Into the vibe

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 08:26


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I try to listen as much as I can to vibists. I learn a lot from what's in their heads and how they see things.
Sometimes I hear this remark: 

Why do you have so many models, and why do you make so many changes all the time?

Do we have so many models? Do I make so many changes?

The answer to the first question is simple: "We don't have more models than most other manufacturers".  Basically in the regular model range, now called the noble vibes we have only 3 models.

  • improVibe
  • gigVibe
  • LW

If you compare this to other brands, this actually is the same number of models. Most manufacturers offer a one-keybed model, a traveller model and a concert model. So there is no difference.


However, if you look deeper into the 3 models, you will find that the models/series are devided into different bar ranges. We have the improVibe and the gigVibe available in the ranges 3.0, 3.2, 3.5 and 4 octaves. The LW models are different in that they range from 3.5, 4.0 and 4.3 octaves. 



One big difference between a company like mine and other companies that are not solely dedicated to vibraphones, is that I also offer a line of instruments that are really special: the Vizzion models. 
The instruments in this product line are really special instruments, and have to be seen more as a unique custom instrument designed and made for special purposes, with the latest addition I am really proud of, the Vizzion Narada.


The answer to the 2nd question is a bit more versatile. 

From the start I designed and built vibraphones, I tried to be original and innovative. The frames are completely different, the vibrato system is completely different, the bars are completely different, etc. Most of these innovations have been done during the past 15 years, and as you don't see them on other instruments, or you started to see them only recently on other brands, it may look like these innovations are new. But in fact they are there already for years. 
The silicone damperpad is something I came up with in 1999 or so, the vertical moving damperbar is also since 2000 in use, as is the semi-wide pedal. The depth control of the vibrato was already in the first LW models from 2000. And the midi as it is now, we started developping in 2014, and started to sell roughly end of that same year. 

However, under the hood the changes and innovations are more common. The motor type has changed to make the vibrato depth control more consistent. And with it, also its control and software. 
The midi system has changed so we could offer systems more suitable to different players, and to keep up with modern times.
Also new developments are added to make production easier and to raise quality to a higher level.

Also, people mention: "the other manufacturers don't change their instrument as much as you do".
Well, neither do I. But I do upgrade when I feel it can or has to be upgraded. There is a huge difference between a vibraphone dedicated company as vanderPlas vibraphones, and the other manufacturers that have the vibraphone as one of their products. For regular manufacturers, it is needed to fully design an instrument till it is production ready, and can be built by generally skilled craftmen.

A dedicated company like ours doesn't have that disadvantage. Since we are closer and more knowledgable with the instrument and its engineering, it is not a problem to constantly upgrade them to the latest level. Upgrading the instruments will be the constant in our company.

It is an ongoing journey to the perfect vibraphone.

Stay tuned!

Read 1883 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 11:58