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I just purchased an old (1940s?) Ludwig vibraphone. It has a Bodine motor with an attachment that looks to me like a friction speed control. There is a knob you twist that presses a felt pad against a spinning disk to, I guessing, slow the motor and change the speed of the rotation of the butterflies. There are some other parts on the motor shaft that I think are heat sinks. I am thinking of cannibalizing the Ludwig to use the motor on another vibe set I have (can't tell you what it is because I bought it used and it has no identifying marks of any kind). My adaptation of the motor would involve removing the manual speed control (if that's what it is) and using just the motor in the other vibes. My question is, is this Bodine motor some rare item that might be of great value to someone, in which case I shouldn't be cannibalizing it, or is ut just an old relic whose only value is that it's still working?


Vince H Tue, 09/04/2012 - 18:55

If this were mine, I would focus on keeping the Ludwig vibe orginal (and restoring it to near-new condition), keeping the original Bodine with it. If you decide to sell the Ludwig, it will have more value if you've restored it to original condition--which includes the Bodine motor. These wear like iron and can be taken apart and cleaned if there are problems.

Oriental motor US206-001U is a speed control motor that works well for vibes. You can buy them direct from Oriental motor -- it is $194 USD. These motors are quiet, have all the torque you need (at startup) and have a good speed controller. This is what Musser has been using for a while now. You will need to adapt it to fit your vibe, but this is the case with any motor you get. Here's a link.…

If you peruse the Oriental Motor site, you can learn more about other options that might work for you. If you are in the US, you want a 110 volt system, elsewhere probably 220v.

These also show up on ebay. Here is one that is close, on ebay, but the US206-401 has a pinion shaft (meant to power a gear), which will not work.…

some guys have tried this latter type, but the trouble is you have to use a gearhead with it (since the shaft is a pinion) and gearheads introduce noise.

Keep watching on ebay and elsewhere. I picked up one for considerably less than retail. It's a matter of being persistent.

Hope this helps! Sat, 12/09/2017 - 17:38

In reply to by Vince H

Vince? (Vincent?), the motor you describe isnt available anymore, what is the type that would work for vibraphones now?