Into the vibe

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 06:38

Upgrading the instruments

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Building vibraphones is not a 9-5 job. In general you're 24/7 with vibes in your head. During regular working hours it is not only about building instruments, but also about R+D. In the nights it mostly is about thinking on what will be the next steps to take. The goal I have with our instruments is at all times being the ones that offer the best and most innovative features of that time. This is an ongoing process that does consume more time than you think, and does take a lot more effort than when I should just make a model and build it without any or only slight modifications and improvements.



Almost on any part of the general vibraphone there is room for improvement. Improvements making the instrument easier to work with for the vibist, making the instrument better to manufacture and lastly, making the instrument more stable. With our instruments, last year I added the 4.3 octaves, which goes down to A2, we added a 2nd type of midi system with tablet control and wifi onboard Another improvement adding now is a new supporting frame.  

However, many improvements are underneath the surface and don't show. In an earlier blog article I told about the queste for the perfect motor. That part I recently worked on more, thru:

- upgrading the software, making it communicate internally in more ways

- prepare the software for a future new feature

- redo the drive mechanism so it is running even smoother


Another improvement I made, or actually an upgrade, was to the improVibe in specific. I know it is not fair in life to have a favourite child, but to be honest, the improVibe deep in my hearth is the one. I like its design, I love the walnut front, I like its stability, I like its feel and I like the building process of this model. One thing I always disliked however is that from a historic viewpoint, this model was the "entry" model of our product line. I can understand brands wanting to get sales from an as wide market as possible, and for that reason come up with "dressed down" entry model instruments. 
I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and I decided this is not how I should position the vanderPlas vibraphones. There is an enormous variaty of vibraphones offered in the low and mid range of the market. All are pretty comparable with each other, so a vibist choosing an instrument in that area can hardly go for the wrong one.

I don't have the intention to have our instruments in that same area: they just differ too much and are too unique. For this reason it was time to fully upgrade the improVibe, the model I like so much myself, to the same standards as the other instruments.  
This means that the improVibe, where before it had the regular brushed bars which were already good bars, is now being equipped at standard with the superb HDS bars. 
At the same time, the improVibe bars will get the same detailed tuning (with more harmonics tuned) as the other models. Also the vibrato system on all the models is now at the same level, AND all instruments are now equipped with the new V2 supporting frame. 
The last thing I did to make choosing the right instrument easier, is to have both improVibe and gigVibe models available in the same ranges, 3.0, 3.2, 3.5 and 4 octaves.

In short, from now on it will be a lot easier to choose for the right model:

  1. the improVibe if you care for beauty and can do with somewhat bigger sized parts when transporting
  2. the gigVibe if you need smaller sized parts when transporting
  3. the LW when you want the ''summum bonum''  in vibraphones.

Stay tuned.

Read 2053 times Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 12:00