6 Mallets! I Can't Hold 4

I don't know about 6 mallets. Has anyone really done anything substantial with 6? Well here's a website by Rob Paterson where he talks about his 6 mallet technique! Good Luck!


There are at least two more that I knew of. Will look for their links and post as soon as I can.


I remember a polish vibraphonist who made a duet with a jazz singer in Paris Percussion days (sort of french PASIC).He was holding 6 sticks, and playing bass marimba (2 octaves) and a 4 octaves vibes.
He was great ! He showed us his technique and was very humble compared to his abilities.
He was playing a kind of burton grip with rubber around the sticks in the hand and a plastic pipe to be able to get in and out the middle stick (for those who tried 3 mallet in a hand : the real challenge is to go fast from D-Fsharp-A to Dflat-F-Aflat)
BUT : when he switched to 4 mallets he was a MONSTER ! So that is a real dedication for sure.
Sorry I can't remember his name, he deserves it.


Isn't he Karol Szymanowski? (not to confuse with composer 1882-1937!)

- Here is his 2003 bio: http://www.swing.pl/festiwal/2003/muzycy_szymanowski.htm
- A picture of him last June playing 6 mallets: http://www.pbase.com/michal235/image/103183745
- It seems that he is currently teaching in Varsaw: http://www.konkursmuzyczny.pl/kursy/kur2530082008eng.pdf

Is it him?



Here is one of the two other vibists I knew about.

his website is: http://www.majiedmusic.com/index2.html
and this guy is using short sticks.

The other is still to come.



The other fellow no longer has a website I guess. Used to belong to Stickbag or something like that. Site is not accessible. BUT, it seems there are quite a few persons doing this six or more sticks thing.



Do you remember Les Blachut? He's on the vibe map, but used to be more active in former versions of Thevibe.net. I remember a similar subject there, where he talked about it, joked and showed a pic of him olding 8! But I think he told us it was more for the fun of the pic itself! :o) I went back to his site, and didn't see him olding more than 4... :o)

Btw, I also remember Norbert Lucarain trying 6, and showing me how he would switch in his hand the middle mallet from one place to another to rich the right sharps... but I don't think he went on seriously about it... I think I would have seen it!

So maybe it's a natural curiousity to search, test, experiment and see where the technique/human duet can go. Some will find it fun and useful for the music. Many will keep it as a curiosity.

Anyway, all this doesn't impress me at all (not at all!)... Think, I can't even old 2! :o)

I can understand the interest in exploring new terrain on the instrument, but there just a point where it all starts to look like a circus act instead of cool. But on the other hand, people do tend to like the circus!

It is him.Bergerault (french manufacturer) made for him a 3 octaves 1/2 vibes with a lower octave of marimba integrated.Unfortunately the Bergerault instruments don't sound that well (sorry...).
I saw him in 1999, so when I saw a video of him on youtube I was not so sure because nowadays he has only grey hair (and he had none back in 99).
Bravo MN, you definetely knows all the vibists around the world !

Glad it was him!

But no, once more it's only an illusion... I don't know all the vibists around the world: I had never heard of him before! :o)

I just made a little search and was lucky enough to find him! ;o)

He doesn't seem to have a website or email address... too bad...


Mainly for show, but he sure is having fun playing the vibes.

He also invented a 1/4 tone vibraphone.


I couldn't hear the 1/4 tone thing. Is it just me? It looks like his vibes are normal except a couple of extra bars?

I run a mexican marimba band and, in that tradition, the accompanist (duo) usually play 1 mallet in left hand and 3 in right hand. It is actually easier than it sounds. I use a variation of Burton grip (just like the article shows). I also play octaves in the left hand to beef the bass notes. So that's five mallet playing. Not a lot of independent mallet motion going on though.

I have messed around with using 6 mallets on the vibes (much easier than on marimba) and it has its plusses and minuses. You can actually get some killer chord voicings going on and span the whole key-bed with thick chords (sounds great). It is not impossible to play lines holding all six using the inner two mallets but it does get tiresome quick. Never actually pulled this 6 mallet thing out at a gig. I have arranged a six mallet version of a traditional Chiapas standard where the left hard plays the bass and chords and the melody is harmonized in the right hard. Can't play it yet......


You should check out Belgian marimbist Ludwig Albert, he holds 8!!

Here is his website:

I couldn't find video on his website but the music was beautiful. On YouTube there was a video of someone playing one of his pieces but none of him (that I could find).

It would be great to see that technique.

I saw him for the first time in a Marimba Festival in Chiapas, Mexico. There is not too much independence of the mallets, there were a lot of parallel stuff but it was great.

He has a duo record with marimbist Momoko Kamiya which is great!!! He was also a long time protege of the legendary marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe.

OH MAN. really? does it sound good? can he play lines?
how about some video links.

s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

What about this?

From youtube, here is a video of Danish marimbist Kai Stensgaard explaining his six mallet grip and playing technique : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=D8bmUCKmOvI

For more, his website: http://www.marimba.dk/
And all about his six mallet tech: http://www.marimba.dk/6mallets.htm

Good luck, work well... but don't loose sleep on it! ;o)

I got to do a clinic in Puerto Rico with Kai a few years ago and we had a blast. Kai is a great person and player. I'll see if he'll chime in.

maybe there's a development process here, maybe i'm set in my ways, maybe i'm in a midlife crisis, but there so far is nothing that impressed me about playing 6 mallets.

does anyone see anything impressive so far in all these videos. if so what? is anyone doing anything on an impressive level? i mean dr. majestic (wow) was a little interesting, but he didn't blow me away. he didn't play ONE thing that i couldn't do with 4 mallets.

so let's talk jazz not classical. is there anyone out there playing some real stuff on the vibes using 6 mallets?

s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

Alexey Chizhik has posted some new videos on You Tube. Looks like he is now using 5 mallets and now using Yamaha instead of Premier vibes. I like the Primier sound better (sounds like my Deagan).

Here is Alexey Chizhik playing with 5 mallets.

Check out his other posts too.


that was interesting.

he didn't do too much with the 5. but at least he was playing lines!
Tony Miceli
s k y p e: tjazzvibe
i c h a t: tonymiceli

I was messing around with playing montunos with the left hand while using 6 mallets today. I posted a video but I decided it was too cruddy. Maybe I will try again and re-post......

Post Dana!
Would have been fun!
Promise, I won't laugh! ;o)