Bar Cord for Omega Vibe?

Any recommendations for bar cord for a Omega vibe? Had one snap on me the other night and had to use some musser cord which left several bars with a metallic buzz (also just tried some paracord with the same results! The reason for asking is that Malletech wants $36 plus shipping for a set of cords, which sounds a bit pricey! Especially after having one break on an instrument that's just over a year old. I've never had this problem on any instrument in the past 30 years. So if anyone has any suggestions, I'd really appreciate. Thanks!

Access: Anonymous


I just use cotton string. It doesn't last as long as but it's about 75 cents per string. Also, why did yours break? Make sure you don't have a sharp edge on your bar posts or on that bar's hole. Sometimes there are be someing abrasive causing the problem to return.

I'll try to find some and I'm not really sure why it broke. Checked the bars and they seem fine, perhaps just a flaw in the cord. Thanks!

I think the thickness is approximately 1/8th" thick. I use a cotton string that is two or three wraps. Just go to any fabric store or craft shop and see what they have. You can even try some butcher's twine. I think I got my first roll from my butcher.

Manufacturer: Lehigh Group
Product: All Purpose Clothesline 3/16" #380
SKU:71514 06128

It has a cotton sheath on a nylon core. Yes, its a little thick and can be tight to thread, but when you tension it to play it is both soft and buzzless while being present enough to control the bar and allow for good pedal dampening control (I have found that, for my style of playing, if the cord is too thin I have issues with bars rattling on the damper bar... I like a firm damper bar... Not gel pads or the even softer Malletech progressive damper).

you cotton guys are weird :-)

Mike Balter just hooked me up with some cores that are nearly identical to what I used to use to make my favorite mallets back in the 70's... Got my cotton yarn & ready to wrap soon!

Did anyone mention that the posts sometimes have sharp edges. Esp if it breaks in the same place every time

yes. in one of my long bloviations...

Some people don't hear the buzz or slapping created by plastic string and some people don't create it with their style of playing. Tony's style of playing doesn't create it. Mine does.


Both you guys are great, inspirational and obviously have very different, but wonderful styles. Myself, I've always loved the sound and feel of softer mallets on the vibe and as a consequence I became rather heavy handed when playing in group (or when insecure) and needing to project. The bars rattling against the posts and the damper along with the cord is extremely annoying on my M55. On my Malletech, the bars still occasionally jump over the felt and contact the metal posts, but there's virtually no damper or cord noise! When the cord broke on my Omega and I replaced it with the Musser cord and paracord, that annoying metallic buzz came back. The cotton "sash" cord that Malletech seems to be using does the trick, but obviously doesn't last very long! The Malletech cord is about 3/8' or 5mm thick (larger than the 550 lbs paracord) and I haven't been able to find a similar replacement online for it. Again, Malletech wants $36 plus shipping for a pair of cords and although they have the plastic moldings on the ends (making it easier to thread through the bars), I just can't justify that price!

I think it's the pedaling and striking that is different. You tend to use the pedal up more and/or slightly touching the bars a bit more and you don't strike the bars as hard as I do with the pedal completely clearing the bars. That causes the bars to bounce a bit and that causes a slap or even a buzz sometimes.

wow that's right. i don't like all that ringing!

i like it when you do it and when ed does because you guys contain it all with dampening. but i would not want to dampen and do all that stuff as much as you guys do it. that's not a judgment against you guys, it's just a preference of mine. :-) i love listening to you guys!

Yeah, it's very interesting to me how everyone plays very differently. I believe that if a study were done on our inner-most workings, the study would conclude that priorities are often the same artistically (desiring to play the best music possible) but different conceptually. Artistically, we want to accomplish our interpretation of what great music is. Therefore, our interpretation of what that is, must be different. The other part that makes this so interesting is that we came to completely different perspectives listening to the same source of musicians. We took that "general recording or performance of the same thing and came up with completely different partial to focus on.

