Skip to main content

Pretty cool pack up system that Mike Pinto has! I usually knock this instrument, but man that's pretty amazing.


toddc Fri, 08/13/2010 - 10:42

Is that all of the resonators?

Todd Canedy
Don't stop asking until you understand. Once you understand constantly confirm it.

vibeman27 Fri, 08/13/2010 - 11:49

In reply to by toddc

I likewise don't feel I am seeing the whole thing. If I am, then great. Is this a sample of maybe two separate compilations of how compact it can be done?? I definitely don't see enough resonators. And I feel I am looking at half the frame even if it is folded up.


OK, now I see the other wheels which would be part of the other end of the frame but when that opens, then where is the keybed? Is everything packed in those bags? This is interesting!

Holger Fri, 08/13/2010 - 11:14

in detail where you put what! I own an m-48 myself along with my adams vawt 30 mainly because of the hughe packing advantage of the thing. It is kind of sexy to be able to put the entire iinstrument in almost any cap-trunk in the world!
But your system is even hipper than the musser-bags Plus it is about 500 $ cheaper : )
Hope to read your reply soon!

tonymiceli Fri, 08/13/2010 - 14:00

In reply to by Jdoubleday

that means i could get on the mega bus, come to ny and then take a cab to the gig.

OMFG. i think i'm going to buy a new frame, and then get small cases.

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

Randy Fri, 08/13/2010 - 14:38

If Angelo & Joe can figure out how to make the "lightest Frame" break-down like the M48 .......mmmm...... I think we're on to something..... : )


Gary Burton Fri, 08/13/2010 - 17:00

In reply to by Randy

Randy. I've been thinking about asking Musser to fabricate the two end pieces and the resonators of the M-48 from more light-weight materials. Both square stock and tubular stock is likely to be available (resonator tubes could be made from PVC pipe stock, and would be serve the same purpose as air chambers for the resonators). The current metal parts are the most weighty parts of the M-48. Granted the wood end pieces and the cross rails could be lighter, too, but the main weight currently is in the metal parts. And, truthfully if the total frame weight could be reduced from the current approx 110 pounds to maybe 70 is would make a HUGE difference. As it is now, I use two cases for the frame. One weighs about 40 pounds, but the big one weighs almost 70. That's the one that is a bear to lug around. Reducing it to maybe 45 pounds or so would make the whole thing very "carry friendly." I keep meaning to look into getting the necessary stuff. I guess I need to pursue this. Could the instrument companies be convinced to care about the weight issue? I wonder. Probably not Nico, being such a perfectionist. And he doesn't have to carry them around to gigs. Musser or Yamaha: well, if there was a market for a lighter construction, probably they would be interested. But, price would have to be kept competitive or it would be a non-starter.

Interesting possibilities. - Gary

Blake Sat, 08/14/2010 - 06:55

In reply to by Gary Burton

Count me in on a lighter, more portable frame. I've got one beef with the M-48 - so, so, so many pieces. Maybe some quick release gizmos rather than the hand-screws (or whatever they are called). Here's a crazy idea: does it need wheels?

Funny this topic should come up; I'm still driving a full size pickup (only) partly for the ease of moving the vibes. I caught myself contemplating frame options when shopping for a new ride the other day. It would be nice to have an instrument that safely and quickly can be concealed in a car trunk.

Hello to all,

angelo (not verified) Tue, 08/17/2010 - 01:18

In reply to by Gary Burton

angelo j. vaglio

Gary, Tony Miceli and I have been communicating for quite a while (mentioning your name often)with regard to the subject matter and I just got through posting the features of accomplishment to my current YV2700 Yamaha Studio vibes and what I, (and my friend a master machinist, Joe Cifelli), need to know to design/make vibe frames for easy transporting.

Check out my articles (Tony will tell you where they are located). I'll just list a few points for you to ponder, about my past and our making changes to vibes.

