Mallet Recommendations for the Small Front Ensemble: Marimba/Vibes

Whether out of necessity or by design front ensemble set-ups sometimes need to be smaller or more compact given the number or performs or amount of equipment you might have at your school. In today’s blog, we are going to give you some recommended series of mallets that would be great if you have a set-up that involves one performer playing two instruments throughout the show. You will see more and more smaller front ensembles utilizing mallet players to play marimba and then swap to another instrument such as the vibraphone or bells or even a mounted xylophone. We wanted to highlighted some recommended mallets that we feel are a great choice for these type of set-ups and why they can be beneficial to your students development and playing conditions.

Marimba/Vibraphone Mallets

There are two series of mallets that we feel would make a great set of mallets as a performer who needs to play both the marimba and the vibraphone in quick succession or make many mallet changes through the show. The Vic Firth Iain Moyer series and the Innovative Percussion Tom Rarick series of mallets are great for this type of set-up. The reason we feel these work great is that the whole line of mallets are make of a birch shaft. Traditionally mallets for marimba are birch shaft and vibraphone are rattan shaft. While it is true that the rattan mallets allow for more flex on the harder metal surface of the vibraphone, keeping the same feel in the mallets for the performers. With fast mallet changes happening in a set-up like this, keeping a consistent feel for your students is a great idea. You can see more specifics on these mallets below.

Vic Firth Iain Moyer Series Mallets

M270 – Medium Soft to Medium, Yarn, Marimba
M271 – Medium to Medium Hard, Yarn, Marimba
M272 – Medium Hard to Hard, Yarn, Marimba
M273 – Hard to Very Hard, Yarn, Marimba
M274 – Medium, Cord, Vibraphone
M275 – Medium Hard, Cord,  Vibraphone
M276 – Hard, Cord, Vibraphone
M277 – Very Hard, Cord, Vibraphone

Innovative Percussion Tom Rarick Signature Mallets

IP3001 – Soft, Yarn, Marimba
IP3002 – Medium Soft, Yarn, Marimba
IP3003 – Medium Hard, Yarn, Marimba
IP3004 – Hard, Yarn, Marimba
IP3005 – Soft, Cord, Vibraphone
IP3006 – Medium, Cord, Vibraphone
IP3007 – Hard, Cord, Vibraphone

These mallets can all also be great if you have a smaller group and just need to keep cost down, as the birch mallets tend to be less expensive than the rattan mallets.

Check out the videos above for more in depth knowledge from the artist themselves. If you need more recommendations based on a particular set-up you are using at your school, give us a call and we can help you out.

The Chops Basic Guide to DCI 2022

Welcome back to the Chops blog!  It is a special year for the Drum Corps International (DCI) World Championships as they celebrate 50 years, right here this week in Indianapolis!  It takes place at Lucas Oil Stadium and surrounding areas.  The competition inside Lucas Oil stadium isn’t the only thing to see.  There are many events throughout the week, most of which are free and open to the public!

Here’s our basic guide to help you take in some of the action.

Drum Corps Competitions

Monday, August 8:  Open Class Prelims – Wildcat Stadium (Marion, IN) – 4:00 pm
Tuesday, August 9: Open Class Finals – Wildcat Stadium (Marion, IN) – 6:00 pm
Thursday, August 11:  World Class Prelims – Lucas Oil Stadium – 10:30 am
Thursday, August 11: Big, Loud, & Live – Select Cinemas across the U.S.A. – 6:30 pm
Friday, August 12:  World Class Semi-finals – Lucas Oil Stadium – 1:00 pm
Saturday, August 13:  World Class Finals – Lucas Oil Stadium – 5:30 pm

Ticket prices vary by event.  See DCI Tickets for details.

SoundSport International Music & Food Festival & DrumLine Battle (Food Trucks!)

Saturday, August 10, 10am – 2:30pm
Lucas Oil Stadium, Lot B
Free!

Corps Warm-Up Zone

The show before the show!  Get up close to your favorite drumline or front ensemble as they warm-up and prepare for their performance.

Daily, Thursday-Saturday, depending on the contest schedule

-Military Park (Drumline warm-ups). Shuttle bus will run between Lucas Oil and Military Park.
-Parking lots around Lucas Oil (Front Ensemble warm-ups)
-Free!

While we won’t be selling any gear this year, we hope to see you around and look forward to celebrating all the groups performances from this past summer!

For more information on events, schedules, venues, ticket sales and more, visit the DCI Website.

Percussion Storage Solutions for the New Year

As the new year gets underway we thought it would be a great idea to go over some easy storage solutions that you can use for your percussion gear to help keep things protected and organized. While there are some solutions that can hold multiple different types of items, we thought we would focus on the best ways to store accessories, hardware, and drum sets. Below we have listed a few great options for each type of storage solution you may be looking for.

Hardware and Cymbals

These are often stored separately and while the obvious choice for cymbals might be a cymbal bag, depending on how often you use them you may want to consider a more durable and long-term storage solution.

  • SKB Large Hardware Case with Wheels (1SKB-DH4216W) – Great for storing large amounts of cymbals stands, snare stands, etc.
  • Humes & Berg Trap Case with Wheels (DR550XABK) – Great for moving hardware and small accessories to various performance venues
  • Humes & Berg 22″ Enduro Cymbal Case with Wheels (DR526ZBKSP) – Great storage solution for drum set cymbals on the move
  • SKB Trap Case with Cymbal Vault (1SKB-TPX2) – Great all in one store for drum set hardware and cymbals. Execllent for keeping all those items together at the end of a rehearsal or performance.

Drum Set Storage

While some schools have the luxury of keeping a drum set together at all times, many schools need a way to safely store drums at the end of the school day or rehearsal. Cases like the ones below are great as they offer protection but also stack well on each other to allow you to maximize storage space.

  • Humes & Berg Enduro or Enduro Pro – These also come available with or without foam inside.
  • SKB Hard Cases – There are many option here in all sizes that will protect your drums.
  • Gator Protechter Cases – Good all around solution and sold in sets as well depending on the size of your drums.

Concert Accessory Storage

The last set of storage solutions would be for all your small accessories, concert snare drums, concert mallets, and much more. These all in one solutions can even double as a trap table if need, although we feel it best to use as storage solutions only.

  • Grover Percussion Cabinet – Good compact solution, that can store a ton of percussion accessories!
  • Columbus Percussion Percussion Cabinet – This is one of the nicer looking cabinets on the market today. Hand made quality with carpeted exterior and interior. The drawers are equipped with self-closing features and you can customize some of the shelving to fit your needs. This one comes highly recommended for the serious program!

If you want pricing or would like more details on any of the storage solutions mentioned above, feel free to give us a call at (317) 813-2070 or send an email to chops@chopspercussion.com.

Set-Up Demonstration: Percussion/Combo Kit

During this time of year we get a lot of questions about starter percussion kits and how to go about setting them up properly. The Debut instrument rental program from Paige’s Music offers a few different options for starting percussion students. You can find a video below to the Percussion (bell kit only) or Combo Kit(bell and snare) model that comes with many components that you will need to know how to set-up. By following the video and keeping the tips below in mind, you should have no problem getting you instrument set-up properly right from the start!

Set-Up Demonstration: Xylo Kit

During this time of year we get a lot of questions about starter percussion kits and how to go about setting them up properly. The Debut instrument rental program from Paige’s Music offers a few different options for starting percussion students. You can find a video below to the Xylo Kit model that has become popular over the last few years with many schools. By following the video and keeping the tips below in mind, you should have no problem getting you instrument set-up properly right from the start!