Height Adjustment

I just got one of those new frames put on my Musser, and I really love the new stability, wheels that stay on and wheels that really lock!

HOWEVER, I am interested in the height adjustment. I have played the vibes many years at that 'standard' level. But I am six feet, and it occurs to me that it might be more ergodynamic to raise the instrument a notch. This would mean that I would stand more upright, and perhaps give a better angkle of mallet attack.

I tried this out, but was a little too weirded by the added 5 cm, so I put it back.

Has anybody some thought on this?


And I always carry a set of 4 inch wooden blocks that I put under the wheels. I've been doing this since the mid 1970s. Neither of my 2 Musser instruments have adjustable height frames, but someday I would like to upgrade.

I think it is essential to have the bars at about waist height. That way your arms are positioned in the most comfortable position and your back can be pretty straight. For me there is no other way to go.

Blocks are great, and mine are less than four inches deep but it just depends on what is comfortable for the individual player. I keep my wrists close to the keyboard, so I just found the right height so I'm not playing stoop-shouldered. I carved out notches with a wood chisel for the casters to rest in, and it's worked out fine.

I am about 6' 1" tall. My blocks are somewhat between 2 and 3 inches. I found that the four inch blocks make the pedal awkward. I play a 70s vintage M55.

One thing that helps me. I concentrate on NOT locking my knees when I play, especially my left leg. That was a habit I developed early on and it got painful. Unlocking the knees brings you about an inch closer to the malletboard. Keeping the shoulders loose and relaxed downward, but not forward also helps the angle of the elbow and wrist for me.

I played for several years on an M75 with no height adjustment and then got an M55 a few years ago. I first tried raising the M55 bed one click. At first it felt weird, but I got used to it pretty quickly and it felt better. I then raised it another click and the same thing -- weird at first but quickly better. I think I've ended up with it raised three steps and it definitely feels more comfortable than the standard height.

Tom P.

La altura es algo que siempre me preocupó, siempre traté de que el teclado este apenas mas bajo que la altura de mi cinturón, y mas que nada, tratar de no bajar mucho el cuello para mirar el teclado, sino mas bien bajando el enfoque desde los ojos...es por eso que nunca pensé en tener el instrumento bajo, pero últimamente estuve viendo unos videos de Gary Burton que me están haciendo dudar de mi decisión!

Blocks will work but it's not the best solution because when you raise the vibraphone like that, you completely and dramatically change the pedal action, the stress from the pedal to the instrument and add to the forward thrusting when pedaling. It also changes the speed and distance the damper bar will travel in relationship to the travel of the pedal and your foot. Do simple stilts work? Yeah...kind of but you're also moving the problem from one part of the vibe to another. With a little ingenuity, you can do better.

Consider this: When you raise the instrument in that way (with stilts), you need to lower the pedal to keep its distance from the floor the same. Keep it as close to 90 degrees as possible when in the upright position when the damper is muting the bars. It won't be 90 degrees but close to it is most efficient and most comfortable. That's why it was weird playing it that way and you went back to the original.

As tough, resilient, dedicated, make-it-work music makers, we can handle doing so on a beat up old jalopy but I think we deserve better and we'll enjoy making music better if our instruments are comfortable, quiet, efficient and portable. Also, you probably don't need "height adjustment" for your own personal instrument. You just need your size, custom vibraphone frame.

I may be able to help you down the road.

Buenas! Prefiero el vibes mas bien alto, no solo porque mido 1.87 sino porque considero que hay un mejor acceso a las placas, y además, evito los dolores de espalda...
Me guío un poco con la muñeca apenas por debajo de la altura del codo.