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I borrowed the schools vibraphone this summer. I've had it for two months. It did not have a cover and was in my back garage but I dusted it every other day. I've been playing it off and on all summer but I have to take it back next week and I noticed that all the keys are covered in black marks. I'm guessing that these were already scratched and gouged and that the black developed inside of them. Not all of the scratches have black. And I can't tell if all of the black marks were actually scratches.

I've looked up all kinds of cleaning methods. I've tried washing them and I've tried the white eraser pad but I've been afraid to try anything else because they are not mine. I didn't want to go out and buy everything and test them one at a time...I thought it would be better to ask first. Because I haven't found anyone who has this problem.

I would have posted images but I don't see a way to do that. It does say images can be added to the post. I couldn't find help for using the site and I searched for help, forum help, etc. So maybe somebody can tell me how to do that and then I'll get the images out. Thank you for your help.


Gary Burton Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:01

In reply to by tonymiceli

Hi Lori, I've never heard of this happening to anyone, but take heart with this reminder. The bars are far from fragile. Almost nothing affects the sound quality or tuning of the bars. The bars I've used for decades have all kinds of scratches and have been banged around constantly, but no permanent damage. I understand your concern though. Taking the instrument back with marks could cause your instructor to assume they've been damaged somehow, even if it is just visual. My suggestion is to go ahead and try some various cleaning products and see what might work. One I can predict would be sure to work is a powder sold at the supermarkets called Bartender's Friend. It's used to polish stainless steel, like sinks, etc. It's stronger than liquid products, so I would start with one of those, like Pine-Sol, perhaps. There are also metal polishes, like for silverware, that remove tarnish. I never heard of aluminum oxidizing, which is what causes tarnish, but you could try Wright's silver cream, too. Good luck. - Gary B

dreemsnake Sun, 08/30/2015 - 14:50

In reply to by Gary Burton

I did try a stainless steal cleaner that I use on my sink. But In all of my searches no one mentioned a stainless steel cleaner. It didn't work very well anyway. I'm going to try Bartender's Friend and see what that does. I really appreciate your help!

Off to the store!

rogersvibes Sun, 08/30/2015 - 18:31

In reply to by dreemsnake

Very fine steel wool might work well. I get little black scuffs on the edges of my bars from time to time, which I assume is just oxidation. Fine steel wool takes it off and doesn't scratch the bars.

Babu Sun, 08/30/2015 - 08:19

Go to your name on the top left of the home page of the site, click on post, then click on images and follow the indications - your images will be posted with an accompanying text as you wish. Good luck !

dreemsnake Sun, 08/30/2015 - 14:46

In reply to by Babu

Thanks for your help. I did what you said but there's no images option. Maybe it's not in my pay grade :)

Babu Sun, 08/30/2015 - 15:01

In reply to by dreemsnake

Very strange ! Contact Tony, it should be an issue somewhere... Knowing Tony a little bit after a 5 years + as a subscriber, I'm sure pay grade has nothing to do...

tonymiceli Tue, 09/01/2015 - 22:15

In reply to by dreemsnake

yes, because only subscribers can post things like images or audio or video.

you could host the pictures somewhere else and put the links up here.