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just bought a used M55 (wish I could afford a new VanderPlas GigVibe, but can't foot the bill right now). The instrument needs some repair that I will do with my father. A few questions:

From reading other posts, I've learned that the stock, M-brace is NOT the best way to support my frame. I agree; the struts on my instrument are warped out of shape, do not always "behave", and don't provide support in all the right places. But I am unclear about what you've been recommending for a better solution. Could you specify (or link to) your description of a better support system? Any pictures/diagrams could also be helpful.

My M55 has the same banging damper pad that everyone seems to complain about. I am thinking about upgrading to the VanderPlas pad but was not able to find it on your website. How would I go about ordering one?

I'd also like to replace my posts with posts used on the Musser Piper. I think this will make my vibes sound better (by removing some more of that dreadful banging) as per Tony's video at John Piper's house (where Piper explains he has designed his posts so that the chord rests on the rubber insulators, not the posts themselves). Do you know/ can you tell me if this replacement is worthwhile? Do the M55 posts come out easily/ will the Piper posts need new holes drilled and filled? Perhaps you have an even better system at vanderPlas for such a thing?

Any information you share is appreciated!


nico Mon, 05/28/2012 - 06:25

there are several things you should do to make the m55 a good instrument.

1. add the silicone pad. order it by sending me an email.
2. Replace the smallwidth pedal by a wide pedal. The smallwidth ruines your back
and the stability of the instrument.
3. the way the m55 is braced is pointless. There is no point in connecting
a brace to the wooden keybed, it just makes thing worse.
put a diagonal brace fron the upper horizontal rods of the side stands towards
the point where your pedal is hinged.Don't use flat metal for the brace,
use either round or square tubes.
4. Replacing barposts with shock absorbing posts shouldn't give you any problems.
5. buy some clamps so you can reduce the noise from the damper bars pivot arms , see
Tony's picture ;-)
6. replace the terrible low cost casters by decent ones.


franklao Mon, 05/28/2012 - 13:23

In reply to by nico

I'll address your reply in order.
1. Will email you shortly about the silicone pad (but may be placing a slightly larger order, as you'll see below)!
2. Does vanderPlas offer a wider pedal? Does a wider pedal connect to the dampening bar at two points (rather than the M55's single contact point)? Is the pedal easy to mount on my M55/ what is entailed with mounting it?
3. Thank you for the insight
4. How does one go about removing the current bar posts? Pair of pliers?

Another thing: I currently have only 1 damper spring and damper spring bracket (located to the left of where my pedal arm connects to the damper bar). This set up dampens some bars faster than others. From the video with John Piper I learned that two damper springs are more efficient for achieving similar damper-pressure across the bars. Would you recommend adding a second damper spring unit or will installing the silicone pad fix this problem? Might a second damper spring put excessive stress on the frame? Does vanderPlas offer one that is compatible with the M55?