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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Marimba Mallets

Choosing marimba mallets can be quite difficult, but I'm going to point out the mallets I use, and why I prefer them over any others. First, I'm going to start with soft mallets. For extremely soft, chorale mallets, I use the Malletech SO2 Soloist series mallets. They have birch handles, which feel great, and get incredible tone out of the marimba, especially in the lower register. I most recently used them on the second movement of Caritas by Michael Burritt, and they worked extremely well for the part. Also, the bass marimba part on David Maslanka's Crown of Thorns sounds extremely great with these mallets as well. Next, medium-soft mallets. I use the Encore 43YB orange wrapped mallets for softer passages that require the full range of the marimba, such as the introduction of Leander Kaiser's Black Sphinx. They have a full sound and tone across the entire instrument, and are some of the most comfortable mallets I've ever played with. For medium mallets I use the Encore 42AYB light blue wrapped mallets. They are the same design as the Encore 43YB mallets, but are a slightly harder mallet. For medium-hard mallets I have a couple of different options. I prefer either the Innovative Percussion Mark Ford 803s, the Innovative Percussion Janis Potter 404s, or the Innovative Percussion She-e Wu WU4s. They are all fantastic mallets, and I have used them for multiple pieces. The Mark Ford 803s are perfect for his piece entitled Polaris, and I used these mallets on this solo last year. I used the Janis Potter 404s on the first and third movements of Michael Burritt's Caritas, and the She-e Wu WU4s on the section of Leander Kaiser's Black Sphinx which calls for hard mallets. They are all fantastic mallets, all with comfortable birch handles, and all producing great tones throughout the marimba, even in the bass register. For hard mallets, I use the Innovative Percussion IP400s, but I sand off the handle coating. I prefer unfinished mallets because of their improved grip, so if I get any mallets that have any coating on the handles I sand it off. These are the mallets I use everyday, whether it be for a solo, or a part I'm given to play with the band, they always deliver.

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