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Steve Weiss Mallet Workshop


I play the marimba, and am new to the vibraphone. I noticed that, over time, a depression develops on the vibraphone damper where the underside of the bars make contact with the felt. Is this a bad thing, and is it necessary to readjust the damper tension when not using the vibes, to relieve the pressure on the felt?

Is there a section here that addresses how to properly set up and adjust a vibraphone?

Thank you-


Randy_Sutin Sun, 11/15/2015 - 08:45

If you do a search on the site you will find lots of threads on many aspects of the care and feeding of our favorite pet beast, the vibraphone.

To your specific question, in my opinion, it is not inherently bad that the felt packs down a little under each note, provided that it happens evenly. The important aspects are,

-does it dampen evenly?
-does the damper bar make an unwanted sound when it comes in contact with the bar?
- Does it dampen enough for your taste, or perhaps too much? (If you play a run with the damper bar up, dobthe notes ring together too much or are they too staccato?

There are solutions you can find here for all of those if any are true for your instrument.

tonymiceli Sun, 11/15/2015 - 21:20

the simple now answer is does it work, if so then you're fine.

I've heard of people fluffing it up with a hair type pick.

people use moleskiin ( i think it's for shoes?) when the felt gets bad.

and finally you can always change the felt.

IndianaGlen Mon, 11/16/2015 - 08:49

Per Randy's comment below. If all your bars are dampening evenly and to your satisfaction leave it alone especially if you are new at this. There is some evening that goes on after a while and in my opinion the dents are not a bad thing. If you have a problem it's one thing you can find a lot of info on the site about damper adjustments and Damper felt.