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I'm a percussionist who is about to embark on the search for a new vehicle, and will hopefully be starting my search for a vibraphone soon, too. I gig occasionally, and will be doing more of it in the future, so since I'm looking for both things at once, I'm hoping to find 1. a vibraphone that is relatively easy to transport with one person, and 2. a car that will facilitate that. At the moment, I have my eye on a Musser M55, and it's been helpful to read everyone's comments on here.

Since there are already lots of posts here about instruments, I wanted to ask about vehicles instead. I'm a single guy with no kids, so a minivan or SUV are bigger than I need or want. I've been interested in the Honda Fit, and was wondering if anyone has any experience using one to transport a vibraphone? Any other vehicles that work really well for you (that aren't minivans or SUVs)? Thanks!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I also play drum set a lot, so it should be also able to accommodate an average-sized drum kit (22" kick, 4-6 pieces)...not at the same time as the vibes, though, of course!


tonymiceli Mon, 03/03/2014 - 14:15

well i am very pro omega. and i'll tell you that an omega would fit in any hatchback except for the fiat coopers or whatever they are called. at least I'm not sure they would.

and most cars where the back seats fold down will do also. I've rented many cars and all kinds.

i have a forrester and it works great.

don't think too compact. remember you have to set it up and tear it down. the two instruments that fit that category is the musser m55. good instrument and the omega which i personally think is far superior to the omega. IMHO. but either of those will do a good job.

ndemland Mon, 03/03/2014 - 21:24

In reply to by tonymiceli

Thanks for responding! I've been out of the Malletech loop for awhile and didn't even know about the Omega, but it looks great. I'll definitely look into it more, thanks for the recommendation!

Randy_Sutin Mon, 03/03/2014 - 15:05

When I bought my Matrix, I also tried a Fit. I actually took my M55 cases over to the dealer to see if they could go. they did. But the passenger seat had to go down first, so no other humans allowed in the car. If sharing rides to gigs is important to you, then the Fit may not be quite big enough... you may want to go a notch bigger like Tony's Forrester or the Matrix.

ndemland Mon, 03/03/2014 - 21:19

In reply to by Randy_Sutin

Thanks for the response, that's good to know! Were you laying the vibes flat? I wonder if they would fit with one of the back seats up for a passenger if they were loaded in on their side? Would that be too hard on the frame?

behng Mon, 03/03/2014 - 15:57

Last year, I bought a Nissan Versa, the sedan one instead of the hatchback. I think this is a great car for a vibes player. This car gets 40+ mpg on the highway, and it's not a hybrid. It's a very inexpensive car as well, around $15000-16000. You do have to pay a little extra for a convenience package, since the seats going down is considered a convenience, which is ridiculous! But you do get cool Bluetooth features, which is neat and makes the phone a safer thing in a car.

With the back seats down, I can easily fit my love vibe and still have a front seat passenger. Also, it can fit an M48 in the trunk, no seats down. That's nice when you want to go out somewhere after a gig, and then you don't have to worry about anyone seeing equipment in your car.

It's not that big either, so I can parallel in tight spots in NYC and Philly without worry. Not sure if they're making the sedan version anymore though. I bought mine in 2013, now the new car is the 2014 Versa Note, and I've only seen it in a hatchback version

The Honda Fit is good if you rarely have any other passengers. Another car to consider is the Hyndai Elantra, very similar. Good luck!

stewhoff Mon, 03/03/2014 - 20:30

I bought a Honda Fit a year-and-a-half ago. It's a brilliant design and is unlike any other car. You have to be sure to get a second generation model, from 2009 on, which is slightly longer than the earlier model. The seats fold perfectly flat and you can slide the vibes (I have an ancient M-55) in the back quite comfortably. It's easier to load the vibes than it was in my last car, a 1995 Corolla wagon. It's fairly high too, so not too hard on the back when loading (though there is a bit of a lip coming up and above the storage area, but it hasn't been a problem for me lifting it over). I haven't tried it with vibe cases, so I would bring your cases to the dealership before buying one, but I'm pretty sure they would fit.

If you're also a drummer, it's great because the back seat pads also fold up. I have an 18" bass drum that I can sit on the floor of the car. I stack all the drums on the floor, then throw the hardware in the storage space behind the seat back. Again, I would check how a larger set, maybe with cases, would fit with the seats in that configuration. Certainly a larger set in cases would fit with the seat backs down. (I've never tried to figure out if my vibes and drums would fit at the same time.) I would certainly recommend the car. I have an automatic, but the standard would be better with that small motor. Mileage is about the same on the two versions. I don't think mileage is the best in its class, but it's certainly good.

I was looking at the Matrix, which I liked a lot. A little heavier so a different ride - which I liked - but the mileage isn't quite as good. What really killed it for me is that it is about 1 1/2 inches wider, wouldn't have fit through the mutual drive, and I wanted to avoid street parking. I was also looking at the Kia Rondo, which has a lot in common with a Matrix. I'm not sure it's still for sale in the U.S. A vibraphonist friend of mine owns one and likes it a lot. It was one of my early first choices - you get a lot of car for the money - but again, it wouldn't fit through the drive.

Interesting that Behng recommended the Versa. I considered it, but felt the hatchback opening, with it's angled corners, wasn't wide enough. But if it works for Behn, I suppose it really works!

Good luck.

ndemland Mon, 03/03/2014 - 21:27

In reply to by stewhoff

Great, thanks! I know a lot of people (none of them musicians, though) with Fits, and they love them. When you say you get your vibes in, are you able to also fit a passenger, or no? Unfortunately, I don't have a vibraphone yet, and the car will probably come first, so I can't test it in person.

stewhoff Tue, 03/04/2014 - 17:27

In reply to by ndemland

I played a gig last summer and drove with my partner. I push the passenger seat forward a little, and she is small, but I think it will probably be okay for someone who isn't a giant. If you don't have vibes yet, bring a measuring tape and push the passenger seat to where you might need it. You'll likely find it will work (but check it out - I don't want to feel I gave you bad information!)

ndemland Fri, 01/08/2016 - 23:38

For anyone who may be car shopping, I ended up buying a friend's used M55, and got a Subaru Impreza (hatchback model). With the seats down, the M55 fits perfectly inside! This is a great percussion car.

gmstxfour Sat, 01/09/2016 - 17:40

Hi- I have played a Musser M55 for many years. My vehicle of choice has been a Dodge Mini-van. I store (stow-and-go)both back seats, although you can also store just the middle seat. My fully-assembled M55 slides in the passenger side door and fits straight across the back. The treble end goes in first. The caravan is a perfect width. With the van doors closed, the vibes fits snugly and cannot move side to side. I loop a bungie cord through the M55 handle and attach it to a rod on the map compartment on the lower front of the passenger seat. The M55 is held securely to the backs of the front two passenger seats. It is great to be able to move an M55 around assembled. Of course, when I do have to transport the instrument dis-assembled, there is plenty of room. You'd have room for a drum kit, as well. Good luck!