Into the vibe

vBeam me up Scotty

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Some know that from origin I am a Hammond organ player. And with Hammond comes Leslie, the rotor amplifier, where the sound is thrown into the room thru a rotating drum or horn. 

To get a more dramatic effect, you switch constantly between a slow and fast rotating horn, where the (de-)accelleration is what is giving you the thrills.

The "leslie"-effect is very close to the vibrato effect of the vibraphone. 

So when I started building vibraphones, I searched for a way to get this effect built in. And having a programmable motor system, I was able to do this. 

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pickup system

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the vibraphone pickups

It's already more than 10 years or so that we produce an audio pickup system for vibraphones, of which since 2012 also midi (see earlier articles). What are the pros and cons of the pickups compared to miking a vibe?

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Travelling to the Narada, the carbonVibe

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When you are developing vibraphones on an innovative way we do, you get questions, remarks and suggestions. There was one suggestion or question I got from almost every vibe player I talked with:

Can you make a carbonfiber frame? They make bicycles from it so why not vibraphones.

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Models

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I try to listen as much as I can to vibists. I learn a lot from what's in their heads and how they see things.
Sometimes I hear this remark: 

Why do you have so many models, and why do you make so many changes all the time?

Do we have so many models? Do I make so many changes?

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Vizzion Narada

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1921,  The vibraphone comes to life.

A new instrument not seen before, with a new sound and new musical possibilities.
Players embrace the new instrument and start to express their new found identity. The instrument becomes a revolution in its first decades and finds its major use in jazz. 

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All under the hood

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When you're a vibist in an orchestra, you'll find these issues coming up frequently:

  • The composers/arrangers don't always have any notice about the ranges of a vibraphone
  • The composers/arrangers don't always realize you don' t always have the entire range of mallet instruments available
  • It mostly is pretty  difficult to match and be in tune with the flutes

 

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bar tuning

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Ofcourse the main part in a vibraphone, and as this determines for the major part the quality of the instrument, are the bars. In general, manufacturers know how to tune bars. Some tune accurate, some tune a bit less accurate. Many of the manufacturers however are using the same dimensions as their competitors, and using the same tuning scheme being tuning the fundamental and up to a certain bar, also a 1st overtone (double octave).

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ergonomics

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"Can' t you make a more lightweight vibraphone?"

This is my most heard comment from vibists. The reason is that vibists suffer from back problems. 
I have looked into this matter a lot, and came to another conclusion than what you would expect: 
 it' s not really the carrying of the weight of the instrument alone that makes your back hurt.

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Leidsevaart 227
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NL

email: vibraphones@vanderplastal.com

 

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