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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop


Twisting/Untwisting Vibraphone Resonator Fans

After I was very enthusiastic about the surround sound with the twisted resonator fans, but at the same time didn't want to forego the possibility to play without "wah wah" effect, I looked for a solution to realize the switching between twisted or parallel aligned fans with simple means.

The video shows a first prototype of a corresponding facility, albeit not yet in its original size.

Since the principle works, I'll start to build a full-size version.

Modified Fan Orientation - What do you think about it?

I have never used the vibration device in the past because I don't like that extreme wah-wah sound. Now a friend really wanted one of my folding frames, but with a vibration device (he plays stylistically like Milt Jackson).

So I did look into it after all.

While testing, I came up with the idea that you don't have to align the fans exactly in a row if they can be removed as easily as with my frame. Therefore, I arranged them in a rotationally offset manner.
Because I wanted a realistic statement for myself about the resulting sound, I recorded the test.

new fan technology and new frame variant

V6 - Upcoming soon
Here you can see a simulation of my next frame variant. This is especially intended for
* for very quick and easy assembly and disassembly
* low weight (frame approx. 15 kg, resonance tubes approx. 9 kg)
* high stability due to aluminum welding frame

Towards the end of the video you can see my newly developed vibration unit. This enables space-saving pipe-in-pipe transport, i.e. the individual removal of the resonance pipes, as well as the folding of the units. The shafts are magnetically positioned and coupled.

Mallet Hardness and Overtones - a visualization

The tool I used for this (Insight) is part of Izotope's mastering suite of software. This is not its normal use, but it provides a nice visualization of acoustic energy in real time across the frequency spectrum. Something went awry with the way that Quicktime did the screen capture, so by the end of the video, the waveforms are appearing significantly later and out of sync with the sound, but you will be able to still associate them and see the differing harmonic content. The frequency is represented along the bottom of the graph.