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Build Your Own Marimba and Wrap Your Own Mallets!
by RocketScientist on July 22, 2008 Table of Contents License: Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Build Your Own Marimba and Wrap Your Own Mallets! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 1: Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 2: Cutting the Bars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 3: Tuning the Bars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 4: Tuning the Overtones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 5: Building the Frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 6: Adding String Supports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 7: Stringing the Bars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 8: Resonators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 9: You're finally done!!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 10: Malllet Wrapping Parts and Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . step 11: Assembling the Stick and Core . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 2 3 3 4 5 5 6 7 7 8 8 9 9

step 12: Cut the Stick and Sand the Edges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 step 13: Wrapping the Mallet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 step 14: Crowning and Finishing the Mallet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 step 15: Some Examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Advertisements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/

I used this website to get some basic information on how wide and long to cut the marimba bars. and a little too soft for the highest note. This is an extremely ambitious project and will likely takes a year or two for the average individual (like me) to complete. I wanted a very large five octave marimba but didn't have the money to simply purchase one (7000+ dollars).instructables. http://www. The goal: build a five octave marimba. I had no way of practicing at home. There were cheap options. Some notes about the included audio recording: The marimba was playing using the same mallet across the entire five octave range. The rest is all my work. for this reason. Though I loved percussion. Use whatever supplies are available to keep the cost low. without spending a fortune. (The keys are made from an oak tree which was struck by lightning several years ago!) I hope this instructable will inspire others but I want to give a word of warning. I could have bought a bell kit.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . In fabrication I got help from one family member who helped rough cut some of the bars. So I decided against all common sense I would build one. About four years ago I had a problem. I am a mallet percussionist who loves the marimba.License: Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa) Intro: Build Your Own Marimba and Wrap Your Own Mallets! Let me start by explaining where and from whom I got help. But I hate the sounds they make. the mallet I chose was a little too hard for the lowest note.

if you want to tune overtones.File Downloads C Scale Arpeggios Across the Instrument. Band Saw .for making all those cuts. My oak material came from a tree which was struck by lightning. Musical Tuner .aiff (2 MB) [NOTE: When saving. rename it to 'C Scale Arpeggios Across the Instrument. this was the next step after building the bars.tmp as the file ext. Otherwise.really handy with the frame and resonators http://www. the total cost of the project will be heavily dependent on the builder's creativity and the availability of supplies. Before you rush out to Lowe's think first and make sure you couldn't use something else instead.You will need to drill holes through the width of the bars for the marimba string. If you just want something to practice with (like me) then a 30 dollar tuner will do just fine. But it is important for the wood to be completely dried out (not green at all).Nothing difficult here. Feel free to experiment with different types of wood before construction. This includes wood or even steel. For now let me just state the basic components of a marimba and the materials you will need. get creative! Use whatever materials you might have laying around to complete this project and don't be afraid to borrow power tools from your neighbor. Table Saw . The Bars . but to qualify as a marimba it must be wood. Though anodized aluminum is very pretty PVC pipe works just as well.not essential but recommended if you will be cutting bass notes. Belt Sander .aiff'] step 1: Materials By all means. if you see .com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . The frame can be made from anything. The bars can be made from nearly any material.this is where everything begins. Miter Saw . Drill . I suggest a drill press but a hand drill will work just fine. Those are the basic parts of a marimba but you will also need some specialty equipment. The Frame .for me. However I can tell you I managed to construct my marimba with less than 200 dollars.instructables. Use whatever you are comfortable with. use a strobe tuner (300+ dollars).You will be using this a lot so get something comfortable. The Resonators .How much you invest in a tuner will be reflected in your marimba. As you can probably imagine.

