Question on Purchasing a Vibraphone!!

Hello Everyone,

I'm new here.. I'm a professional drummer wanting to be a complete musician, and would like to seriously get into studying the vibes. I don't know if I'll ever gig on the vibes every night, but I would like to get a Pro instrument. Is there a difference in Sound between the musser brands: M55, M48 or the M46? (I'm aware that M46 does not come with a motor)

If it all sounds the same, and feels similar to play, and the only difference is the cosmetics...than I would like to purchase the M46..

Good decision??

Thank you all!


Welcome on board Emre!
The M-55 has often been recommended among players for its sound quality and its portability. I can't tell you about the sound differences of those models but I hope you'll get some answers from others.
Guys? Any answer to give to Emre? C'mon!! :o)
Good luck Emre! At least you got an answer from Nico VanderPlas on the Gigvibe, which too has a beautiful sound!
Keep us posted on your project!
- Marie

Thank you Marie-noelle, I think I've decided, I'll be getting a m55! Thank you for your advice. The difference between the m55 and the m48 was only $500 dollars.. After spending all the money, whats another 500? :)

What's an extra $500 in that decision??

Well worth it, that's what it is. Trust me, after 30+ years on my M55, including a couple where I was without a car and bought an M48, I have good perspective. The M48 now sits stationary in my rehearsal space because...

It's a pain in the neck to set up and tear down. Every time, you have to adjust the damper bar or get notes ringing at one or the other end of the instrument. Even Gary Burton admits that he routinely sticks matchbook covers in the joints to adjust his when he sets it up and he designed the darned thing.

I have had my M55 since 1977, played on it a LOT and only now am I thinking it needs a little work reconditioning its frame, etc. Very good instrument; the best, IMHO.

to your questions...

Yes, Steve is a great person to buy it from. He is a good friend and neighbor here. His prices are often best and always fair. He really takes care of percussionists worldwide. He is the only one I know of with a truly full stock of mallets.

No, it will not go on a plane easily as luggage, especially if you do not yet have the cases. Best to have it professionally packed and shipped. It will be much cheaper shipping TO Turkey than FROM Turkey. You may even want to ask Steve about the best ways to do that. I am sure he has experience.

Enjoy! When I got mine back in 1977, I was also a "drummer" who wanted to expand. I now play vibes gigs way, way more than drum gigs. I am, however, still proud to consider myself a drummer. It always makes me bristle when people say "oh, so you're a persussionist, not JUST a drummer". Drummers hold the keys to the musical kingdom.


Thanks Randy,
I have no doubt that m55 will be The instrument for me. What do you think of the pro vibe with moto-cart??

It is much cheaper, and looks like a tank.

I think I can order custom made cases in Turkey for much cheaper and higher quality here. Does anybody know where I can find the internal dimensions for m55 cases??

i can ask around

But, tanks are hard to get in and out of gigs. The regular ProVibe is good to go for that.

I would offer to measure my cases, but I would be worried that I would be off here and there by even a quarter of an inch. If the axe is rattling around in the case, it's almost as bad as not being in it. Sounds like you are talking about soft cases anyway and mine are the old school Musser fiberboard cases...

The Beiner Bags Tony recommends are excellent, affordable (especially if you buy them here through the site) and guaranteed to fit well. Yes, you may be able to get custom ones that are better when you get home to Turkey, but that would be my choice if I wanted soft cases.

Hi Randy,
My main concern is shipping them back to Turkey on a plane. I'll be heading right back to Turkey as soon as I buy them. Besdies that I don't need any cases. I'm going to be a beginner, so I will not be gigging for a looong time. :)

If you truly are going back as soon as you get it, and you still plan to purchase it from Steve Weiss, then why not just have Steve ship it to Turkey for you? He knows how to do all that, I am sure. You can have your friends who make cases hook you up when you get home.

Hi Randy,

One bad thing about shipping directly to Turkey from the seller is the customs that I would have to pay, it's going to be something like 1/3 of the cost of the vibes. There is a huge tax on everything over 100$.

