Stick clicking...

I've tried many mallet grips over the years, and for vibes Burton is my favorite...except for the fact that my mallets click together when I play with this grip. Somehow I'm getting better at making them click less as I play, but is there anything I can actively do to work on this? Thanks!

Some people wrap the ends of the shafts in tennis racket tape -- Ed Saindon, for example, although I think he does it more for a secure grip.

I've had clicking issues in the past and I'm not quite sure but it seemed to me to involve how closed my fist was in the grip. The more it's closed, toward like throwing a punch, the more clicking. If I have more of a claw grip the ends of the shafts stay separated. Sort of more finger control than pressing against my palm.

Tom P.

i have never used tape. and i don't like. (just for the record). and the clicking will go away. it will just take time. just spend a few minutes each practice session trying to figure out where the clicking is coming from and then work on fixing it. then move on and don't worry about it until your next session.

Two completely different views, both good advice! I'm hoping to stay in the non-tape party, but if that doesn't work out I know what to do! Thanks!

I admit that I don't play four-mallet grip as much as I used to (or even play vibes as much as I used to), but I've never had a stick-clicking issue ever. I think part of that is that I cut my mallet stems down to 12 inches or 12.5 inches, and then I slide model-airplane tubing over the end of the shaft and trim it with a blade. So the mallets tend to cross in the back of my palm rather than in back of my hand, and the plastic tubing keeps the stems from flying out of my hands. Terry Gibbs taught me this, although he cuts his down to 7 to 9 inches, but I prefer a longer stem as a matter of my own touch.

If you have an older set of mallets and wish to try this out, it may solve that issue for you. I always felt it gave me more mallet control.

To Vaggelis, have you ever tried the Burton grip in your right hand and Tony's grip in your left hand? That may solve the issue with feeling that your left hand is weaker than your right.

Hi John!

Well I only met Tony 2 or 3 years ago,and I had been playing the burton grip for over 15 years,so my grip felt ok at that time..Even though I have broken my left hand 3 times in my lifetime(that is why it is so weak),I would not dare learning how to play with a new grip.. I mean:wouldn't that be confusing?I am confused enough as it is..;)

Oh well that is just me..
"If it (kinda)works don't fix it"that is what they say right?

I feel that sometimes you should stick to what you know..Vibraphone music is much more than grips,and human anatomy:)


Since your hand weakness is the result of multiple injuries, I can understand how you feel. I'd be grateful to be able to play at all after reading what you've gone through.

I wish you well and continued success.

Well I am still breathing,and I would not quit without a fight!:)

Thank you very much!Same to you!Keep in touch!

Have a great one!:)

This is like the story of my life!!I am using the Burton grip too and I've had serious problems with that for years and years,especially with my left hand(very weak),when playing for mallet passages,but it is history now!:)

I worked on pieces that concetrated on using all four mallets combinations of 1-2-3-4,2-4-1-3 slowly,such as Bach fugues or this one( would suggest you to be very judgemental of your playing and very patient..also leave a small gap between the mallets,do not let them be very close to each other.

The last section of Gary Burton's "Four mallet studies" is an extremely good source to overcome this problem.

Another personal thought of mine on this matter that I feel I should share, is that on many cases "stick clicking"appeared, in my case when I was not feeling confident..and it disappeared when I had things under control..So be brave and mean every note you play,whether it is the right one or not!

All the best!