Thursday, September 29, 2011

Malleteers are Making Music in Massachusetts

Here's some great new music published by two of my longtime customers on the Eastern Seaboard: Scott Tarantino and  Dave Ruggiero. They are building up quite a marimba scene in the suburbs of Boston.

This book contains 10 marimba pieces. They are presented according to their degrees of difficulty, ranging from the beginner to the advanced levels. All of the arrangements were inspired by authentic, Shona-style marimba music from Zimbabwe, but each has its own unique groove.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Customer Asks:

Music teacher Marybeth Norby asks:
"Walla Walla (WA) is very hot and dry.  My marimba bars, especially the Aussies, are looking very dry.  Is there an oil that I can put on them to keep them moisturized but won't change the pitch?"

Answer: Absolutely, you can re-oil your bars if they are getting dingy or dry looking. Of course this applies to the entire instrument, but in regards to the bars, I would not overdo it - for instance don't be oiling the bars every year or something. I have heard theories about over-oiling affecting the tone, and I am skeptical, but really the wood is pretty durable oiled or not, so I would just put on the least amount you would need to re-vitalize it. Before doing that you should wipe the bars clean with a very slightly damp rag, just to get the accumulated muck off.

Tung oil, Danish oil, Teak oil, any variety will work, but I would rub it on with a rag, don't be flooding the bar surface with oil.

As far as all the things that might change the bar pitch, this is probably pretty low on the list, as long as you don't overdo it. Chances are if you've had an instrument for a few years, many of the bars are already slightly sharp or flat, and the effect of any added mass of oil would be noticed in terms of a cent or two, not a generally noticeable pitch change.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Prettify Your Bass

I wish I could do this to every bass I sell. Alas, it is up to you!

This bass graces the classroom of music teacher Heather Stoker of Tacoma, WA. The design was achieved with an initial "wash" undercoat to provide a colorful background, followed by the actual drawing and hashmarks, followed by a protective clear lacquer coat.

Sooo... any marimba with tubes is a blank canvas waiting to be filled. Recruit some creative students, a local artist, or ....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bass/Baritone Mallets

A tough rubber ball that is 2" in diameter.  I am selling these as either Bass or Baritone mallets, with a softer rubber used for the Bass ball. The stick is made of 5/8" hickory. Check out the foam handle, ey? $25 a pair.


A blog for Bourne Marimbas
  • to provide updates on my building schedule
  • to share news and comments from music teachers and school marimba programs around the country (and the world!)
  • to provide advice on marimba maintenance
  • to introduce new stuff
  • and whatever else I think of .....