Frequently Asked Questions
What’s a Durometer?
Durometer is a measurement of hardness of material: the higher the number, the greater the hardness.
What durometer of knob head should I order?
MALLET RECOMMENDATIONS ~
In my opinion a well-built soprano marimba sounds best played with 70D mallets, and using harder mallets will make the marimba sound louder but not better.
At Kutsinhira (in Eugene) we like to have a pair of 1.25" 70D and a pair of 1" 70D available for each soprano.
For each tenor, we like to have a harder pair (40–60D) for the high end or faster, more complex parts, and a softer pair (30D or Soft Tenor) for the low end or banging out chords. We use the Bass/Bari (2") mallets on both the bass and the baritone, except for one player who prefers to use the "Man Knobs" (2.5") on the bass.
That said there are other bands/communities with distinctly different preferences using primarily 1.5" knobs, in hardness of up to 80 and even 90 Durometers.
What type of wood should I order?
WOOD SELECTION FOR MALLETS ~
HICKORY: For most marimba mallets these days, this is my default wood of choice. Hickory is hard, a bit heavy, and the strongest, least breakable option. This is particularly important in mallets with heads at 70 Durometers or higher, or for players with the unfortunate habit of clicking their sticks together to keep time (this last voids all warranties against shaft breakage).
BIRCH: Birch is lighter and softer than hickory. Lighter may be good for you if you have trouble with heavier mallets or experience forearm fatigue. Softer means it is more breakable than hickory, but it also transmits less shock from key to hand than hickory. This last makes birch desirable for players with CT symptoms, although a looser grip technique would be the first thing to try.
CHERRY, WALNUT: Gratuitous cuteness.
What choices of mallets do I have, and what are their specifications?
MARIMBAWORKS MALLETS ~
The standard Marimbaworks line of mallets includes soprano and tenor mallets with urethane heads in 1" and 1.25" sizes. Shafts are finished with two coats of water-based Varathane; overall length tip-to-tip is 12-1/4".
The "Soft Tenor" mallets feature the same specs as above, but with a 1-1/2" natural gum rubber head (bouncy and loud).
The "SS" line has slightly different specifications, with 1-1/2" urethane heads, unfinished hickory shafts, and a 12-5/8" tip-to-tip length.
The Bass and Bass/Bari mallets have rubber heads, 5/8" aluminum shafts, and foam handles.
Why is the "SS Line" different?
Stacey Sabella of Port Townsend made this line of mallets for a number of years. When she stopped making them several years ago, she asked me to make mallets matching her specifications so that she could refer her ongoing customers to another source, hence the mallets designated "SS".
The one external change I made in her original design was to remove the wooden tip which protruded from the knob end, in order to ensure that marimba keys would not be exposed to denting.
What about shipping costs?
Click here to read about Marimbaworks Shipping Prices and Policy.