What you want? Do you want one octave.instructables. If it looks nice it will likely sound nice. http://www.step 2: Cutting the Bars Preparation . a higher pitch marimba will require much less sanding and can be finished relatively quickly. try to keep the grain running the length of the bar and avoid big knots in the center of the bar. Don't worry if it is a little rough. I would suggest using the dimensions of an evenly graduated marimba. or five? Is your instrument going to be pentatonic or chromatic? Once you know what notes you want I suggest you look at this website . This will make the frame easier to build. That comes next. use a table saw cut the wood. Once you have your goal and dimensions in mind. At this stage you're only aiming for a brick like shape. By the way. Don't worry about tuning the bars yet.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ .

the bar will heat up.Changing one overtone. As previously discussed keep in mind temperature will have a great impact on each bars frequency. Yes you can tune the fundamental frequencies and the overtones of all bars just by shaping the undercut of the bar. Just try to keep an "optimum operating temperature" in mind. If you do.. Finally. A. This also makes the overtones more difficult to hear. Strobe Tuner B.instructables. My advice seemed to help so I'm adding that information here. To tune the overtones you will need one of two things. Audio Spectrum Analyzer I suggest the Strobe Tuner especially if you are a musician. Feel free to smooth out the surfaces and add any artistic effects you may desire. sand just outside the center To tune the third (9. step 4: Tuning the Overtones An Instructables community member (thank you luvtheteddie) had a few questions on how to tune the overtones. Personally I consider Peterson Strobe Tuners to be the best and they also make a Strobe Tuner app for the Iphone/Itouch. Now. couldn't resist a bad pun) Optional: I highly recommend you read this research article: Nonuniform Beams with Harmonically Related Overtones for use in Percussion Instruments by Felipe Orduna-Bustamante published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America December 1991 http://www. sand in the center. So do you want to tune the overtones of the upper register? I don't know. If you make a mistake and sand too much (making the note flat) don't worry it can be fixed.. OK. you have to first get the ratios between frequencies correct. If you are tuning a bass note I suggest you cut a chunk out of the bottom first. Periodically.. I only included the Spectrum Analyzer to give you an alternative. (I'm sorry. So when tuning the notes try to keep the temperature consistently around room temperature. The curve of the marimba bar should be between these two nodes..88). Mine sounds great at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. look at that website I told you about. you will notice the overtones become increasingly more difficult to tune as you begin to work with higher and higher notes. I found the simplest way was to trim the ends of the bar..88. to tune the overtones you should follow the template in the pictures below. It might be helpful to make a few guidelines with a pencil or sharpie. 1/8 of an inch goes a long way. The change in temperature will affect the tone produced. To tune the Fundamental frequency (1). you cannot (to my knowledge) fix the problem without reducing the length of the bar.step 3: Tuning the Bars Before you begin take a moment to find the nodes of each bar. Additionally. You'll just have to play it by ear. As you remove mass. the bar's frequency will decrease. Before we get into how to shape the curve. But it is twenty cents sharp at 50 degrees. check your progress with the chromatic tuner. The nodes are the points which vibrate the least when the center of the bar is struck. For Marimba and Vibraphone builders it is 1:4:9. will change the frequencies of the other two! For this reason. You can do this by holding the bar approximately at one of the nodes and striking the center. It is important not to sand too much too fast.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . To tune the second overtone (4). sand close to the ends of the arc. Once you are ready use a belt sander to begin removing mass in small increments. This is because the sample size/duration/sustain of the higher notes become shorter and shorter. Now here is where it gets tricky. If all this terminology is going over your head. This should be done with a band saw and will make sanding a lot faster.) If you mess up and tune something too low. For Xylophone builders it is 1:3:6. making the length shorter. let's review the proper ratios between the overtones. and then sand evenly across the curve until you arrive at the fundamental (hopefully with the ratios intact. if you want to stain or varnish do so now before you begin tuning..