I started playing mandolin at age four and followed up with guitar sytudies, thereafter, plus, end up around 1937, studying the vibraharp/vibraphone after listening to Adrian Rollini's vibes trio, broadcasted 6:00 P.M. every evening. In a couple of weeks, I'll become age: 93 and still very active, playing my vibes every Friday/Saturday nights (for past 8 years) at a popular restaurant. I get many requests night after night and I play most of them, working solo with my BIAB computer program that gives me my rhythm section with my lead, etc. I make videos of the songs as they are requested, no rehearsal, etc., to the satisfaction of the patrons and love the challenges of the variety of tunes.
I send Tony my Flip videos each week..

Anyway, i need, from you, a complete story about what is needed to create a new design of vibes for airplane travel. Lots to talk about, if you care to. I have enjoyed listening to you and Tony playing.

Thank you, Angelo.

tonymiceli Tue, 08/17/2010 - 02:02

In reply to by angelo (not verified)

hey, somewhere on here is gary talking about traveling with a set of vibes. All we have to do is find it now!!

any ideas, anyone? rather than ask gary to retype all that?

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

Gary Burton Tue, 08/17/2010 - 10:48

In reply to by tonymiceli

Hi Tony (and Angelo). Here's a brief rundown of what traveling with a set of vibes entails (I'm talking about traveling on airplanes). First of all the weight. No single piece can weigh more than 70 lbs. My largest case weighs in at 68. I use two boxes and a rolling carry-on for the keys. I designed the cases myself, with the goal of making them small enough to pass as regular luggage, and because they would also usually fit into the trunks of regular cars, taxi's etc., another important factor when traveling to other cities and countries. The cases offered by Musser, for instance, are wonderfully designed to make sure that no part of the instrument touches another, and all are suitably padded. But the cases are then way too big for convenient traveling.

I laid all pieces of my M-48 out on the floor and grouped them in the most compact ways I could, then ordered cases made for those dimensions. The downside of my approach is that parts of the instrument rub against each other in the cases, getting scratches and dents. Nothing that affects the playing ability of the instrument, but if you're the kind of person who is meticulous about avoiding any wear and tear, then you won't go for my approach.

As it turns out, the big challenge is the weight of the larger case. It's a bit too heavy for one person to carry comfortably, even though it does pass muster as a piece of luggage when checking in at the airport. The contents of the large case are: the two metal leg pieces, the four pieces of resonators, and the crossbar assembly that stabilizes the frame. Essentially, almost all the metal parts of the M-48. If those could be made of a much lighter material it would probably lower the weight down to 45-50 pounds, a major difference in portability.

Also Angelo, although I think it is a negligible difference, I approve of your enclosing the ends of the vibraphone. It does improve the resonance a slight amount, and is a nice touch. I always notice it when I play on a Musser Century. Not sure I would want to add weight to the instrument though. I travel so much with mine, that I am always looking for the least weight possible (the reason I remove the motor assembly from the frame, as well, since I don't use it.)

Well, there you have it. It's a combination of keeping the weight of the individual pieces below 70 pounds, and keeping the overall size of the cases small enough to resemble standard luggage, suitable for car trunks, and airline check-in. (The last thing you want to hear when you step up to the counter is, "Sorry we can't accept that, it'll have to go by freight...and it won't get there till the day after tomorrow.")

tonymiceli Tue, 08/17/2010 - 12:49

In reply to by Gary Burton

so you're saying, you won't get turned away with the luggage, it will just go as freight??

so all in all, bringing a set of vibes won't prevent you from getting on the airplane? i.e., you have to bring the vibes back home! they might get their late, but they will get there?

that is if you're turned down at the counter?

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

angelo (not verified) Mon, 08/30/2010 - 22:04

In reply to by Gary Burton

Hi, Gary (and Tony Miceli). all of the included information within this article actually gives me a vivid picture of what you go through with each "carry-on" endeavor and i'll mention a few things that I have been thinking about for many years and the two of you definitely have the connections with the manufacturers of our "beautiful vibes" that "talk to me" every time I strike the mallet.

First, before I get into my suggestive pew, in your fourth paragraph, you say, "I approve of enclosing the ends of the vibes, but don't want to add the weight". Gary, those two end panels are the "very thing" that reduced the weight by almost half!
I'll reveal the process of making the side panels lighter, later.

