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Dear everybody,

First of all, thank you all for contributing to this wonderful site! I´m new here, looking forward for exchange experiences and inspiration in the years to come.

My question for you today is the following:
I´m looking for a very light vibraphone for traveling, also by plane. At the moment, I have a musser M-48, and although I love it´s sound, I spend too much time mounting and unmounting it, and after every gig, I´m exsausted, not from the playing, but from carrying. If I want to take it on a plane, I´d have to pay so much overweight, not to mention the carrying..

So, do any of you have a suggestions on an acoustic Vibraphone with motor, that´s light enought to bring on a plane without paying too much overweight? It also has to be easy to mount/unmount. I guess there aren´t any real good alternatives to this, and that I might have to do some serious compromizes, concerning for instance the sound.

Some of the old Deagans look light, and I guess I´ll love their sound, but I fear they wouldn´t make on the hard touring road..

Thank you for checking in, I do apprechiate any answers.

All the best to you all,

Karl Ivar Refseth (Berlin)


Karl Ivar Fri, 02/26/2010 - 17:33

In reply to by tonymiceli

Thanks, Tony! I´ve considered that, but I´d like to use a normal acoustic vibraphone. I also use bowing and exstended techniques from time to time, so a mallet-cat won´t do, unfortunately. But thanks, anyway!

Karl Ivar

tonymiceli Fri, 02/26/2010 - 22:17

In reply to by Karl Ivar

can you deal with the small bars. ed mann does and likes it. I can't deal with that.

Also the m-55 is MUCH easier IMHO to move around and set up then the 48. Guys on the site differ with me, but I stand by that.

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

John Keene Sat, 02/27/2010 - 04:15

In reply to by tonymiceli

If I recall correctly, Ed specifically mentioned that pickups would be needed to get the sound he would want in a small bar instrument, whereas Karl specifically wants an acoustic instrument. For flight purposes, I don't know if there is a better deal than the M48 due to the frame breaking down into two lighter-weight pieces.

Gary Burton Sat, 02/27/2010 - 08:49

Karl, You've described my dream vibraphone....which doesn't exist. Believe me, with all the traveling I have done over the years, I always wished for something lighter and smaller, that still sounded good acoustically. My ultimate solution is the M-48 (I made two prototype models in the 80's before Musser started making them for general sale). I reduced as much of the hardware size as I could (the resonators), broke things down into more pieces so they could be packed into smaller cases to pass airline limits, and as you say, it is still cumbersome to set up and a bit too heavy to carry comfortably. I had another idea years ago, to make the resonators and legs of the instrument out of one of the new lightweight metals (titanium, molybdenum, etc), that could conceivably reduce the weight by a third. After researching available metals, tubing and such, I lost interest, and I worried that a frame made from such materials might end up feeling less solid. Maybe it would work, but it would also be quite expensive. I suppose if I was just beginning my career now, I would be pursuing this possibility more earnestly. Remember, I started out touring with a Musser Century in 1963: on the road for 312 days that year with five cases totaling 260 pounds! It was the only full-size keyboard instrument Musser made then. In 1964, I convinced them to make the M-55, a larger version of their One-Niter, so I could get more portability and still have a professional sound. I came up with the design for the M-48 when automobiles started getting smaller and I could no longer get the M-55 cases into taxis. If you come up with something better, let me know, I'll be the first in line to give it a try. (By the way, I use a conventional airline carry-on bag to carry my bars, may as well have at least one case with wheels on it). - Gary B.

vibraman Sun, 02/28/2010 - 03:16

In reply to by Gary Burton

i am no manufactarer, but beside music riding road bike is a big hobby of me. bikes have to be very light and stiff, so they use carbon instead of metal. there are bikes fully functional which will be 3,5 kg light!!! (of course they are very very expensive) but i still think it would be a good solution for the frame and all parts of the vibes, which are metal. sure the bars will remain. but using carbon should should reduce the weight to maximum. but it seems the material is too expensive, although with bikes they got pretty cheap over the last 2 years. i spoke with nico about that, but he was not too impressed by my revolutionary idea :). i still think someone should give it a try. i also think for drums hardware it would be perfect.

i mean carbon is the most light material compared to metal wich nearly the same properties...there must be a way to get that heavy weight down!


toddc Mon, 03/01/2010 - 00:22

My brother built an experimental airplane out of foam core and fiberglass.
Its incredibly strong and light weight.