2. The bars must be supported by "marimba string". The string must be supported by braces in between the marimba keys.instructables. 1. I suggest you lay out your tuned keys on a large flat surface to get the dimensions for your frame. There are only a few rules to a marimba frame so as long as you abide by those rules. The frame will also hold your resonators.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . Bear those three rules and facts of a marimba frame in mind as you craft it and you should be fine. (Next step.. You should also consider how high you want the playing surface to be off the ground. Note in the pictures the frame follows the path of the bars and the string that will later run through the instrument.) 3... This is a time to get creative. (if you choose to build them). you don't need to worry about how the frame might affect the quality of sound produced by the instrument.Several splinters later and your all finished tuning the notes you want on your instrument.. http://www.step 5: Building the Frame So. Now you need to build a frame to hold the keys. And those rules are.

carry forth to the next step.) Also.step 6: Adding String Supports The marimba string supports are essential because they provide a level playing surface. Yep! It works great! But whatever string you decide to use. but fortunately they can be easy to make if you can find the materials. You will need a lot of these. Notice in second picture below you can see a nylon string running though the braces. you may need to put a coat of paint on them so they all look uniform. or you could do what I did and use climbing rope. Once you're done. Then use a screw driver and a good old fashioned hammer to open up the supports into a nice "Y" shape. make sure you drill holes in the bars large enough to accommodate your choice.instructables. I suggest mounting each rod in a vice grip and using a hack saw to split the aluminum. This should give you an idea of how it all fits. You could use some professionally made marimba string. return to the screwdriver and hammer to coerce the supports into their new home. They should be long enough to accommodate your thickest bar. that's it! Play a tune! Be happy with yourself! But it you want to go the extra mile. Use a band saw to cut the rods to an appropriate length. Finally to mount the supports into the frame you will need to drill holes into the frame at the appropriate intervals for the supports. If you are recycling some old aluminum like I did.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . step 7: Stringing the Bars Don't give up yet! You're almost ready to play a tune! You've got a frame and keys. http://www. These holes should be drilled through the nodes of each bar. If you don't you won't get a level surface. now you need marimba string. you can find the nodes by figuring out where the bar vibrates least when you strike it in the center. You will need to split one end of each support to so the string can lay in it. I suggest aluminum rods. Once done. you should drill the holes on each bar an equal distance from the playing surface. Your drill bit should be a little small than your supports. (Again.

I suggest you cut your resonators a little longer than you need.step 8: Resonators This is actually the easiest and maybe quickest part of the build. You will need the tubing and plastic test caps. This doesn't take that long and you won't make an extremely costly mistake. Of course the beauty of PVC is you can buy PVC joints that are already bent. and hold it under the correct bar as you play it. then you have successfully created a pretty decent practice instrument for significantly less than you could have bought one. The material for the resonators can be almost anything. That is essentially what you're doing. If this is the case continue forth! http://www. Trim off a little at a time. So go get started and play something "epic" to celebrate your success. If you are making resonators for bass notes. Exactly how you mount your resonators under your bars us up to you.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . PVC pipe works great. Don't be afraid to drill screws into your resonators to hold them (if you choose to do things that way). The resonators will still resonate.instructables. When it sounds good and full. you can curve and bend your resonators to fit under the instrument. You just need to get them there. Just look for something that will hold water without leaking. L = 340/ (4f) Length (in meters) is equal to the speed of sound divided by the quantity of four times the frequency of the note. All that is required is a little understanding of physics. step 9: You're finally done!!! If you have actually done this. Ah but wait! Perhaps you have no mallets to work with. congratulations! If you were a thrifty and smart engineer/musician. For me. you're done with that resonator. Now for some physics! Don't worry this is really simple. You should use your mad Google-ing skills and look up the frequencies of your notes if you don't already know them. Resonators will make your instrument a lot louder and give the bars a much more "full" and "warm" sound. Frequency is measured in Hertz. Relax.

