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Hi Everyone, I recently acquired a Deagan Commander 593 vibraphone. It was in pretty good shape when I got it, but also needed some work. I've managed to get most of it running smoothly, but I'm having some trouble with the pedal tension. It takes an awful lot of energy to push the pedal down. I have the spring adjusted so that the bar dampens the keys evenly, but I'm not aware of how to adjust the spring tension itself, so that the pedal is physically easier to push down. Is this a matter of replacing the spring? Am I missing something obvious? Thanks.


IndianaGlen Thu, 01/23/2014 - 14:43

Remove the bars and spring and see if the mechanism moves freely. If it does then yes a different spring will change how hard you need to press the pedal. However, if the spring is too loose it won't press hard enough on the bars to dampen them. Seems odd though, I can't remember ever playing on a set of vibes that the pedal was too hard to push down unless there was another problem.

Ace Hardware usually has boxes near when the nuts and bolts that may have a spring use. However, I don't know for sure.

rogersvibes Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:03

In reply to by IndianaGlen

Yeah, the way the pedal is set up now, the nut that adjusts the spring is as loose as it can get. If I tighten it anymore, the bar doesn't dampen all the notes evenly. That seems to suggest that replacing it with a looser spring will make the dampening problem worse even if it solves the tension problem, right? I can't think what other problem there could be.

IndianaGlen Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:49

In reply to by rogersvibes

You may have tried some of this already. but here goes:
Have you compared the pressure to another vibe, maybe that vibe just needs a lot
Is the rod where it connects to the pedal in the right place? You should be able to get a pic online. Is any of that mechanism binding. Maybe ONE drop of oil on the hinges.

Your complaint was that it takes too much pressure, to push the pedal down. Adjusting the spring doesn't change the pressure very much, it just adjusts the travel of the damper, so you are on the right track if you loosen it up all the way it does put more pressure on the bars dampening them more. So if you have some inconsistencies, more pressure on the bars can help. Replacing the felt may help you reduce the amount of pressure you need to dampen all the bars. Nico's silicone pad is more forgiving than traditional felt. Some guys love it, some guys don't.

There are NUMEROUS factors that effect dampening including felt, bent parts, posts uneven, loose bar chord tension, warped rails, sitting on uneven ground, etc. Anybody who has messed with Vibes has spent HOURS on dampening, and it can make you crazy. Replacing the felt is a DIY job, other adjustments can be challenging and will require some risk and major patience. -- although if you are really handy you can do those also. Many of us have here.

rogersvibes Sat, 01/25/2014 - 18:27

In reply to by IndianaGlen

Thanks for the follow up. I have compared it to my M55 and it's a pretty drastic difference. I suppose it could just be what the instrument is like. Like most Deagan's, it has a long bar-type pedal. On my Musser I like to pedal with just the tips of my toes, which is much harder with the Deagan pedal due to the tension. If have shoes on and I use my whole foot, it's a little easier. But still not comfortable and not as precise as I'd like.

I think I've already troubleshooting most of the typical things. I replaced the felt. The rod is hooked up properly, and the spring is adjusted to dampen the keys evenly. Good to know that the spring adjustment doesn't really alter the tension. That seems to leave the spring itself. The instrument had some non-original parts when I got it, and the pedal mechanism looked like it had been rebuilt. So maybe the spring is not original and isn't right for the instrument.

Anyone else own a Deagan and experienced similar problems?

rogersvibes Sun, 01/26/2014 - 03:08

In reply to by BarryK

I did email them back in December, but I think they have been out of the shop. I'll try again at the end of January.

rogersvibes Sat, 02/01/2014 - 17:29

In reply to by rogersvibes

I tried the spring from my M55 on the Deagan. It fits and solves the pedal tension problem, so I'm going to order one and just use that. Hopefully, the instrument hasn't been damaged too badly by having a wrong spring on it for a while. Whoever rebuilt the instrument last didn't know what they were doing.

rogersvibes Tue, 02/11/2014 - 15:58

In reply to by rogersvibes

I ordered a new Musser spring. It is an improvement, but I'm still not satisfied. Any chance that a spring from Century Mallet would be much different? They want $20. At this point, I'll probably give it a shot. And if that doesn't work, I could eliminate the spring as the source of the problem.