Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cordage Mysteries Revealed!

How do you replace or adjust worn out cordage?

Wonder no more! This series of videos pulls the veil on this enduring mystery. Now at last, you can replace that welter of makeshift knottage that over the years has accumulated with a couple simple tie-offs.


Under the Hood

Installing the Low (suspending) Cord

Tying off the Low Cord

Installing the Top (restraining) Cord

Installing the Bars

Removing the Slack

 Tying Off the Top Cord

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Testimonial of the Month

Here's the kind of note one likes to receive:

Hi Tom – these are a huge hit at school! We already did our first performance and several teachers came up to me to tell me it was one of the coolest things they had ever seen. They are easy to play, easy to move, sound great and are sturdy. Our department is stoked. Thank you so much! Believe it or not, we are toying with the idea of ordering some more.....

Hope to hear from you soon,

David Cameron
New International School of Thailand

Monday, November 21, 2011

And now for something completely different...

This has nothing to do with marimbas, but here it is anyway - a demo recording I did in Garageband of possible soundtrack for "A Midsummernight's Dream". The recording and performance are not perfect, but it came out OK for being a scratch recording ....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marimbas: Big Hit in Pittsburgh

I wish I could have made this evening marimba jam at the recent Pittsburgh AOSA (Orff) Conference.
recognize anyone you know?

Jam leader Scott Tarantino is ordering three of something.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just in Time For Christmas

Here's the latest from Doug Edwards, as published by Heritage Music Press

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Inspiring Malleteers

Parents of young malleteers are naturally inspired to see their kids immersed in a school activity that instills so many grown up habits, with its emphasis on group collaboration, preparing for presentations, concentrating and executing a plan, sharing a passion. One local parent, artist Lynn Fleming, was led to her own act of creativity: this full size mural, which has adorned the music classroom for several years. Here's more on artist Lynn Fleming:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Walnut It Is!

 I just finished two Minnie M's with bars made of Oregon Black Walnut, which is a variety of Claro Walnut. Sounds great! So I am moving full steam ahead with this source of Walnut as the replacement for padauk in my higher range tone bars.
  • This walnut all comes from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, USA.
  • It is all "urban salvage" - not the result of any sort of clearcutting or overcutting.
  • It actually costs me a little more than African padauk, in part because the persons cutting and milling the wood are getting American wages. Walnut is  considered by woodworkers to be a premium wood and is priced accordingly.
  • The sound is every bit as strong as padauk, but not as ringy. Definitely more "ethnic" or "folk" in its sound and definitely not as "European" in the way that orchestral marimbas are. That's fine with me, given the music most folks play on these instruments.