I've found "bouncy balls" or rubber balls are the best bet. you will need a mallet stick and core.step 10: Malllet Wrapping Parts and Materials In terms of parts. I suggest you seat the core in some vice grips. The material for the core is up to you. Materials 3/8 inch dowel rod (3/8 is just my personal preference. A hard core like a wooden crafts ball will work well for the upper ranges of a marimba. Use whatever is most comfortable. The material for the core will have the largest impact on the tone produced. To make things a little easier. Be careful not to drill all the way through the core. Once you have a hole. The stick should be made of wood.instructables.) Round Core (In the pictures following.) Yarn Needle (a relatively big one) Scissors Some notes on the Core You have a lot of options here. For a relatively soft core. I use a "bouncy ball" I bought in the Grocery Store for 25 cents. step 11: Assembling the Stick and Core You should drill a hole in the core to allow for the stick. http://www. use some wood glue or epoxy to connect the core to the stick. but will sound horrible on the lower ranges.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ .

Otherwise I'm never really sure long to cut the stick to make it even with the other mallets.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . take it to a sander and remove those uncomfortable 90 degree angles.step 12: Cut the Stick and Sand the Edges Wait! Why didn't we cut the stick first and then glue it in place? Nothing wrong with that. Once the mallet is cut to length. It is just my personal preference to do it this way. http://www.instructables.

going in a circle around the mallet head. begin wrapping over the top..step 13: Wrapping the Mallet The mallet is sanded to be comfortable..com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . I suggest crowning once more at the top. and then under. Then. If you're still confused about this. Under. Start by tying a knot just below the core. you need to cut about an arm's length of yarn between the mallet head and the yarn you are wrapping with. Once you finish with the top. The mallets I'm wrapping here will have 100 wraps each. now you're ready to start wrapping. Over.) Don't worry too much about the knot. watch the YouTube video. Each time the yarn crosses the top of the mallet. Be sure to count the number of wraps around the mallet. step 14: Crowning and Finishing the Mallet OK. the glue/epoxy has dried. (As in the pictures. If you want a set of mallets to sound the same. I prefer starting with the top. Now to crown the top and bottom of the mallet. http://www. (Let me specify this is still a single strand of yarn beginning with the knot you tied and ending at the point you just cut. Do this over and over. but this time you will tie a knot there.. Under. You need to push the needle in (at an angle) at the top of the mallet. I've wrapped several sets of mallets and only once have I had this knot come undone. To end the seemingly never ending process of wrapping. Over. that's one wrap. and pull it out. the same needs to be done at the bottom.) Tie the free end of the yarn to your needle. This process makes sure your hard work won't come unraveled soon. After you're finished. the number of wraps must be equal.instructables.

and so on and so forth.instructables. In other words. I used yarn which transitions between the two colors. And if you are curious about the white/black mallets. overall length.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ .step 15: Some Examples These are all mallets I have wrapped myself. I prefer wrapping my mallets as opposed to buying professional mallets because I have control over color. core material. those white/black mallets are wrapped with one continuous stand. Related Instructables Wrap your own mallets by Appollo64 How to Make a Single Octave Xylophone by EastsidePrep Build your own Djembe (and End Table) by RocketScientist Wrench Xylophone by saul Backyard Game 2x4 xylophone Night (with by dirtydiaperchanger Crazy Croquet!) by seamster Art of Sound Highlights (guide) by Instructables Guides Art of Sound Contest Winners (guide) by Contest Robot http://www. weight. not two.

