Mallets - How heavy is too heavy for 4-mallet playing?
A beginning student came to me yesterday ready to start lessons with a set of 4 Mike Balter 122R mallets. I've always used Burton or Friedman mallets - mallets designed by 4-mallet players - which don't have as much weight at the top. But I've often wondered how heavy a mallet can be before it gets too top heavy to play 4 mallets with.
I happened to really like the sound of the Balter mallets - they're a little closer to the fat sound I hear on Milt Jackson recordings. I tried them out, and they felt a little awkward, but I wondered if it was something I would get used to over time. The shafts were a good length for 4-mallet playing. But I wasn't sure if I should tell my student to keep the mallets or not.
So the question is, can a 4-mallet player ever get the control and fluidity with a mallet that has a fair bit of weight on top? Tony, you've designed your own mallets so I'm sure you have considered this. At what point does a mallet become unwieldy to play with? Would love to hear from David and Gary too if you're reading this and care to comment - and anyone else for that matter. Maybe I missed it, but I wasn't able to find a discussion on mallet choices on the site yet.