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Hey y'all, so I recently bought a 76' M55. The guy who owned it before me bought it from Musser and it never left his basement. It's in almost perfect condition and I'm hoping to keep it that way. I'll be packing up and moving the instrument 4-5 times a week and I'm wondering what frame updates I should do? I've got a set of Beiner Bags on the way, but should I be doing anything else to make setting up/tearing down less of a headache? Thanks!


Randy_Sutin Thu, 04/25/2019 - 14:25

Don't fix it.

That frame, with wear, will start to wobble a tad. It will also start to rattle (especially the little card table style braces that hold the outer legs in place until you put the cross bar in. When you have those issues, then cross the bridge.

For now, you have the most easily set up and portable AND reliable frame they ever made. Once they added the cross bars, it was more sturdy, but also heavier and also harder to set up. I say either leave it alone or sell it to me and go buy an Omega frame to have a silent, light and quickly set up frame. :)

It's by far the least headachy frame I've ever known.

allyman Mon, 04/29/2019 - 16:16

In reply to by Randy_Sutin

I had the 76 M55. Beautiful condition instrument. But the noise from a variety of sources just freaking drove me crazy. So I bit the bullet and put it up for sale. I was a bit sad to give up on the "vintage" instrument but happy to move on to one that sounds beautiful and is quiet. That'd be the Omega. That arrived this past week. :)

wyndorps Sat, 04/27/2019 - 10:40

Alternative proposal:
Build (not so difficult if you have a little manual skill) or get one of the much easier to transport frame variants for the many weekly transports. It also spares your back - I did that much too late.

Variant V2 is extremely stable and suitable for fast and frequent transport, lighter than the original frame.

Varainte V4 is extremely lightweight and can be set up very quickly in conjunction with my new tube holder concept.

Keep the original frame for value retention at home.

Concept videos:

pcheckel Sat, 04/27/2019 - 10:44

There are a lot of comments (and opinions) about this on this forum - many made by Nico years ago. I think the top three bubbled up to: (1) braces (2) gel pad dampener (3) upgraded casters.

(1) braces - I have added custom braces that I bought used from Arthur Lipner, but were originally made by...I can't remember! Piper maybe? Anybody know?
(2) The Vanderplas gel pad is a definite improvement
(3) I purchased really nice upgraded casters that have really helped with stability - and also added a little height, which I liked. I bought the casters from Fall Creek Marimbas back when Bill Youhass was running it. I know you can get the gel pad there, but I don't see the casters.

I'll try to post a photo - can't seem to figure that out at the moment...

Good luck - it's definitely a constant struggle to keep the M55 stable and quiet!

tonymiceli Mon, 04/29/2019 - 08:37

In reply to by pcheckel

yes, if you're not a subscriber then put the photos in dropbox and link to them. :-)

post the link here, that should work.

Adam Kantz Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:35

Thanks for the help! I've just been trying to chase down any weird rattles and frame noise that I've noticed since I've gotten the instrument. The upper manual bar cord still had the plastic spacers from Musser that were rattling when playing the middle of the instrument. So removing them and adjusting the chord's tension helped a lot. I added moleskin between the frame and the resonators on the top end, as well as felt around where the resonators rest on the other end. The last issue I'm having is the pedal is buzzing... it seems to be in the middle of the arm where both parts join together. I have that thumb screw as tight as it should be, and when holding on to the arm the rattle goes away? I ordered the VanderPlas dampener so hopefully that will help cut down on vibrations going through the pedal anyways. Any other suggestions?

IndianaGlen Wed, 05/22/2019 - 19:18

In reply to by Adam Kantz

Good advice, if it ain't broke...

Two spots to reduce pedal noise. First the easy one and low risk. Wrap the round bolt under the damper bar with a thick layer of Teflon tape and add a couple small zip ties at each end to keep it from unraveling. The second one is to slide out the rod that goes from the inside of the bottom part of the pedal to the damper and put a SLIGHT bend a couple inches from the straight end. --At your own risk :) Regardless of what you do, a simple and fast test is to very slightly press down the pedal and play see if some of the rattles go away. It can help isolate pedal vs. frame noises.

I agree upgraded casters are a huge help. Double locking ones are even better; getting casters that are a little larger in diameter are great if you are average of above in height. There are online stores that specialize in castors, with some browsing and measuring you can find ones that will work. If not someone may be able to help on this forum. I'm curious if you added the felt and moleskin around the resonators because you heard them rattle or did you do it as a preventive kind of thing?

If the resonators are rattling at the low the little rubber pieces could be dry since it's that old. They can be replaced fairly easily if you're handy with such things.

Have someone listen across the room. You may notice something when you play that nobody else can hear, making it less of a priority to fix.

But don't be like me and spend all your time fiddling with stuff. The best way to sound better is to practice.

madu Wed, 05/01/2019 - 11:24

Regarding where the pedal bar attaches to the legs, I've had some success eliminating creaks by putting a flat rubber washer between the thumbscrew (or wingnut) and the pedal bar.

Randy_Sutin Thu, 05/09/2019 - 13:08

In reply to by madu

In that location or where the hinge for the damper bar is, or the place where the pedal attaches to the connecting rod. Simple plumber's teflon tape is worth its weight in gold, because it provides lubrication to the moving parts while padding the contact and reducing noise.

Piper Wed, 05/22/2019 - 19:37

In reply to by madu

If you ever get one of those annoying rattles or squeaks that you can't pinpoint, go to the Pharmacy and pick up a cheep stethoscope (about 10 bucks) and move it around the frame like a doctor until you find the problem. Sometimes, it's not even on the vibe but something in the room that is being amplified by a resonator.

You're welcome,
Paramedic Piper