Into the vibe

Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:36

To dampen or not to dampen

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And how William Shakespeare would say ''To be, or not to be'', what do you think? I thought the same :).

    To try on not to try?
   To pedal or not to pedal?
   To dampen or not to dampen?

   I made you smile :) ? this is good, because I still have lots to tell you  ;).
   Believe it or not, when I started building vibes 20 years ago, my first point of interest was not about the sound of the bars.

   At the time I used a cheap Kosth vibe with a terrible frame. So I focussed on the main issue I found on this and many other vibraphones: the dampening mechanism

   I decided that on my vibraphone, I needed a wide pedal, because I found that I always had back pains when using a small pedal
   So I experimented with different widths. After years or experimenting, I found that semi-wide pedal worked best
   I discovered that I didn't had back pains anymore, and on the plus side: I didn't lost the pedal anymore while playing, check more here Ergonomics.

   I still had problems with uneven dampening and noises while dampening, so my next focus was on that part. With my thinking cap on, I had the "brilliant" idea that a gel as dampening material would work better than felt
   So I looked around to see what is available. I imagined silicone would be the way to go, so I started my search. I was lucky to find the exact material I needed.

   So again, another problem solved.

   On all vibraphones I played, I found that they had problems due to uneven dampening, and this was something I absolutely wanted to avoid
   A stable damper system starts with the pedal and its connectors.

   And after experimenting lots of hours( I even tried using straps with plastic clamps. Didn't work: I have a few hundreds laying around. Are you by accident interested in them?), I found the only real solution was to use 2 connecting rods. There is a lot of force applied to the pedal rod during pedalling, so when I experimented with straps they started to stretch, clamps started to slide all the time, and finally started to break.
   Since there is so much force to be taken care of, I decided to go for stainless steel rods instead of plain steel, why not go for the best if you're at it ;) .
   Using the 2 rigid rods, I felt that I had a lot better control over the dampening, and the dampening bar moved nice and even.
   Ofcourse, using the 2 rods, meant using 2 springs also.

   A wide pedal offers comfort and prevents back problems. It gets accurate, even and fast pedalling.

   A stainless steel rod will not break after a night in the freezing cold and will withstand the huge force applied to it during pedalling.

Happy day!  

Read 1216 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 December 2017 16:01
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