Advertisements Comments 50 comments Add Comment view all 61 comments Darmani says: Aug 29.. more mellow sound than a Xylophone or a Vibraphone. I'm going to make one. But yes. 8:42 PM REPLY discontinuuity says: Aug 29. 9:26 AM REPLY Mahogany probably would be your best bet.. but thats not a marimba. I've got 2 questions I've been searching the web about .i. any recommendation? pmartinez says: Kasm279 says: Aug 29.differencebetween. Aug 29. 1:40 PM REPLY Very nice. 2010.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . Would it be right to call yours a type of xylophone or is it different? jeffconnelly says: Aug 29. Any comments or help would be appreciated. but is the same as a drum kit. one which is shaped in an arc. Great instructable. that is over 80 years old and you can still get a very nice sound out of it. 2010. AbstractDragon says: Pine and cedar are both softer than mahogany. again i dont want to offend you the instructable is good. cedar. Thanks Rich Q1: Arrangement of Notes / Bars Why are the notes/bars on a Marimba (or Xylophone) arranged from: High-to-Low from Left-to-Right ? This arrangement is opposite to a Piano. a friend has a marimba (here in Costa Rica).. 2010.net/object/difference-between-xylophone-and-marimba/ Aug 2. I'm guessing it has to do with placing the lower notes under the right hand (usually the stronger hand) ? But. See below for more info.. 2010. 2010. this is similar to a xylophone. http://www. but no way that is a marimba and i bet it doesnt sound like one either. and your "mallets" are wrong too.e.. Has this been tried ? Would there be any special problems with this set-up ? http://www. What wood do you think is best: teak. is it the higher or lower notes that need the hardest strike to sound ? Q2: Curved Keyboard I've never seen a curved keyboard arrangement . 2010. mahogany. Marimbas usually use softer wood as they have a softer. 1:01 PM REPLY I thought at first you were making a thumb piano (which some call a marimba). 10:14 PM REPLY No offense. placing all of the bars at a more consistent and natural distance from each arm / elbow. 2010.but can't find any answers.instructables. Aug 27. pine.. 2:50 PM REPLY The "thumb piano" you refer to can be known as a Kalimba. 4:59 AM REPLY africa-rich says: Greetz from Africa .

rosewood is a hardwood. 11:46 AM REPLY helloxfriends says: oh. and have seen the cores of many major mallet brands after I have worn out the yarn. Both can be found at hardware stores. Is this the money it took for everything except the power tools? Jun 12. From there experiment and see what you like. You can use these by simply wrapping it around the end of the dowel you're using for the mallet shaft. which is basically a piece of plastic piping right around the core. 2010. 2010. 2010. 1:03 PM REPLY RocketScientist says: Apr 11. 2010. Oh. Applejuice11 says: Aug 27. 2010. 1:11 PM REPLY If you want a marimba that sounds close to a professional one I would recommend soft woods. 12:37 AM REPLY I've made a lot of mallets my self. Thanks! takerofrabbits says: awesome! i just started a marimba building the keys out of some hard maple. I see now that you write it was less than $200. 3:11 PM REPLY JcBeaver says: Thanks for teaching me how to make yarn mallets! May 30. Friction tape and rubber splicing tape. A very hard wood. I'm not saying you should go out and buy rosewood but soft woods resonate a lot more then hardwoods. professional grade mallets usually have a "mid-core". Friction tape by its self will be a very hard core. NuclearGears says: I would actually recommend wool or a wool blend for the string. and blends of those. For cores I like to use mainly two different types of tape. 8:21 PM REPLY NuclearGears says: Apr 30. I have used multiple types of yarn including cotton. ruppert says: Actually. What would be the best kind of string to use? Apr 11. 2010. and how tightly you wrap the mallets determine how articulate they're going to be.instructables. 9:52 AM REPLY Generally I use 3 ply yarn for almost every mallet I make. nylon. I'm not a percussionist. 2010. for mallets in between I use a combination of the two comprised of mainly of friction tape with a small number of layers or rubber splicing tape on top of that.pdorazio says: Aug 28. I do encourage you to experiment with several different yarns but I think you'll find your core material primarily governs the sound. but I think both the high notes and the low notes should sound with the same strike. going pretty good so far. 1:01 PM REPLY If you didn't know. wool. I would suggest caution using wood or plastic cores without some substantial padding on them. 12:06 AM REPLY NuclearGears says: Haha. 6:42 PM REPLY Appollo64 says: I'm gonna try making my own mallets. Apr 30. I'd recommend making your first mallets out of acrylic just because it's the easiest to find and generally the cheapest. 9:35 AM REPLY ruppert says: May 1. So. 2010. Jun 18. Depending on the type of wood or plastic the mallet could dent the marimba bars. creating a better sound quality. That's very bad if you're playing on rosewood instrument that costs thousands of dollars. This is one of the things that contributes to its desirable sound. 2010. They all give you a different sound. 2010. 2010. 2010. Look at the pictures in this Instructable: Bigger bars (lower) on the left. and the rubber splicing tape will be a very soft core. 11:57 AM REPLY Thank you so much for this! I've bene planning on making my own mallets for a while but could not figure out an approprian core. 2010. NuclearGears says: Apr 30. That's what they use in most professional mallets. May 1. 1:18 PM REPLY The bars are arranged like a piano. 2010. 7:38 PM REPLY helloxfriends says: How much did it cost to build the marimba? Jun 12.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . acrylic. My bad May 6. I think you'll find it works best medium hard mallets. http://www.

