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I'm looking for suggestions regarding vibe mallets. Been using older sets of Malletech DF16's and DF12's for quite a while. I've recently tried Vic Firth M38's (Saindon), Innovative Percussion DF30's and DF30L's and Balter TM 46R's. None of which feel or sound exactly right to me. What I'm in search of are mallets the have the weight of the Saindon M38's, the tone (core hardness and yarn wrap) somewhere in between the IP DF30's and my old Malletech DF12's?

Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated! No stores in my area stock mallets of this type and not being able to try before you buy can get a bit costly!



Anecdote Wed, 11/04/2015 - 12:23

In reply to by tonymiceli

Yes! The Saindon mallets are great, but not bright enough (at least the ones I have). You really have to hammer for a sharper clear tone. Guess they could brake in with a ton of playing, but...! The Friedman DF30's and especially the 30L's sound fantastic, but are both just too light.

rogersvibes Wed, 11/04/2015 - 14:52

In reply to by Anecdote

You might try the Malletech ELS16 Ed Smith mallets (light blue). I have used these for a while now, and I believe Behn has started using them recently. They have a similar tone as the Friedman's, but are quite a bit heavier, yet not so heavy as the Saindons.

I've actually moved away from them recently in favour of the lighter Mainieri mallets that Malletech makes, but they are still great mallets and sound like what you are looking.

Anecdote Thu, 11/12/2015 - 21:46

In reply to by rogersvibes

Just received a set of Malletech ELS 16's! First, it's wonderful that they're sold as a match set! Second, the weight is excellent - a bit heavier than the old Friedman's! And third, the tone pretty damn nice right out of the bag! Going to be interesting to hear what they'll sound like when broken in. Thanks for the suggestion!

Steve Shapiro Wed, 11/04/2015 - 20:28

Maybe you would like the Balter 34R? Mike did a great job of making these mallets sound exactly like the Albright Med-Hard, with very full tone and the perfect amount of bite to cut through a band without having to hit too hard. Even better, they are lighter than Albrights, which tend to be top-heavy. They give the tone of heavier mallets, but are light and balanced enough for 4-mallet playing. I've used DF-16s in the past. The 34-R's have that kind of clarity, but with a larger head/fatter tone.

Michael DuBick Wed, 11/04/2015 - 21:00

For many years, I used Albright medium soft mallets exclusively, which I bought first at Drummer's World in NYC (now only an on-line retailer) and had then had them rewrapped by Susan Bridwell, Fred Albright's granddaughter who inherited the craft. Several years ago, she took a leave of absence from producing mallets and I tried a bunch of alternatives: Mike Balter's 32R, Vic Firth's M36 (Stefon Harris model), Vic Firth's M38 (Saindon model), always looking for the right combination of a fat sound plus a good bite, particularly for staccato notes. None of them really fit the bill, so I went back to my Albright mallets, especially when Susan started making them again. And then a couple of years ago, because of personnel changes in my group, The Brooklyn Jazz Collective, I needed to do more four mallet playing and started using Mike Balter's M49 (Joe Locke Deep Tone) and M48 (Joe Locke Crossover) mallets which work well in a lot of situations. But I still keep coming back to the Albright medium soft and medium hard. Funny thing about mallets, you get an idea of a certain sound you want to get out of the instrument and search forever for the right tool to achieve it. Everyone is different and, I suspect, we are all trying to achieve that sound which sounds personally right. So, keep on searching. And when you find that mallet you're comfortable with, stay with it.


tonymiceli Thu, 11/05/2015 - 19:09

and i will plug my balter 46rs hopefully you're going to pasic because then you can hit all the booths and try out all the mallets!