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Marimba and Vibe bar making - (Discussions with Sam Rabourn)

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-----Original Message-----
From: "Sam Rabourn"
To: jim@percussionclinic.com
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2003 9:15 AM
Subject: marimba and vibe bar making
My name is Sam Rabourn. I am a music student at San Diego SU studying with Danlee Mitchell and Joesph Waters. I was asked to do research for finding the formula to design bars. Do you know any good websites describing good types of wood and metal to use, what tools to use, etc...?
What is the formula to craft a bar?
Thank You


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Hi Sam!

For marimba bars there are two timbers now widely accepted as producing a decent sound. Bars have traditionally been made of Honduras rosewood (the natives of Honduras call it "Hormilligo") More recently African padoak has also been used. Other timbers can work - just not as well. Vibes bar material depends on the manufacturer - they mix their alloys to exacting formulas and are not to keen to give the info away. I can tell you that it is a high-copper content alloy very similar to the alloy used in aircraft manufacture (called Duralumin). I have heard and played a set of vibes with bars actually made from duralumin, and it sounds pretty much the same as commercial instruments.

There is no formula as such - just a lot of knowledge and experience - a good place to start would be the make a marimba links on this page, or to read my essay "Marimbas - exploring the depths" - you will find it on the articles page.

Jim McCarthy

Jim Reccomends www.makeamarimba.com for comprehensive blueprints and building guides to make your own marimbas.

answers by Jim MCCarthy - 30/01/2003

For more help on marimbas and vibes you can email Jim.

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