I bet with the right prodding he would build a vibraphone frame.
Not sure how to tackle the resonators.

tonymiceli Mon, 03/01/2010 - 00:32

In reply to by toddc

tell me more about your family. you guys seem pretty incredible. that plane looks amazing.

would he REALLY build a light weight frame?

if HE DID, and HE LENT IT TO ME, I WOULD DRIVE OUT THERE, I WOULD BRING IT BACK TO PHILLY AND SHOOT VIDEO AND PUBLICIZE IT. i would love it if your brother showed all the vibe makers where it's at!!!!

with the right prodding, what does he need? oh man talk him into it!!

i bet some of the heavy cats (like the one below this post) would buy this frame. that would mean we could transport it on a plane if it was that cheap. oh man!!

(take that nico!!!! :-))

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

toddc Mon, 03/01/2010 - 00:56

In reply to by tonymiceli

We've been talking about it because I was so ticked that you can't find a vibraphone for less than 2K.
The bars are tricky. The cost of metal is volatile.
But we may be able to do the frame and resonators.
Your enthusiasm may be just enough of a catalyst to get this going.

No promises....

tonymiceli Mon, 03/01/2010 - 11:08

In reply to by toddc

just build the frame so it fits musser bars. we ALL have mussers here in the states.

if it was a good frame, we'd push it and sell it in the vibe store. man under 2k????

wow the light vibe frame race is on!!!!

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

tonymiceli Sun, 04/10/2011 - 21:40

In reply to by xebo

i think the best option is the m48. it packs up into 2 suitcase size cases. it's not that much extra. don't put the bars in luggage, get a small suitcase and carry them on!!!

this is all according to gary b, i'm in the process now of getting my m48 restored (indiana glen) and then i'll get the cases.

i wonder who's going to make the first really lightweight portable instrument. my argument is the same:

yep, not many professional vibe players.
however students go watch pros play and then buy what they're playing.
which is probably why m-55 is a popular instrument.

the m-48 is incredibly portable. i never believed it before but after talking with gary AND seeing this photo, this is an incredibly portable instrument.

as for getting worn out setting up and packing up, as mentioned above, i think gary still sets up his own instrument. MAN IF HE DOES IT THEN THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR ANY OF US!!!! :-)

nico Mon, 03/01/2010 - 03:17

In reply to by tonymiceli

Get me 5 buyers, and I'll do it.
Price range probably starting at 6K (euros). This would never cover the initial development costs, but since every vibist wants this, I should sell hundreds, so in the end the development costs would be covered, right?

Am I serious? If there are 5 garantueed buyers, I am.
5 buyers is what I definitelly need to get starting.
We have started some on this route already last year, but put it into the fridge.
Basically: "put your money where your mouth is" ;-)


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vibraman Mon, 03/01/2010 - 05:15

In reply to by nico

well you should have said that before ibought my musser some years ago :)
i paid like 4000 with cases for a used m55, 2000 € more for a new one would have been no problem.

Marie-Noëlle Mon, 03/01/2010 - 16:09

In reply to by David Friedman


David Friedman Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:15

In reply to by vibraman

Not really, but I bet you wouldn't have problems selling it at a decent price here in Europe.
One of my students just bought a used Musser pro and people are constantly me asking me about buying or selling Mussers.

tonymiceli Mon, 03/01/2010 - 11:07

In reply to by nico

give us the specs first. i'm seriously thinking of being person number one. although i'd have to take a loan out, i would do it to get the ball rolling.

it has to be light and easy to move around.

meanwhile, toddc, get your bro' to do this. then we'll have some competition!!!