I am going to build one before the summer ends. 2010.NuclearGears says: Apr 30. 2009. Any way I will be referring to you're wonderful Instructable and the LaFavre marimba through out the construction of (unnamed marimba project) Happy marimba-ing Image( if you look closely i diden't posesition the suspension bars properly) http://www. So in general you should try to get diameters which equal the with of the bar the resonator is being made for. Tuning? Honestly I have No idea what I'm going to tune it to. How do you plan on tuning it? (A=440 or A=442?) I'm asking because most orchestra marimbas and vibraphones are tuned to A=442 Hz while the band is tuned to A=440 Hz. 11:59 AM REPLY mfulton says: i know knew whe maxxxem has gotten his mallett rapping skills. 2010. But I'm probably not going do that. (point being diameter does not affect the resonant frequency . Jul 14. 12:58 PM REPLY For the core I would recommend a soft plastic or a rubber ball. It just happens that I used the Same website as you did.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . if need be.instructables. Good Luck! R drummerboy08 says: Apr 23. Jul 15.5 in or 3 in diameter. Now I can start figuring out exactly how much I will need. 2010. (This is because most musicians consider the slightly higher pitch to blend well with the rest of the band. 2:28 PM REPLY Ah. don't forget to cut the resonators about an inch longer than the equation predicts. diameter does affect the volume. 11:34 AM REPLY Hey! Very Nice Meddling!! (Solid works?) It looks very similar to the LaFavre marimba that I have a link to in the intro. 2010. Apr 22.) maxxxem says: Yes solidworks. 2009. 10:06 PM REPLY I am in the process of gathering materials to build a marimba using this Instructable(thanks by the way!) and i have a question about the resonators: what diameter would you use for them? All of the marimbas at my school have resonators that get progressively longer and wider as the notes go lower. thank you so much! This was exactly the information that I needed. I say this because if you can't fix "too short". 6:17 PM REPLY Also if you look at the full size image I made it so it could be Broken down easily AND It can be constructed into two marimbas a 2 octave bass and a 3 octave treble.) However. 7:23 AM REPLY The equation works for tubes of a . drummerboy08 says: Apr 21. maxxxem says: That tuning process will be extremely help full. 2009. so do i need to compensate for this as well? Or would a uniform diameter tube of the lengths calculated from your equation above be sufficient(say a 2" diameter for all tubes)? RocketScientist says: Glad you found the instructable so helpful! Apr 22. Sometimes this isn't possible especially if you're using PVC like me. 2:02 PM REPLY RocketScientist says: Jul 15. But I think it will be Fun to build a marimba and I'm lucky enough to have the tools to do it. Finally. but I used the "Bar Dimensions for an evenly graduated marimba" when I drew it up a few weeks ago. Although based on what you said I would probably tune it to A=440. So just get as close as possible. If you want a professional quality mallet I would use wool or a wool blend for the string. i shall put him out of business. I'm no RocketScientist (lol) I am only 13 and I'm still learning the physics of sound waves and vibrations. 2010.