The bigger portion of my practice has always been dedicated toward making the instrument sound the way I hear it in my head - all the way to creating a new instrument. I've spent WAY more time on how long I want a note to ring than I do choosing the note I want to play. I think this also goes with my own personal weirdness though because if anyone were ever to analyze me, they'd find that I do almost everything in my life backwards. I think that's the vary cause of a "late bloomer". I start everything at the end of something and work toward the beginning. It's very natural for me but it doesn't always serve me well.

no no no! too much.

get one of these rolls:

my two cents and it's just that. don't use cotton. it breaks too easily. parachute cord is stronger. maybe just maybe it doesn't sound as good (i don't think there's a difference), but it will last longer and since we're not marimba players doing concerts in college theaters but rather playing with loud bands it doesn't matter.

you decide :-)

oh i see. you don't want parachute cord. well, i'll leave this for others. i don't have any buzzing on any of my 4 instruments in my house.

Looking at the cord supplied from Malletech, it appears to be 3/16" or 1/4" cotton sash cord. Tried the paracord (which I believe is what the Musser is) and it's quite a bit smaller in diameter than the Malletech. The buzzing in from just a few of the lower bars. Thanks!

I've messed some with different types of bar cord and if I do have a buzzy bar sometimes it is a combination of the cord and the post insulator. Sometimes moving the insulator up or down a little solves the problem. I use the stock stuff from Century Mallet.

I remember hearing years ago that a really great cord is thin-ish sash (Venetian Blind) cord that is doubled and loosely twisted (just 1-2 twists per inch). If I didn't have a bunch of the parachute type chord lying around I'd give the other a try. I'll reiterate JMP's comment is a burr or rough spot on a post can cause premature failure.

Check this out! Neon Parachute cord. ANOTHER REASON to use parachute cord!!!

Click here for some cool cord!

Tie Dye Cord

Is this good cotton cord?

Click here for the cord.

Just got some 3/16" sash cord from Jo-Ann fabrics and it's a dead match to the Malletech cord! Works perfectly - no buzzes and cheap! It obviously won't last as long as paracord, but it's quiet. Although different colors would be cool!

do you have a link?

just got this in a reply off twitter

I Use as the bars cord, the treeking and montagnism cords,,very strong, amazing result, greetings from argentina

Cotten String breaks way faster than the plastics. A good practice is to string your chord and leave one side of the string on rack (sharps/flats and Naturals) a continuous ball and hang that ball in a little black bag on the side. Then, as you notice the string showing wear, just feed it through off the ball by pulling it through and then cut the old off and discard it. It's a lot easier than threading it through every time you need to.

I sow the edges of the old string and the new string together and then pull the new string through. You can change the string in minutes.

GREAT trick! BTW, I broke down a purchased some cord from Malletech and what I received was basically 3/16" back sash cord. Again, $36 bucks is a little steep - however the cord is cut to length with plastic molding on the ends (very easy to thread) and came with a set of replacement springs! Malletech is a great company with great costumer service and I'm looking forward to purchasing a second Omega within the next year or two (need to keep one packed up - love getting older)! That said, if you like quiet soft cotton, here's a link to some sash cord from Walmart for about $11 bucks -

It's 2017! Springs should not be allowed on vibraphones, marimbas or xylophones. Springs scratch up the bars when you transport them and you have mess around with the stupid knot to get the right tension. All string stretches and you have to mess with the knot again. With the cam cleats system, you just fix it in a single second. Springs are so barbaric! GET RID OF THEM!

Supporting Files: 

First, I love John's comment about the springs being barbaric - that was hilarious. And I agree that they scratch the bars.

So, for my suggestion 3 items:

1. I use the Musser cord and I don't have any metallic sounding buzz or anything else. Could be because, I (see number 2)
2. Replaced all the felty bar posts with the Musser rubber types. Now I don't have any metallic buzz sound occurring. Took me days - the felts are very hard to remove and unless there is a trick no one told me about it was very hard not to scratch the black off the posts.
3. I use Musser springs so I can have the springs hanging outside the bar wrappers while I roll them up. Helped a lot.