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Anyone play xylophone / marimba?

pale fire

Silver Supporting Member
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1,830
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/concert-percussion/sound-percussion-labs-2-2-3-octave-xylophone

Thinking about buying the one in the link (17% off at MF makes it closer to $400). Would be a gift for my middle son (who could share it with his 2 brothers). They all are multi-instrumentalists and the two who would play it most are 9 and 12, and both play piano fairly well. I would also use it for home recording (right now when I want to add a xylophone / marimba / vibraphone part I use a keyboard with sampled sounds). So - it would sit in a music room I have in my house (space not an issue)....doesn't need to be professional level - but don't want a toy either. I know 2 2/3 octaves is limited range.....thoughts? alternatives? I assume there is an "Alfred" book out there on how to play?...they all read music so assuming not too hard to learn?
 

Jim Soloway

Member
Messages
14,625
I love the sound of vibes. I'd love to give it a shot some day. I have no knowledge of the instruments so I can't comment on that, but I think it would great to have one around, especially if you and your kids already play keyboards.
 

jdogric12

Member
Messages
2,583
If you already know how to play keyboards, I wouldn't bother with a beginner book. A single lesson from a local college percussion major should get you much further than any book could. Cool addition!
 

stevel

Member
Messages
15,177
Do it. Make sure you get proper mallets for it - wood keys are different than fiberglass keys.

However, I would say if you could find a Marimba like that it would be "better" IMHO - Xylophone tends to be a little cliched and can even be unintentionally comical because of how TV and Film has treated it (Skeletons Dancing, Tom and Jerry when the blink their eyes or run, etc.)

Marimba is a little more of a "world" instrument in a way and tends to be a little more versatile ("Love My Way" by The Psychedelic Furs was Marimba)

Vibes would be better than Xylo (but maybe not Marimba) especially if anyone's into jazz and the jazz association. But it also can be reminiscent of Electric Piano and with a damper and rotors (maybe not available in that kind of price range) has a lot of versatility as well.

Be careful with mallet selection on any of them.

Playing it won't be a problem. If they can play piano, they can play mallets. Their band teacher would love them, because a lot of percussionists can't read pitch well, so they always want percussionists who can play mallet instruments!
 

pale fire

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,830
Do it. Make sure you get proper mallets for it - wood keys are different than fiberglass keys.

However, I would say if you could find a Marimba like that it would be "better" IMHO - Xylophone tends to be a little cliched and can even be unintentionally comical because of how TV and Film has treated it (Skeletons Dancing, Tom and Jerry when the blink their eyes or run, etc.)

Marimba is a little more of a "world" instrument in a way and tends to be a little more versatile ("Love My Way" by The Psychedelic Furs was Marimba)

Vibes would be better than Xylo (but maybe not Marimba) especially if anyone's into jazz and the jazz association. But it also can be reminiscent of Electric Piano and with a damper and rotors (maybe not available in that kind of price range) has a lot of versatility as well.

Be careful with mallet selection on any of them.

Playing it won't be a problem. If they can play piano, they can play mallets. Their band teacher would love them, because a lot of percussionists can't read pitch well, so they always want percussionists who can play mallet instruments!
I was thinking the same thing about band ; the high school they will attend has a pretty great music program and I can see them really involved in it. My middle son has only Been playing clarinet for 3 months and he is already one of the best in middle school symphonic band
 
Last edited:

94prs22

Member
Messages
1,252
Do it. Make sure you get proper mallets for it - wood keys are different than fiberglass keys.

However, I would say if you could find a Marimba like that it would be "better" IMHO - Xylophone tends to be a little cliched and can even be unintentionally comical because of how TV and Film has treated it (Skeletons Dancing, Tom and Jerry when the blink their eyes or run, etc.)

Marimba is a little more of a "world" instrument in a way and tends to be a little more versatile ("Love My Way" by The Psychedelic Furs was Marimba)

Vibes would be better than Xylo (but maybe not Marimba) especially if anyone's into jazz and the jazz association. But it also can be reminiscent of Electric Piano and with a damper and rotors (maybe not available in that kind of price range) has a lot of versatility as well.

Be careful with mallet selection on any of them.

Playing it won't be a problem. If they can play piano, they can play mallets. Their band teacher would love them, because a lot of percussionists can't read pitch well, so they always want percussionists who can play mallet instruments!
Proper mallets are a necessity and yes, I own a play a vibraphone. I would never want to do without the rotors. Also recognize that a vibraphone generally has 3 octaves while a marimba usually has 4 or more. I play with 2 mallets (or a bow) and have never felt like I really needed more than 3 octaves.
Brandon
 

pale fire

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,830
If you already know how to play keyboards, I wouldn't bother with a beginner book. A single lesson from a local college percussion major should get you much further than any book could. Cool addition!
Thanks for the advice J!
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
7,955
My little sister is a multi-instrumentalist - reggae band backup singer and plays steel drums, keys, and has the xylophone from the same company. Seems to be solidly built, tuning is good.
 

pale fire

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,830
My little sister is a multi-instrumentalist - reggae band backup singer and plays steel drums, keys, and has the xylophone from the same company. Seems to be solidly built, tuning is good.
Thanks Multi - goo to confirm that it is not a toy
 

ChampReverb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,888
Wow - that is some good 4 mallet work!
When I attended Berklee in '70's for a couple of years I used to go see Gary play live about once a month. The guitarists in the band were Mick Goodrick and Pat Metheny. I'm pretty sure that Pat has been known to say that he thinks Gary is the best improviser on the planet.

-bEn r.
 






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