For Xylophone builders it is 1:3:6. It worked very well. 2009. Strobe Tuner B. 2009. But it looks way simpler than a piano.. I built a similar instrument for my daughters when they were in preschool.. A bunch of different lengths of metal. 2009.Changing one overtone. I made mine from steel pipe (electrical conduit). You can feel that point when you hammer the wood. I don't even really know what a marimba is. im very picky about the look cuz im going to be using some padouk floorboards that are 3 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick (cut in half. That's as far as I got. As far as finding the nodes of the wood. something I read on a website for tuning the pipes said the nodes were always located 22. Again.. To tune the Fundamental frequency (1). Then I cut them to size and started tuning the centers. 5:06 PM REPLY chuck_notorious says: Congratulations on winning the contest and completing this project! I hope that one day you can find some really beautiful rosewood. sand in the center.. To tune the second overtone (4). and less polyphonic and everything. 2009. LkArio says: Mar 13. but I think the good quality wood gets rarer every day. hundreds of strings. Audio Spectrum Analyzer Jun 22. 3:01 AM REPLY crossfirexiv says: Nice! Can u post a video on how it plays? Im planning on making one. too. I started on a marimba and had all the wood picked out but never finished it. A. I used that number for the nodes of my wood pieces. I only included the Spectrum Analyzer to give you an alternative. hammer the wood in the middle.88). 6:15 PM REPLY I heard a lecture by a percussion professor here in Australia who used to build marimbas when it was extremely expensive and difficult to import them. will change the frequencies of the other two! For this reason. 8:19 PM REPLY Pfft. you have to first get the ratios between frequencies correct. and then sand evenly across the curve until you arrive at the fundamental http://www. Not vibrating means it is the node. Yes you can tune the fundamental frequencies and the overtones of all bars just by shaping the undercut of the bar. that you hit with mallets. Personally I consider Peterson Strobe Tuners to be the best and they also make a Strobe Tuner app for the Iphone/Itouch. 2009. nevermind.. Now here is where it gets tricky. it wants to jump out of your fingers. I bought a bundle and hammered each one looking for pieces that would ring and were not musically dead.LkArio says: Mar 13. congratulations. 2010. Aug 20. 2010. To tune the overtones you will need one of two things. sand close to the ends of the arc. no complicated action. let's review the proper ratios between the overtones. They have bundles of really cheap wood stakes (sharpened at one end). so i wanna make sure everything works perfectly luvtheteddie says: RocketScientist says: OK.88. can i sand the arches to tune the keys? i want each key to be a certain length so it looks pretty. For Marimba and Vibraphone builders it is 1:4:9. and you can tell if the spot you are holding is vibrating or not. sand just outside the center To tune the third (9.5% of the way in from the ends of the pipe. 3:17 PM REPLY how can i tune the overtones to make it more professional sounding? also. The wood I picked was from Lowe's. Before we get into how to shape the curve. 7:37 PM REPLY I suggest the Strobe Tuner especially if you are a musician. He said that he tried many *many* Australian woods but in the end had to import padouk or rosewood to get an acceptable sound. of course) and theyre not cheap. Jun 22. Jesus. Hold it between your thumb and first finger. Have fun playing on your new instrument! dchall8 says: Aug 19. soundboard. gigantic cast iron frame.instructables. or whatever. 8:47 AM REPLY Congratulations on winning the contest! I've been very busy this summer and missed the initial entry. Now.. just stupid. 8:16 PM REPLY $7000 for a marimba!? . If you hold it at the very end. Lorydrums says: hy!! can you please give me other information about the steps to wrap a mallet because i don t understand how to go one!!!! is there a specific drawing to do with my crewel??? thank you!! Dec 28. 2009. Sep 22. some acoustic pianos are cheaper than that.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . to tune the overtones you should follow the template in the pictures below.

