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Drilling Marimba Bars (Horizontal vs Vertical - (Q from Tom Fox)

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-----Original Message-----
From: "tom fox"
Sent: 1/12/05 2:04:35 PM
Subject: drilling marimba bars
Mornin' Jim. Tom Fox here - an about to marimba maker. Due to my two year old nicking all my dampers and separators - they cost about 50 pence each here in England - I have considered drilling through the bars laterally so as to string the bars together. Is there a reason not to do this and where should that hole be? ie what if any is the acoustic/tonal effect? [I have info on where to drill top to bottom for locating pins]. Thanks in advance


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Hi Tom - thanks for the email.

You should be fine to do what you are proposing - all the professional marimbas etc are strung this way. You want to drill the holes at the same point along the length as they would be if you were drilling from top to bottom. As you have probably gathered from your own reading etc, this is the nodal point of the bar so drilling at this point by definition should not have any effect on the bar's vibration at all. In reality there might be a small effect in tuning as there is no such thing as a hole with zero diameter, but it should be very little. The trick would be to lay the bars out on the frame and mark the bars with a pencil and rule - you will notice a slight angle is required to the line of the holes on at least one end of the bars.

Hope this helps - if you have questions - feel free to ask.
Jim McCarthy

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

answers by Jim MCCarthy - 01/12/2005

For more help on instrument building you can email Jim.

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