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

tonymiceli Mon, 03/01/2010 - 14:12

In reply to by toddc

man if you can make a good frame for under 2 grand. i think you win!!

my 2 cents. make it for graduated musser bars.

i hate to butt heads with ed, but i would dread playing a one nighter, or small bars. everybody should chime in though.

but if you made the ultimate frame for an affordable price, i bet a lot of the pros on this site would be on it.

just make it assemble very very quickly.

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

edmann Mon, 03/01/2010 - 14:32

In reply to by tonymiceli

Hi Tony -

just to be clear, I am saying of the vibes that I own, the 1-niter is closest to the easily shippable and shlep-able instrument. If it were a new design, I would definitely encourage graduated bars at the low end. Me personally - M55 bars are too big and make no diff with re to pickups, I only work with pickups though. I looked that the Majestic instruments, that is interesting, they get larger at the bottom, but not nearly a vast as those on an M-55 (gag/jab each one requires it's own area code :0). But seriously tribe, due to weight and size issues, I am not even sure if I would encourage Deagan graduated bar sizes for this kind of ultra-traveler vibraphone. I think if M55 bar sizes were used, you would not really acheive that much in terms of size and weight, as the frame and leg parts are the same as the 1-niter, which is so damn lite I am astonished everytime I pick it up. I think that I read Nico saying that there is not that much weight in the bars...? anyway you can butt heads with me any day it is not personal and I do not mind being challenged, at all.

One Love


nico Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:42

In reply to by tonymiceli

For me it is more interesting if we'd make a complete vibe, at least to start with. Development is expensive, and by doing a complete vibe it is the best way to finance it. So sell the musser, or change 5 initial buyers to 15 if we do the frames only.

A professional made frame under 2K is unlikely. The market is too small for that so it will be difficult to have the development costs covered.
BTW, for me this is not a competition. If any one else is doing this too, I'm fine,

Plan is to start with a gigVibe (or M55) style vibe, so with a one piece keybed. Modular architecture, with a base price for a basic instrument and than add features like the pickups, HDS, type of motor system, etc. I'm looking into the possibilities for a traveller model, but I have really strong doubts in getting such a model stable.

@Ed. Pretty sure you meant the same as me, but to be sure: I mentioned the weight difference between graduate width and narrow bars isn't that much. In both cases it is the bars that have the weight that can't be reduced (without affecting sound).

Ergo: it is either 5 garantueed initial buyers if we do the complete vibes first, or 15 garantueed initial buyers if we do the frames first.
Anyone yet?


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vibraman Tue, 03/02/2010 - 03:01

In reply to by nico

nico, you want me to sell my 2 vibes (musser m55 + studio 49) otherwise i can´t afford 6000€, watching the site everyday without any chance to play gigs or practice, because no more vibes to play on and wait 6 months or more for the development of my dream vibes?

i mean what should i do in the meantime? collecting stamps?

don´t take that too serious :)

it´s just the problem...most of us don´t have 6000 € we have to sell other instruments to afford a new one. so we cant promise to buy a new one, since it is out for sell and we sold our old ones. personally i use the 2 vibes mostley because of the weight. i got one for practice at home and one at the music shool, which i use for gigs mostley. i live on the 4th floor and to leave the vibes in the cases in the basement after a gig is really nice. i could live with only one vibe if it would sound like the musser and has the same features (easy setup) but has much less weight! so that i can carry it to the 4th floor till i am 80 years old by my own!

nico Tue, 03/02/2010 - 07:19

In reply to by vibraman

A wise man explained to me a couple of years ago: "It's your problem to find the solutions when making your instruments. Let the customer then have the problem to finding the solutions to afford them".

The price we're charging for our products is a fair prices, based on material, development costs,labour and a small bit of profit (I don't drive a mercedes yet, and don't even own a vibe, so profit isn't as high as it should be).
Value of a handcrafted product is based on the above, while the added profit is based on how valuable a product in the market is. In other words, 2k for a frame is an illusion, I wish it was possible, and it is possible if I only charge material. But then I'm out of business after the first frame.

I was wondering: If I buy a CD, why do I have to pay $10-15, while the material costs are only $1 at most, and while every CD is just a copy of a master CD.
Great idea: just lower the CDprices to $2, which is still double the material costs, and which is well affordable for anyone. Pretty sure lots of people will buy the CD.

