What Mallets Does My Student Need? – Intermediate

Welcome back to the Chops blog series on mallet FAQs (frequently asked questions). Last month we addressed the mallet needs of the beginning band and orchestra student. Today we’re going to discuss the needs of the intermediate student.

After several years in band or orchestra your student will need to expand their mallet collection as the music they perform requires an expanded selection of instruments. While your student will be able to continue using the mallets they already have, many of these new instruments, such as marimba, vibraphone, timpani, and accessory instruments, will require unique mallets.

For both marimba and vibraphone, the intermediate student can normally get by with one pair of mallets for each instrument. We recommend a “medium” mallet that will work well in most situations. Both styles of mallets can also be used on suspended cymbals.

Our favorite “medium” marimba mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – IP240, Soloist series
Mike Balter – 13B or 13R (B indicates birch shaft, R indicates rattan shaft)
Pro-Mark –DFP730, Dan Fyffe marimba series
Vic Firth – M171, Multi-Application series

Those mallets are pictured here.


Our favorite “medium” vibraphone mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – RS251, Rattan series
Mike Balter – 23R or 23B (R indicates rattan shaft, B indicates birch shaft)
Pro-Mark – DFP920, Dan Fyffe marimba series
Vic Firth – M187, Multi-Application series

Those mallets are pictured here.


To understand the differences between marimba and vibraphone mallets, please read our previous article here.

The intermediate student will also start learning timpani. For an experienced student learning timpani for the first time, a “general” mallet will satisfy most requirements. This style mallet will not be too hard or soft, and will allow the student to perform most music reasonably well.

Our favorite “general” timpani mallets include:
Innovative Percussion – GT3
Mike Balter – T3
Pro-Mark – JH5
Vic Firth – T1

Those mallets are pictured here.


As we’ve said many times, mallet and stick choices are a matter of personal choice, and every student will have a different brand and model preference. Also, be sure to consult with the student’s director, percussion instructor, or private teacher before making a purchase. Please contact us for our recommendations or assistance finding mallets.

As your student progress from an intermediate to advanced percussionist, their mallet collection should continue to grow. Stay tuned, next time we’ll be discussing the mallets an advanced percussionist should own.

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