Percussion Clinic Adelaide

Laminated Marimba bars? - (A Question from Daniel Edwards)

Easily Make DIY Marimbas
Get These Easy to Use Marimba Plans. Simple & Quick to Build Marimbas.
------Original Message-----
From: "Daniel Edwards"
Sent: 5/02/05 11:27:16 AM
Subject: marimba keys laminated
Why could not the wooden keys on a marimba be laminated (glued up to pre-tuning step), rough sized so that when you remove wood to tune, the pieces that were added on are of equal sizing on each end of the key? Is the grain direction what allows the vibration, and would gluing up keys cause the key not to vibrate and/or become a dead thud? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks, Daniel Edwards

Making Marimbas, Xylophones & Vibraphones is now Easy
Building Guides for Making Marimbas, Xylophones, Vibraphones and Metalophones
Get These Comprehensive Plans & Instructions with Video!

Hi Daniel - thanks for your email,

I can't honestly tell you the science behind why you can't do it, but I can tell you that its an approach that doesn't work. Many people have tried this kind of idea, and others similar, but all have had terrible results.

When a bar on occasion splits, then it can be repaired to 95% good as new by very carefully gluing/clamping the split. It produces bad results if done badly though. It certainly doesn't work to reglue a bar that's been cut across the grain, so the fact that the vibration producing the note travels along the grain certainly points to the glue as a vibration blocker.

Hope this helps in some way.
Jim McCarthy

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

answers by Jim MCCarthy - 05/02/2005

For more help on instrument building you can email Jim.

Back to ARTICLES list

Articles & Info
Free Lessons& Resources
Instrument Encyclopedia
Learn the Djembe with online Video Djembe Lessons Learn Djembe with online articles and videos, links to the best recordings, lessons and videos about hand drumming and the Djembe.