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Blog series by johnstoneb updated 03-15-2017 02:40 PM 8 parts 6045 reads 35 comments total

Part 1: Der Glockenspiel ist glockenspieling

05-14-2016 02:50 AM by johnstoneb | 7 comments »

My grandson starts kindergarten this fall and the school he will be going to has a student Marimba band. My daughter asked if I could build a Marimba after looking around and finding pictures of one. I told her I would give it a try. I like the sound and it looks pretty simple to build.I ordered plans for one from makeamarimba.com. They also had a plan on how to make the mallets (commercial mallets start at $50 and rapidly climb into outer space. It was discounted to half price and inclu...

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Part 2: Starting the Marimba

11-20-2016 03:36 PM by johnstoneb | 6 comments »

I have finally started on the marimba. I am following the plans I got from makeamarimba.com. They are a good plans although some times you have to translate from oz to usa english. I did a lot of searching on line on commercial marimbas and settled on padauk for the keyboard and cherry for the frame. The preferred wood for concert keyboards is rosewood. I called my hardwood supplier to get a price on rosewood when I was able to breath again I decided padauk was a good keyboard wood (most...

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Part 3: Marimba Frame Time

11-22-2016 04:01 PM by johnstoneb | 2 comments »

Building the frame was just straight forward woodworking, accurate measurement and square cuts. I built the frame out of cherry 1. I like cherry and how it darkens over time and 2. it was a $400 upgrade for frame on one of the commercial marimba websites. I can get cherry at a reasonable price here.The first thing is to make the two ends. Time to make the keyboard frames. This is one place where building the glockenspiel first really helped in understanding why and how important...

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Part 4: Marimba Tune Time

12-23-2016 11:45 PM by johnstoneb | 4 comments »

I have all Christmas presents ready and time to work on the Marimba again.When I left last I had moved the lower keyboard over an 1 1/2 for clearance. After final tune and drilling the keys I didn’t like the gap so I moved everything back an 1 1/4. It looks way better. I applied one coat of lacquer. The old adjustment The final. Keys are closer to the upper frame and just looks better. I need to quit over thinking these things. Time to rough tune the keys. the keys were ...

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Part 5: Marimba Resonators Time to build

12-24-2016 06:17 PM by johnstoneb | 2 comments »

Time to start on the resonators. These are the pipes that hang below the keys and give the instrument its signature sound. The keys when struck sound like a musical note but they sound more like a piano than a marimba.I went with as thin wall PVC pipe as I could get locally. I believe for the 2” it was about 140psi and the 1 1/2” about 160psi. The plans give the length to cut as I cut them i wrote the note inside the tube to keep them straight. Once they were all cut glued th...

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Part 6: Marimba Getting ready for final tune

12-26-2016 03:51 PM by johnstoneb | 1 comment »

The keys and resonators are made and have a rough tune. It’s now time to get everything ready and do the final tune.We need to drill mount hole in the keys before we can tune, first we need to locate and install the suspension components. The glockenspiel taught me that location and spacing of the suspension is a critical step. Space the suspension to close and the keys rub against the suspension causing vibration noise and affecting the sound from the keys too far and there isn̵...

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Part 7: The Resonators and completion

01-29-2017 02:56 PM by johnstoneb | 4 comments »

I put the final tune on the resonators. This took a little while and a lot of miles. Temperature plays a lot in the tune of this instrument. We have had an unusually cool winter I kept the resonators in the house and carried each to the shop sanded a little then walked back in the house checked the tune then repeated. This kept the tube close to room temperature but required about 3 trips per for each resonator time 37 is a lot of trips. Everything is within 3 cents so were good to go. ...

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Part 8: Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer #1

03-15-2017 02:40 PM by johnstoneb | 9 comments »

This mountain dulcimer build is entirely the fault of LJ’er Dave Rutan. I followed his blog on building a mountain dulcimer while I was building a marimba. When I finished the marimba he had convinced me that I could build a dulcimer. Thank You Dave, I think. I started searching “building mountain dulcimer” after a week or two of reading. There are a lot of people building dulcimers as it is a folk instrument there really is no right or wrong way to build a dulcimer. I...

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