Bass Marimba Addenda

Soon after I put up these pages on the bass marimba people started sending in comments and questions - good, and thank you.

Fred King of Fredtronics wrote that he had had a similar idea and sent some of his sketches. A few weeks later he sent me the original spark for his ideas. The fact that he would get the idea from this source is interesting but the fact that he could lay his hands on it and send it to me some years later is truly remarkable. Fred also graciously points out that he never built his idea.

Ray Mores of Dusty Strings Dulcimers in Seattle sent these photos of an old toy.

But, has anyone ever seen another round marimba? Let me know.
YES, Jen Grindley of Victoria BC sent this photo of the group she plays with, The Wassabi Collective.


Certainly the most common correspondence is a request for plans. The best plans I have to offer are these web pages. I have updated the last drawing I made with some measurements of the finished instrument. That really is the last plan I made, from then on I worked with the actual materials and parts I had completed. I don't think the actual size is the important thing. From an acoustic standpoint the instrument should be ridiculously big, so think more about where you will put it, how you will be using it, and how you will move it. Now, for those of you interested in the specific sizes of things, here are some measurements.

Overall the bass is 9' 8" wide from tip to tip, it is 4' 6" deep and stands 4' 7" high.
The low F bar is 44.5" x 12" x 4.25" x 1.75"
The low C bar is 40" x 11" x 3.62" x 1.62"
The high E is 31" x 8.5" x 3" x 1.5"

I would not use Ash for the bars again, it's quite heavy and gives a very stiff feel to the bass. It takes a good whack to get the sound out, but you can also hit it as hard as you can without overdriving it. Cherry is probably a better wood, I have used Cherry on a baritone marimba and I have seen some excellent Cherry basses built by Peter Swing in New Mexico.

How much did it cost? I stopped counting at about $1,500. If I replace the bars with Cherry that will cost about $600.

One feature you may note about all of the marimbas I make is the marking of notes. I stain, or bleach the Cs and Gs. It is important to be able to orient yourself to your instrument quickly, on a dark stage, with your peripheral vision.


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Max Krimmel - 15 Sherwood Road - Nederland, CO 80466 - 303.258.7723