Nonsense, right?!? We all know why the CD costs what it costs.
Now copy and paste this to manufacturing, and try to imagine why it is not always possible to manufacture something for a price that a customer rather wants to pay, which naturally is always as low as possible.

A bit cynical but true, haha,

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John Keene Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:06

In reply to by nico

In addition to everything Nico has said, I think there is another speculative issue as well. I bought a Deagan Electravibe back in 1976, and the bottom line for me was that I really didn't enjoy playing it at all. There wasn't anything wrong with it, and despite being clumsy to haul I didn't find moving it to be that big of an issue. It was my dream vibe for about a minute, then it was a drag to play because it never felt right. From a keyboard player standpoint, it was like trying to play grand piano on a Yamaha DX7 keyboard - the sound was there, but the feel was lost.

I'll agree with Ed to the extent that playing four mallets isn't a problem with some practice, but I wonder how many people are actually going to be satisfied with that.

edmann Wed, 03/03/2010 - 13:48

In reply to by John Keene

I agree w/you John. the bars on Deagan's electra were way too small, even for me. My one nighter I can play because I have had years of practice playing the Musser kelon (same bar sizes)on your with FZ. But - the Dream vibe? I would make the bars graduated for sure and of a size that is comfortable with practice. The Deagan bar sizes are great, I think they are even a but wider than musser at the top end (could be wrong). Maybe for the lower octave the size (width) should be in between that of a one-niter and an M-55.?

Cost world thinking is very deceptive. We all suffer from tunnel wisdom because we have a hard time finding or even pursuing the right question.

Regarding the 2$ CD:
Some people can't even give away the CD because the CD is not the product.
As in:
"If you think the drummers job is to keep time try buying a watch and see how that works for ya." - Todd Canedy

There is a solution to the 2K frame.
We just have to be diligent and persitant.
So I'll peristantly nag about it and some engineering genius will diligently pursue the solution:)


nico Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:35

In reply to by toddc

Not really true.

Manufacturers don't produce stuff below their manufacturing costs. And if there are no customers willing to pay that lowest possible price any "decent" manufacturer is able to make/sell it for, the manufacturer will take it off the market. You're right if you mean the extra profit/value above the manufacturing costs is determined by the customer. You're also right if by what you're saying means a product doesn't sell if the customer isn't willing to pay that amount for it, and as such is taken off of the market.

There sometimes is also a tunnel vision from the customers' viewpoint. Material costs are only a small part of the whole price setting. How come people do understand that a CD has to cost $10-15 because the musician has created something on that CD, yet do not always understand that a touchable product, which many times is only created with a lot of higher costs than a CD recording, also have a minimum price it can be manufactured for?

Regarding the 2$ CD:
Some people can't even give away the CD because the CD is not the product.
As in:
"If you think the drummers job is to keep time try buying a watch and see how that works for ya." - Todd Caned

Exactly my point! Glad you understood.
The material is not the product, the total package is, and specially when looking at products, this is overlooked many times. Bars aren't just a piece of aluminum. They aren't created for free by gnomes or elves: it takes knowledge to produce them. Or even building frames: it's not just throwing some resin and carbon fibre in a bucket, mix it thoroughly, and you're having a frame. It's pretty much more, where the actual building is only the last part of it.
And same as for recordings on a CD, this is what is to be paid for.

Ofcourse an option is to make a kind of open-source-ish vibe, and have the customer just donate what it is worth for him. But I have a feeling that this won't work out.

BTW, not the proper channel here to discuss this item and in fact I shouldn't discuss it at all. But, I'm carried away too much, haha.

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toddc Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:51

In reply to by nico

Please accept my apologies if I've offended you in any way.
Its obvious your passion drives you on this.
I look at your instruments and dream about owning them.
You are a true craftsman.
Both you and your products are held in the highest esteem.

You're right we should discuss this elsewhere.
I would love to continue the discussion if possible.

Again, please accept my apology.

