantee that we can make an offer to buy your instrument. Our offers are contingent upon many factors, including:

  • Condition
  • Age of the instrument
  • Make and model of the instrument (ie, has the model been discontinued?)
  • Current store inventory levels

2. If we are able to make an offer on your instrument, please note that it will be a wholesale price. Similar to trading a car in to a dealer as opposed to selling to a private party, we cannot offer the full market value of the instrument. As a general rule, our offers may only be about 50% of the current market value.

3. We may also take into account necessary repair work, cleaning, or other refurbishments that must be done to put the instrument in sellable condition. These deductions will also be reflected on any offers.

4. To sell an instrument to us, you must be at least 18 years old.  Although not required, preference will be given if we can verify that you or someone in your family is the original owner of an instrument that originally came from Chops Percussion/Paige’s Music.

5. If we make an offer on your instrument, a valid photo ID is required at the time of purchase.

6. No cash can be given for instrument buy-backs. Payments will be made via check, to be mailed to your address within 7-10 business days, or via account credit to be used for in-store purchases.

As always, please call us first before you come in. If we’re not interested in the particular instrument you have, it could save you a trip.

If you have any questions, please call 1-877-900-DRUM or email us at chops@chopspercussion.com.

How Do I Order Supplies And Have Them Delivered To My School? – FAQs

Another frequently asked question is – How do I order supplies and have them sent to my school?

We have 2 options and neither one requires you to visit our store.

1. Call the store at 1-877-900-DRUM (3786). Jeff or Derek will take your order, ask for your school, student name, and payment information. Then the order will be delivered by the Paige’s Music District Managers on their next weekly visit to your school.

2. Order online. Browse our online store and add your items to your cart. Our website uses SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption to allow you to shop our site with confidence. And, we go through a site vulnerability scan several times a year which is verified by SecurityMetrics.

When you’re ready to checkout, sign in with the username and password that we sent to you when you first signed up for a rental instrument. NOTE: The Paige’s Music username and password will work for Chops Percussion. There’s no need to create a new account.

Note: If you have a rental instrument from Paige’s Music , please use the username and password that was automatically generated for you by our system. We provided those credentials to you in a letter just after you recieved your instrument. If you have discarded or misplaced that information, please call us at 1-800-382-1099 and we’ll help you get signed in.

If you didn’t rent an instrument from Paige’s Music or Chops Percussion, go ahead and sign up for a new account.

During checkout make sure to choose "Delivery to Account School – Free" to make sure our District Manager will deliver your order for no charge.

Billing and shipping details

Next, enter your payment details.

Payment information

Finally, review your order. Note that the next delivery day for your student’s school will be noted under "Shipping Information."

Confirm order and shipping details

Click the "Purchase" button to finalize your order.

If you have any questions or experience any problems along the way, please contact us at
1-800-382-1099.