The Guide to practicing the Marimba or Vibes Late In An Apartment or With A Baby (even late at night).

I think I have this totally figured out. Vibraphonist Carolyn Stallard came over and we experimented with the Late Night Mallets (click here for the mallets).

We played on my first floor and went and took turns listening in the basement. If this was an apartment it would be a poorly designed apartment. I imagine most apartments have better insulation than the floor to my basement.

First the Late Night Mallets really cut the sound down. You can really hit the instrument and work on your hands without producing a lot of sound and bothering someone. No more playing with soft mallets but still playing very very softly. The Late Night Mallets will produce just enough sound for you to hear the instrument and the articulation. It's totally acceptable. No one in the next room would hear the music, or at least hear a tiny tiny bit of it. So problem solved, you have a baby sleeping in the next room but you want to practice or you have your baby in a snugly and you want to practice and keep the baby asleep; You can do it.

The next problem was getting rid of the thud we were hearing in the basement. Well actually it was reducing it as much as we could. We really reduced it a lot. I put down two moving blankets and it made a difference, however I said to Carolyn we need more blankets. Carolyn being smarter than me said, 'No we don't, just fold these over. We just need them under the wheels'. So we did that and it looked like this.

Now we had the equivalent to 4 or 5 blankets underneath. The thud was reduced by about 85-90%. It was so quiet that I think most neighbors would be fine with it. With music or a tv on I think they wouldn't notice it.

We talked about a neighbor who still complained and we thought of positioning the vibes over a room that wasn't used a lot. Maybe positioning the vibes over the neighbor below's kitchen? Maybe their bathroom? Maybe their bedroom during the day? You may need to experiment here and maybe even get the neighbor involved.

We were both amazed at how the Late Night Mallets and the moving blankets made a difference. You couldn't play with regular mallets in most apartments, especially late at night. The mallets reduce the sound of the instrument so much that neighbors won't hear the vibes. And the rug takes care of the thud! That means you can practice now all night! No excuses!!!!

Access: Anonymous

Comments

I could have used this when I was younger and living in apartments.

I used to just use super light/soft mallets (which of course felt funny and taught me weird touch) and take the resonators off (which again made me practice articulations inaccurately because the bars were ringing much longer). But, in the end, the notes were in the same place so it was a worthwhile effort in terms of learning tunes, etc.

Best of luck!

Haha, I'm glad that photo of me is getting some mileage. Unfortunately the baby isn't sleeping much in that sling these days. But I have no trouble playing while she is asleep in another room. I do notice the thud sound. Do the blankets below the wheels make a difference in other rooms on the same floor? I'm in a single-story. Then again, my instrument is on carpet anyway. I find the mallets are a little hard on my hands, especially with four mallets. But maybe I am trying to hit to hard to compensate for the low volume.

PS - nice to see Carolyn and that beautiful Century vibe!

I think the blankets will totally make a difference with the thuds on the same floor. You should try it and let us know!

Nice to see you too Tristan! You can keep testing these with a baby and I'll keep testing them in a Brooklyn apartment building, and between all the tests we'll really know how good these are! :)
Tony and I were so excited about the downstairs effect that we didn't listen much on the same floor, but I've been using them with my roommate and he doesn't mind. I'll see what he says about sound difference. I also have a MalletKAt now so it'd be interesting to hear if my roommate notices a difference between me practicing vibes with these and MalletKAT with headphones in...

Hi tony can you share a video of you playing with this new mallet?
I'd like to hear the volume. I'm dealing with this problem right now! (no baby just neighbour)
best
Giovanni

I’m posting a video now.

Tony we should've made another video or at least audio of the sound difference from the floor below with regular mallets vs. these! That should be the next one to share :)

yes!!!