Todd Canedy

nico Tue, 03/02/2010 - 12:29

In reply to by toddc

No need to apologize for your opinions, I wasn't offended in any way. The only thing I tried to do was to show my point that there is no difference between the product of a musician and the product of a manufacturer.

I hope I didn't look grumpy ??? At least I tried not to.

I'm bad in online discussions, I'm too pigheaded I guess.

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tonymiceli Tue, 03/02/2010 - 12:45

In reply to by toddc

this is what i don't get.

first off the money from the 15 dollar cd goes to the fuckin greedy record company! a cd should cost 7 bucks, esp if it costs 1 to make.

ok..... onward

we should be able to make a frame that costs under 2 grand. the only problem are the resonators and the pedal. man make the frame and we'll figure out the bars.

i bet if your bro made the frame, a company, would buy it, just like they did with the piper vibes or gary's traveller.

i get it, the frame is under 2 grand but the bars will cost another 2 grand.

but i have enough sets, i need a light portable frame. save money on the plane if i want to bring it, etc. etc.

if your bro can make an f-n plane that's light, then he can make the frame.

nico, yeah i get it about the money. but musser sells a lot of m-55's because they sound good and they're very portable. your bars are the best i've ever heard, bar (ha ha) none. but an m-55 is the complete package for me when i consider working.. and if someone could make a design and knock a grand off that m-55 this is getting really good.

when i get rich playing the vibes, i'll have your whole line of vibes in my house!!!

actually, my fantasy is to get the blue bars and resonators for my m-55!!!

nico's axe with the blue bars was heaven. it sounded like the most beautiful instrument i've ever played. so let me go on record about that.

but why there's not a cheap and light frame i'll never understand. well i do, according to nico it's because we won't spend the money. and there's not enough of us.

so, let todd's bro take on the challenge. then we buy our axes from nico, musser, yamaha, wherever, and then buy this cheap portable frame. leave that packed up and then travel with the frame!!

now the other site of this, is. most pros i know have more than one instrument. so we are paying money for something.

not counting nico's axe, i have 3 mussers and a mallet kat. so maybe we do spend money, but we need portability on the scale of an m-55 which no one will compete with.

ok just my 2 cents for the sake of conversation and the future of the vibraphone!!

Tony Miceli (new)
s k y p e: tjazzvibe

edmann Tue, 03/02/2010 - 09:37

In reply to by nico

Hi Nico

I understand why you say bar sizes cannot be reduced w/o affecting the sound for an all-acoustic axe. What would you say about the sound of reduced bar sizes that are destined for pickups only? You know what I say...but I am curious what you say.



nico Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:05

In reply to by edmann

I agree with you here. I've done it in the past with a small Deagan 510 with really narrow bars. Added the pickups which result a perfect small gigging instrument. Weight was still huge tho, as we used the regular frame and keybed at that time ( I think there is a photo here somewhere of that instrument).

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edmann Wed, 03/03/2010 - 13:40

In reply to by nico

I am happy to hear that our experiences are the same, Nico. The prohibitive aspect of my Deagan graduated bar vibes is the weight of the frame (heavy wood) and legs (steel) and that the instrument will not come apart into halves. I think that with the type of frame you design with no extra space on the ends, even if with simple aluminum tube, the vibe would be small enough and light enough to fly as baggage, that is the key (for me). Thank you!

edmann Mon, 03/01/2010 - 09:46

Karl, maybe you should look at the thread on Nico's new motor system that developed into a lot of back and forth on this subject. The easiest vibraphone that I own that gets close to reasonable for travel is a 1973 Musser 1-niter, because of it's very light weight and very small size. I never remove the bars, and I can literally put this thing under my arm and walk down the block or wherever. The aluminum square tube used for the frame is very light, as are the resonators. I have used this instrument acoustically w/mics and in small venues/stages with non-electric bands it has worked out fine. Rumor has it that Stefon Harris used 1-niters for trips to Europe earlier on in his career. If you are a 2 mallet player who uses med-hard/hard mallets, this axe is (IMO) absolutely fine as-is, you will project like Lionel Hampton. 4 mallets with comping - you need pickups. I assume the sound would be great as I have a Musser small bar kelon marimba with pickups and that sounds great. If anyone were to manufacture such as axe and I had design input, I would change the one-size bars on a 1-niter to the next increment larger at about middle C(3), and take it down to E2 which of course every modern vibraphone should have. With pickups, you do not need the resonators. There are even ways of easily repairing a broken pickup right on the gig, should something happen. However if the pickups are done the right way, you should have no problems. I have a Deagan portable axe with pickups, have only lost (1) in 31 years of heavy use, and that incident would not have happened if I had been there to intervene, so - no pickups lost in normal use or playing, or moving on the Deagan. The Deagan's downfall for traveling is the weight of the frame and legs, and the size, in that order.