you can not (to my knowledge) fix the problem without reducing the length of the bar. Jun 14. I really don't notice a difference. 2009.) luvtheteddie says: you got my vote. how bog should i make my arches? Jun 24.(hopefully with the ratios intact. 8:24 PM REPLY Nice good job! I build a small one octave pentatonic one as a proof of concept a few years back.) If you mess up and tune something too low. If I forgot to answer something just let me know. 2009. 6:51 PM REPLY Wow! I'm suprised I didn't see that typo earlier.. If I practice on my marimba and then switch to a professional instrument the next day. Good luck on your build. Good luck with your build and let me know if you need any advise.. you will notice the overtones become increasingly more difficult to tune as you begin to work with higher and higher notes. one more question. but this got be interested in a full size one again. 4:28 PM REPLY Wow! Thanks so much for posting this! Now I'll actually have a way of practicing at home! Although the quality of sound probably isn't the best it's still really helpful to practice on RocketScientist says: Jun 15. just the fundamentals. Post up some of the tunes your practicing! hacedor says: Very nice You've got my vote!!! Jun 18. Additionally. http://www. That was never the intended use anyway. 2009. then I do notice a difference. 2009. As a side note for anyone interested... (But this rule does not apply to the higher bars). (I'm sorry. sieg01 says: Jun 19. I would suggest sanding the arches wider as you tune the third overtone. Be sure to tell me how it works out! and PLEASE VOTE FOR ME :) !!!! (Seriously I'm competing against some spectacular projects and I need all the support I can get. 2009. So instead.. 6:06 PM REPLY Yea you are absolutely right. You can tune the fundamental and second overtones just by sanding out a rectangular shape rather than an arch. 2009. This also makes the overtones more difficult to hear. This is because the sample size/duration/sustain of the higher notes become shorter and shorter... the arch extends the full length between the nodes of the bar. You'll just have to play it buy ear. couldn't resist a bad pun) Optional: I highly recommend you read this research article: Nonuniform Beams with Harmonically Related Overtones for use in Percussion Instruments by Felipe Orduna-Bustamante published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America December 1991 Finally. 2009. Weird I know. Kinda feel stupid now. If I go the other way and switch from professional to home-made. When you sand the "3" sections as in the pictures above.. 8:08 AM REPLY In general.. 7:01 AM REPLY RocketScientist says: Jun 24.instructables.. I didn't tune the overtones. So I wouldn't dream of playing my marimba in an orchestra. The only reason for the arch. don't be afraid of how it will sound. But if your building something just to practice with. sand the arch wider as well as deeper. JamesRPatrick says: You're finally done! I'm considering trying this out.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . is to get the third overtone. 1:57 PM REPLY TotalyInsaneCookie says: Jun 15. 6:38 PM REPLY RocketScientist says: Jun 14. So do you want to tune the overtones of the upper register? I don't know. 2009.

if I were a rich student (an oxymoron if there ever was one) I would have preferred to use Paudauk or Rosewood. Jun 13. :) caitlinsdad says: and a longer video of playing it would be nice.instructables. 2009. Paudauk (Peltogyne paniculata) resonated well. 8:46 PM REPLY thepelton says: Jun 8. Maybe give it a nice flame paint job. I did do some experiments with different (cheap) wood types and came to the same conclusion as you. 2009.com/id/Build-Your-Own-Marimba/ . and rap it with the knuckle of the other hand. I chose the oak because I did not have to buy any of it and I knew I could get the lower notes with it. 1:36 PM REPLY Interesting that you used Oak (Quercus Sp. as did Honduran Mahogany. 1:41 PM REPLY Yea.) came out almost dead. 2009. 9:13 AM REPLY If you just pick up a piece of wood and hold it in your fingertips. Metal tines would make it a xylophone? By the way. view all 61 comments http://www.). 8:45 PM REPLY Very nice. Poplar (Populus Sp. 2009. Poplar is worthless. thepelton says: Jun 9. you will see if it is marimba-worthy.caitlinsdad says: Jun 13. and Cherry (Prunus sp. 2009. Maybe schools should build them that can't afford to get large band instruments.) was also nice. I found when I was making drum boxes that certain varieties of wood had better resonance and tone than others. the rig with the mallet bag looks like a big rolling BBQ grill with the tools in the bag. RocketScientist says: Jun 8.

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