Gary, I don't want you to think that I am a "very smart guy". All of my remarks and suggestions are the results of my activities as a "coordinator" on the Apollo Space program for ten years where I dealt with so many great engineers, machinists, toolmakers, molders, etc., to send our astronaughts to the moon. (Lots of stories to be told). Now, I'll pass along some suggestions that I have toyed with and I need your responses so that I can unveil everything before I turn 93, on September 9, 2010.

The vibraphone resonator considerations that need qualified engineers and individuals experienced in "molding" techniques, etc., to be contacted, to make them lighter.

(01) Change the material of the resonator tubing to a plastic material that is lighter and can retain the internal sound waves with the same tolerances. (No PVC materials)or-
(02) Change the material tubing using "cardboard tubes". (similar to mailing tubes) or-
(03) Retain the upper "mouth end of the present tubes" (about 3 inches) and attach "Bellows", (accordion)to the lower portions, in proper tuning dimensions, plus a weighted Cover at the bottom of each respective tube. or-
(04) Contact manufacturers of materials that can "sew" sleeves that can retain the sound waves with plastic necks at the top and circular weights at the bottom. or-
(05) Because I had experienced a lot of "aluminum casting" manufacturing, how about contacting bonifide molders to think about creating a mold with the proper fibers and light plastics, to replace both: (the natural keys & the sharp keys). The weight can be reduced 60%+ for each set. (Then later on, you can design the mold to be hinged in half for easier carrying.)
(06) The damper/pulley assembly can remain as they are for the full length and then modified into two pieces with interlocking features for breaking down, etc.

Gary, after you and Tony have reviewed the above, Tony can email any small items of concern that I can followup on if I have to contact my machinist or something else of concern. I trust that you can contact your experienced manufacturers and bounce my suggestions around a bit.

Right now, I'll check on the videos that I made last weekend and convert the audio to CD's that I give to my good patrons, every weekend at the restaurant.

Maybe, we can get some feed-back from our members on any of the thing that I mentioned in the above.

All, stay healthy and remember, as my Dad used to say, (Mangia tre colore) eat three colors food at all meals. (Today, I look at my vitamin bottles)'


toddc Tue, 08/31/2010 - 17:59

In reply to by arturo serra

Maybe someone can take measurements and post it to vw?
We should have measurements of all vibe types ...maybe ...huh?
Help out the innovators a little.
Anyone have Autocad or something similar?

Todd Canedy
Don't stop asking until you understand. Once you understand constantly confirm it.

mikepinto Fri, 08/13/2010 - 21:56

haha hey guys,
YES that is the ENTIRE instrument there. The "upper" half of the resonators are in the bag along with the keybed rails (folded in half), pedal and cross bar (in half), dampener (broken in half) and the motor. Don't forget EVERYTHING on this instrument comes apart and breaks in half so there are a bunch of pieces but they all fit in a super small space i.e. that duffle bag! The keys are in that luggage case.
Also that duffle bag is HEAVY. so you really need to lift with the knees to get it into the car!
With this setup I can park in ny and walk to the gig which is usually a few blocks away all by myself.

This is why I am so excited for angelos super light frame. It would not be hard to take it a step further and replicate the m48 using the materials he is using. Then I could carry this around without even using the dolly.


tonymiceli Sat, 08/14/2010 - 01:04

In reply to by mikepinto

i've been emailing angelo all night. i want him to come over with the machinist.

btw it seems angelo worked on the apollo space ships back in the day. he was a head engineer or something like that, with a team under him. so this cat might be heavy.

if he could make us a frame that was very light and that came apart and fit in small bags, we could easily travel with our instrument on a plane. wow!!!!

when he comes on, i'd love to get him talking to gary!!

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

angelo (not verified) Sat, 09/04/2010 - 12:25

In reply to by mikepinto

angelo j. vaglio

Mike,Your comments are great, but if you can dump everything out onto the "sidewalk" so that I see each and every piece of the puzzle, it will help wth my concern in making a lighter, modification to this model.

Better yet, if you live anywhere in my vicinity,East Hanover, N.J. 07936, maybe I can see them in person (with my machinist).

Another thing, for now. Do you have a manual that illustrates the assembly and breakdown steps of instrument?

Tony Miceli has my email address that you can reach me on and I can get back to you.