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Mallet Tips for Back to School

Kevin Lucas • GoodVibes • August 29, 2019

It is time for school again, and there is no better way for your students to start the year than with great marimba and vibe mallets.

I am going to recommend some mallets for your students, as well as give you some information about them.

Jeff Moore’s signature series marimba mallets are the best in the industry. His new line of mallets released through Salyers Percussion will give a clear and full sound to your ensemble. The full sound of the marimba bar is brought out by composite inner cores and tightly wrapped cord that will provide a clean and clear sound at all dynamic levels. The 11/32” birch shaft is thicker than normal and this makes them more balanced from a weight perspective, making them easier to play. The thicker shafts also makes them more durable. The mallets will work very well with amplification or in an acoustic setting. They are also great for maximum dexterity and strength while playing.

The vibe mallets have a rattan shaft rather than a birch shaft. The rattan mallets are great for bringing out the full sound of the metal vibe bars and they are also extremely durable. The most common vibe mallet from the series are the JM107 series. They are a medium hard vibe mallet that features a weighted cord wrapped mushroom core on durable rattan shafts. These are great all-purpose vibe mallets and they really bring out the upper register of the vibes. They work equally well in a concert setting or on a marching field.

The JM106 medium soft vibraphone mallet also features a weighted cord wrapped mushroom core with rattan shafts. These mallets are great when a delicate touch is required and they also sound great in the lower register.

The advantage to the most common Jeff Moore Signature Medium Hard Mallets (JM103) is that they feature a durable polyester wrap and a large weighted core that allows them to activate the entire marimba and speak clearly without being too heavy on your students’ hands. The hard wrap makes them very versatile and can be used in both moderate musical passages as well as highly articulate passages.

The JM104 marimba mallets are a great all-purpose hard mallet for more of a virtuoso and aggressive style of playing. I personally use these when I perform live because they give me the volume that I need to project into a large and loud audience. They are hard, yet they are tightly wrapped with a lot of cushion so the marimba bars are able to have depth and a full rounded sound as well as articulation. They have 11/32’ birch handles with a tightly wrapped polyester head. They also have extra weight which brings out the sound of the entire five octave marimba.

The JM102 Medium Soft Marimba Mallet provides a very mellow attack with a strong fundamental sound. These mallets are wrapped in nylon rather than polyester and they are great if your students are looking for a very lush sound. These are great for ballads and softer passages.

The JM105 marimba mallets are the hardest of the series and they are great for outdoor marching percussion. They are also great for a marimba solo and they feature a mushroom head. These mallets can be used on both marimba and vibraphone.

The Jeff Moore Salyers Marimba Mallets, from softest to hardest, are as follows: JM101 Soft, JM102 Medium Soft, JM103 Medium Hard, JM104 Hard, JM105 Brilliant.

In general, the Jeff Moore Salyers vibe mallets make the vibraphone speak the way it is meant to sound. They have weighted mushroom cores, a tight-wrapped polyester cord wrap, durable rattan shafts, and a tightly wrapped polyester cord wrap. These vibraphone mallets work both on a marching field and in a concert setting. Here are the vibe series, from softest to hardest: JM106 Medium Soft, JM107 Medium Hard, JM108 Hard. These mallets can be found at Lone Star Percussion, Steve Weiss Music, and salyerspercussion.com.

In 2016, The Huffington Post called Kevin Lucas “the most talented percussionist since Lionel Hampton, Ginger Baker, and Tito Puente.” He has been nominated for 38 music industry awards for his Echoes in the Sand album, and he won the 2016 American Songwriting Awards. Lucas performed with the Madison Scouts Drum and Bugle Corps from 1992-1994, and won the DCI Midwest Individuals in 1994 for keyboard percussion.

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