I think I need to buy some cases or just some plain luggage and bring them back on the plane. That's why I may have to get the m48 instead of the m55..

No !!!!!
Forget the motor-cart unless you are really going to e driving that thing down the streets. Just get a good cart, like the ROCK AND ROLLER cart. Just google it. And then get cases from Beiner bags and you be ready to hop from gig to gig!!

if you're getting a musser then get an m55! don't get anything else. especially if you're gigging around your area. if you're going to fly all over the world, then get the 48, it's compact. but for running into gigs and setting up i think this is the best set up.

beiner bags
rock and roller cart (that's the name of it)

then you can fly in and out of gigs.

now if you're in new york and will be taking cabs every where. ok then m48. but otherwise the 55 is the fastest sturdiest and best set up.

besides this there's the vanderPlas gig vibe that's in between the m55 and the m48 and has a great sound.

Dear Tony,

Thank you for your recommendation. Looks like the M55 is the current industry standard. I didn't read all the forums but, I'm guessing the only difference between the M55 versus the other brands are the durability.

I'll be purchasing the vibes through Steve Weiss Music in August, and I'll be bringing them back to Turkey where I live. Is Steve Weiss a good place to purchase vibes?

Will they fit in normal luggage? Or should I look into making custom cases here?
In Turkey it's very easy to get custom cases done, because I have direct access to luggage makers/craftsmen.

As soon as I have them, I'll be signing up here as member, and check out the lessons.

ps.. I will be hosting Turkey's first jazz camp this summer. We would be honored to have you with us too. Right now I have just enough students to cover our teachders fees, but I will have more sponsors next year.

you can check out more info here:


Emre Kartari


That's very exciting about your jazz camp! I'd gladly come sometime to be a part of your event. Looks like you are making history and since you are a vibe player we are all very proud of you! Keep up the good work. This is ground breaking stuff you are doing so anyway I can help you I gladly will. Just ask.

The m55 is the standard not because of durability but because of portability. It's not extremely durable and can be noisy, but it's easy to move around.

I played on an adams instrument in Romania that sounded great. VanderPlas makes a great instrument of course, and yamahas are also good instruments. So it's very complicated to by an instrument but i usually tell people to buy m55s for their first instrument only because it's easy to move around.

I'm not a vibes player yet, there is a lot of road in front of me. I'm still a drummer, but I can't wait to get started on vibes.

Last couple of years has been exciting for me, I was also the co-founder of Turkey's first jazz college degree program supported by the state. Turkey is doing well financially - they host some of the biggest jazz festivals in Europe, but they are really behind in the education department. The jazz students here are very hungry. It would be great to have you over at my university in the future. Also we are located in the Izmir, in the's beautiful..
We have much to talk about, I'm so glad for this website..

shoot... after reading this thread:

Looks like I'm back to m48. I will not be doing much traveling but I need to pack it immediately after my purchase and put it on a plane.

The Van der Plas Vibes is with the current rate of USD against Euro no doubt a bargain. I would definitely take that one into consideration. If Joe Locke does his gigs on this vibraphone and many of the Vibes-workshop-lesson-contributors (see the video's) then this his highly recommended. Having played on a VanderPlas for a week this will be the one in case my current Vibes will need to be replaced. Although sound, like fashion, is a matter of personal taste in the end, a VanderPlas in generally seen as top notch! Once you have the chance to buy a professional vibraphone I can only recommend including this one seriously in your selection process. I cannot decide for you but make sure that you do a selection first time right. A vibrafone is not a usable article like a pack of serials. It's now or never. Kind regards, Frans

Dear Frans,

Thank you for the reply. Vanderplas definitely seems like a super quality instrument, I looked in to it. My only concern is the price. I would like to get an instrument and start practicing right away, it's kind of urgent. (I'm a jazz drummer, and I'm going for a phd studies audition on jazz percussion. They want me to have some background in vibraphone.) Only from the price point alone, I will have to pass on the Vanderplas. Besides the pricepoint, I'm convinced of its quality.