Anyway - the Dream Vibe - my opinion, best and easiest if the bars never come off and pickups are standard. I have flown the one-niter in the past (it is small enough) and paid oversize but it was worth it. However, if the frame folded and unhooked in the middle, and had a 2-part damper bar and 2-part pedal assembly, the size could be brought down to regular suitcase specs and (I think) it could all be fit into 2 cases, sans resonators.

KAT notes: Because I have to be portable and available at non-local Folk Festivals (that is really where you get your ass kicked, all those mandolin players just running free) I have recently purchased a Mallet Kat 2 octave w/ a 1-octave expander. With this I can fly easily, run from stage to stage, setup is fast, and I get to play with ensembles that I normally would not be able to. It all fits into a small easy case, with it's pedals and synth sound source. It is not a vibraphone, but I would rather be able to perform than not perform at all. No one has ever complained about samples/synth mixed in with the voices and string instruments, etc. With new laptop based samplers such as Kontact, and using features built into the Kat (it is really smart), you could get a realistic feeling vibraphone sound and also have bowed (or any other) sounds available immediately by using a mute technique on the Kat.

Food for thought. Thanks to Marie for keeping me posted! Thanks Nico for entertaining the idea. Thanks Tony for this forum.

and thanks for reading


toddc Tue, 03/02/2010 - 21:07

This is a request for specifications.

If you have a request for this light weight frame please email me via my profile.
We don't care how rediculous you think the request may be we want to hear about it.

The more specific the request the better.
ex. It should weigh less than 50 lbs. as opposed to it should be really light.

We're excited about this but without your input we would just be building a possibly useless thing.

Todd Canedy

toddc Wed, 03/03/2010 - 10:10

In reply to by tonymiceli

Its easier for me to manage project communications in Outlook. So email works best for me. Also if I can't get online for some reason I don't have access to information I need.
It's also easier to get email to a database as opposed to the copy and paste process I'd have to go through from an online forum.

But if you would like a new area for this project I'm fine with it. Open discussion is great too :)


Karl Ivar Thu, 04/29/2010 - 09:04

Dear everybody,

thank you very much for great comments and ideas. Also funny with the manufacturing cocts discussion in the middle of it... :) Anyway, it´s very clear that it still is a lot of research to be done here, and I´m very happy to have this forum, so we can exchange our ideas in order to reach our common goal much quicker.

It´s the two factors- weight v.s. sound.

If we like to fly with our instruments, it´s in most cases either overweight, or no single cases over 20kg. Anyway, it still is a lot to carry in adition to the regular luggage.

If I understand it right, many of you are using pickups to compensate for a more narrow sound of more lightweight models. In my acoustic jazz-world, I find the sound of a full sized 100% acoustic modell much better than a sound supported by pickups. –But maybe it´s the best compromise at the moment? However, using a pickup, also demands an amp, and for some, also proper signal processing equipment, which also may cost some weight, and if not, loooots of experimenting, and also money…. Anyway- I guess borrowing an amp from venues should be possible, but then, you also never know how your sound will be.

