Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIY Bari Modification

I've always been torn as to whether to install any kind of foamy or rubberized tone bar support on the baritone marimba. I've found that the usual foam support eventually gets mashed down from the weight of the bars. And the indestructible black rubber heater hose I install on my basses for bar support seems to be too unyielding for the bari bars. Option #3 is to just suspend the bars with the cord only, but I have had more than one customer complain about undue cord wearage as all the weight of the bars rests on the cord.

If your baritone has a cord-only suspension system, then here is a DIY (do-it-yerself) option that seems not to affect the sound while providing additional support for the bars. This is an easy and inexpensive fix, and worth a try if your cord gets worn down too fast.

Take a close gander at the serpentine foam strip snaking it's way around the posts and under the cord. It's 3/8" Poly Foam Calk Saver from the good folks at Frost King, hopefully available anywhere cold enough to need calk insulation. I'm not sure if tropical environs carry this stuff, but you might find something similar in a big hardware store. No glueing or other attachment seems to be necessary here, just wind it around the posts underneath the cord and it stays put, serving as a buffer for the bars, and hopefully reducing the weight and wear and tear on the cord. 

If this stuff gets mashed down after a year or so but works well otherwise, well, maybe you can consider it a cheap and normal bit of upkeep, like getting new brake pads on the car. Those bars exert A LOT of cumulative downward force on any kind of support during weeks and months of enthusiastic malleteering. The bar supports bear the brunt!

1 comment:

  1. Great idea, Tom! I'll see if I can pick some of this stuff up, Ian MacKenzie