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Hey VW,

Wanted to share a video with some fantastic new mallet prototypes made for me by Mike Balter... these have been inspiring me to play!

Mike & I have been talking about this over the years, but recently he came up with something that really hit it out of the park. Nobody is really making anything like it, as far as I know.

Sorry the audio on here could be better, but you can still hear how good they sound. They are designed to work well with the pickups.



BarryK Wed, 06/25/2014 - 21:01

Hi Steve,

What were you looking for when specifying the mallets? Do different mallets cause the pitch-to-MIDI system to respond differently? Did you specify size and weight of the head, or was it more like, here is the sound I want, size and weight is a secondary factor? It was hard to hear the vibes under the synth. Is that the balance between vibes and synth that you usually use?

Cool that you are excited about the mallets. Have fun with them.


Steve Shapiro Wed, 07/02/2014 - 11:03

In reply to by BarryK

Hi Barry,
I guess I should have posted something acoustic, to really hear these mallets...however, they respond so well with the pickups that I was inspired to use the synth sound. This is a sound that I do mix at a relatively full level, with the vibe providing most of the attack and the sustain greatly enhanced by the midi sound.

As far as developing these mallets, Mike and I have been working on ideas over the years. The goal was to create a full-bodied sounding mallet like the Albrights I often use, but with better balance and playability. He did various prototypes a few years back, but we never came up with a real solution. Then Mike called this year and said he wanted to send me these -- I was knocked out, cause he really did it! And, he was able to take weight out that really helps the tone with pickups. There will probably be two models, a medium-soft and medium hard. These in the video are m-soft, which is why they don't cut through the midi as well. I would probably prefer the m-hard with this sound (but they aren't ready yet). Either way, I am very excited. The quality, feel, and sound are fantastic. Nobody else is making anything like this. Look for them to debut later this year...


Vince H Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:39

In reply to by Steve Shapiro

The midi thing is cool and the inspiration you feel is evident in the performance. It would be good to hear the sound separate from the midi.

By the way--how are you accomplishing midi? What unit are you using to translate the pickup signal, and how portable is it?

Steve Shapiro Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:30

In reply to by Vince H

Using a variety of processing, but among that is a Sonuus midi translator, which is very small.


What instruments does this pertain to?

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