At the moment, I´m concidering investing in a light weight traveling modell, maybe Nicos option. This means saving money for another year or more... In the meantime, I´ll stay with my M48, but exchange the cases with bags, in order to reduce weight. (I already got a bag for my bars from Percussion Bags (Markus Heske), and I´m very happy with this.). Although the M48 takes long time to mount/unmount, it´s a great that it fits into any car, and easily can be brought on the train, and also (believe it or not) the bicycle. Thanks, Gary!! It´s also a trick to raise your band members to help mounting/unmounting the M48- I´m working on it.. Regarding flights, I´ll either borrow vibes for these ocations, or simply skip the gig, if the overweight isn´t payable, awaiting the light weight modell….

I´d like to create to new posts in order to try to find the best possible traveling sollution, before we all are millionares: ☺☺
-”The frame share collective” -Would love to hear your opinions here.
-”How do you travel?” I´m very curious to hear about how you guys travel with your equipment, and hope all the different sollutions and ideas can contribute to better traveling conditions for all of us.

All the best to you all!!!!

Karl Ivar

norbert Wed, 03/09/2011 - 03:36

The Canedy plane is amazing
If I see this & think "vibes/marimba", what comes to mind is of course the space-ship-like 4-oct midi marimba by Yamaha apparently made for and played only by Sinske (Shinsuke Ishihara)
Somewhere at min 2:40 U can see the thing...[here]

Something completely different:
-Jim McCarthy looks like he's not around VW...
I wonder, if anybody knows/tried or bought these promising do-it-yourself kits.
"Vibraphone, Marimba and Xylophone Building E-Books from Jim McCarthy"

mikepinto Sat, 05/01/2010 - 09:47

just to keep the convo rolling...

at the last jam session I went to I was just thinking that maybe I should just get some smaller set like the one nighter or some old jenco or something specifically for jam sessions. I'd be able to do more of them and they might be more fun since it wouldn't involve lugging the regular size instrument around.


Steve Shapiro Sun, 04/10/2011 - 22:59

Was thinking a lot about this, due to all the great recent info about the Carbonvibe, which I had been anxiously awaiting. This instrument looks amazing, and Nico and his company did an incredible job. But for me, I don't think it is going to be the ultra transportable vibe I have been waiting for. So figured that I'd try to come up with some ideas for what that actually is.

Must haves:
1. full-size, great sounding bars
2. real resonators & fans
3. strong, sturdy frame that packs as small and light as possible
4. the bars must come off, because just by themselves, they are already too heavy!
5. everything must work all the time! - like motors and damper pedals, regardless of how fast you gotta set-up, or how strange the voltage in the club is.

I think the YV-3710 & M48 are the only things that come close right now. But both are pretty heavy, and come apart into too many small parts.

Since I drag around a YV-3710, thought I would start with what I feel are its deficits:

1. Although the frame is professional and sturdy, it is way too heavy. Same for the resonators. There's gotta be a lighter material, that doesn't costs a fortune...?
2. The pedal crossbar has a ridiculous clamp thing that attaches the sections - this is cumbersome, and easy to put together the wrong way which means you need to take the frame apart again. Ugh!
3. The whole damper bar comes out, and needs to be properly set with a giant spring thing that is pretty delicate. Right now, mine is broken.
4. The whole motor comes off and needs to be properly installed each time, then attached to the fan pulleys with geared belts. These can be hard to get on, and will fall off if things aren't perfectly straight. Oy!

Wish list:
1. A frame keybed that breaks into 3 sections, instead of 4 like the YV3710. The center section should have an entirely enclosed pedal and motor mechanism. No springs or pulleys - the resonator fan ends simply could have a tip that inserts into a sealed gear mechanism, which works right every time. Even better, there could be a 3-prong standard power plug connector right on the end of the frame. No external transformers.
2. If the footpedal crossbar folds down, it must go right back together - like with a hinge and a sleeve. It needs to take 2 seconds to assemble, not 5 minutes.
3. It must use lightweight parts throughout. Wood and steel are old materials. I want new materials.
4. It needs elegant, scaled-down design. No bells and whistles, just great sound and simple transportability.
5. Price: The YV3710 is around $3500 street, I think. This hypothetical instrument would sell for under $4500 US.

How many people would buy this instrument? Hmm... David, do you think Yamaha would check out these comments? I feel like maybe they are the only ones who might be able to hit that price point.