I'm a new member here, enjoying the site so far. I have been the proud owner of a well-worn Musser One-Niter for almost a decade (the instrument is probably 30-40 years old at this point). The tone and sustain are actually really good after replacing the felt dampening strip and suspension cords, and with the right mallets (which are the Gary Burton model for me). The intonation is good, there are a few bars that have character.
I'm about ready to buy a new vibraphone and have been shopping around. My experience is that the Musser M55's have always been great to play on in the various music schools I've attended including my alma mater Berklee College of Music. I noticed that most of the M55's they have are fitted with silver matte bars. There were a few vibraphones that were gold with the glossy finish. I really like the feel of the smooth bars, especially for mallet dampening, but prefer the look of the silver and am looking for the warmest possible sound. My One-Niter bars are smooth, but I have reached out to and gotten responses from Sweetwater and Steve Weiss Percussion saying that they offer the silver in matte, no guarantee on a smooth finish yet.
Has anyone had luck ordering a newer Musser with smooth silver bars? I'm planning on ordering bars tuned to A=440hz, which is more or less a custom order at this point, so I'm hoping they can make smooth silver bars.
What are your experiences and opinions on the texture of the bars, gold versus silver, and tuning for that matter. I live in the states and have no plans to travel internationally with my bars.
Opinions on other models besides Musser are welcome.