but this is a serious instrument, and the design is such that you can build it with just a few household tools, using only stuff from the hardware store...
And it so easy, even an 8 year old boy has built this marimba. This photo right here is of the actual instrument that 8 year old Greg built.
Have you ever looked at a Marimba or Xylophone in a music store and wondered…
"……How on earth can these instruments cost so much?"
After all… they are just planks of wood siting on a frame, with resonating tubes to amplify the sound.
Well ok... there's a bit more to it than that of course - you need a good design and the knowledge to tune bars and tubes, but that's where this building guide has done all the work FOR you!
and the last time I checked, the best price I could find of a student model three octave marimba was $2750 (USD) - There may of course be cheaper ones, but to get a reasonable concert instrument will cost upwards of $5000.
So of course the best option if you are a professional marimba player is always the very best (read expensive) professional instrument you can buy. I would never recommend any lesser option as I know myself the value of excellent quality instruments. So if you have thousands of dollars spare to throw away....
but not all students or parents have this kind of money...
even schools prefer to spend it elsewhere...
and do YOU want to spend thousands??
or would you prefer to have that money for other things?
That is why I’ve created this solution for You
You make it Yourself - and it's much easier than you might imagine!
Firstly, Check Out my Super Fast "Making a Marimba Video"
by the way....
The background music for this video was played on the Project 3 prototype instrument built in this video.
For under $500 (I’m being very generous there – it can be much less than that) and only a few days of building, you’ll be able to make a serious instrument that will sound almost as good as a commercial one…
and in fact, if you use the same types of timber for the notes as the commercial manufactureres do, then it can sound JUST as good!
If any of these apply to you, then read more.....
You are a percussion student or a parent of a percussion student, and you are looking for an inexpensive practice instrument for the home
"This marimba was built by me, my dad, and my son Charlie who is in the picture playing it.
I have been reading your 5 octave marimba blog and am awaiting the plans to become available….. My son & I would like to tackle that project as well some day.
Thank you very much for making plans available for these musical instruments, it has been very rewarding making this instrument and hearing the results of our hard work. I made this for approximately $300.00 American. I made the keys out of Black Walnut, the frame out of Red Oak and the resonators out of PVC pipe.
You are looking for a more serious instrument than a small Orff style xylohone, but your budget doesn’t allow for a commercial concert instrument
You are looking for a larger instrument for classroom percussion ensembles – one that can play the bass lines, and fit more than one student on it
You are you looking for an instrument that will suit a student right through their senior school years, even for music exams
How about spending a few days on a really fun project that leaves you with an amazing musical instrument which will be the center of conversation in your home for years to come!
You are looking for a serious chromatic instrument – not a toy - but not with the huge price tag of a commercial marimba.
Then I urge you to consider the plans available on this page and either making, or getting someone you know to make one of these instruments.
My name is Jim McCarthy, and I’ve been a percussionist for over 20 years.
I’ve always had a passion for building things, but I’d never consider myself a professional at woodworking or trades… I’ve always been a musician first.
and this means that if I can build this project... You can easily do it as well. You don't need to do any of the design, thinking, hard work and making mistakes - I've already done all that for you!
When I studied for my masters degree I got really into Acoustics and learned all about how Marimbas were built – I even made some massive, world record bass marimbas to indulge my hobby...
But these days my goals are much more practical... I design instruments especially for people like you. It started years ago when I built a few instruments to assist my wife in her school music program. You may have seen the Project 1 Box resonated Xylophone, or the Project 2 mini-marimba which people all around the world are already building to save money for their schools, as well as being interesting to play and enjoy for children.
With “project three” you have everything you need to build this marimba, including:
Part 1 - Step by Step Instructions in a 46 page e-book
Your e-book features 115 Photos and diagrams showing every step of the process in meticulous detail - nothing is left for you to "guess" - As much as possible I have included every piece of information you need.
Part 2 - A 45 Minute Video showing you how to tune a bar, including fine tuning of the harmonics
So all the hard work is done for you, and you’ll even have included:
The exact measurements of the bars that work every time, no matter the wood you are using
How to drill and mount the bars in the correct way to ensure that every note sings clearly
How to build the resonating tubes out of easily and readily available materials
How to raise or lower the pitch of the bars by sanding in the correct places
How to tune the most important harmonics (overtones) on the bars to make them sound pure, tuneful & resonant.
Plus you get these cool FREE Bonuses!
Plus Cool BONUS #1!
You also get the building guide for this really cool glockenspiel project completely free!
There's no doubt you'll prefer playing on your 3-octave marimba, but nothing beats this simple glockenspiel for portability, ease of build and small cost of build. This building guide is not a soft bonus either - it's 23 pages tightly packed with loads of photos and all the details you need for a fantastic result with zero thinking!
Considering you get to build two instruments for the price of one, this bonus makes the whole deal areal no-brainer!
Plus Cool BONUS #2!
Once you have your instrument finished you will want to play something on it. Sheet music is usually only a few dollars to buy, but it can cost you HEAPS of time finding something suitable for your instrument which is easy to learn and sounds cool. That's why I've written loads of music especially for this instrument - and I'm giving you your first piece completely free!
Having an instrument without music is like having a toy without batteries....
Well when you build THIS instrument, the music is included!
Plus Cool BONUS #3!
Free One Month's subscription to Percussion Keys Website!
This is Definitely for You if you want to learn more about playing & building marimbas, xylophones and other percussion instruments.
You have FULL access to:
The entire "KEYS" video tutorial series, teaching YOU to play marimba & vibes.
Member's forum and Q&A Section.
Monthly Lessons and Videos asked for by YOU, the user.
A Unique library of useful downloads & FAQ for instrument builders and percussionists.
Free sheet music and exercise sheets.
"Cool Videos" of the month.
The retail price of "Percussion Keys" membership is normally $4.95 to set up and just $13.95 per month. BUT... for this one time only as a bonus for purchasing this building guide - you have the option to get that first month's $13.95 free! And of course you have absolutely no obligation to continue your membership past the first month, so you have nothing to lose. Even the tiny $4.95 set up cost is no risk, because it is covered by my 100% money back guarantee. You decide it's not for you...? Then just tell me and I'll give you a full refund.
The great thing about this project is that it will work for you, no matter what wood you have available
Concert quality instruments are usually made from Honduras Rosewood or African padouk, and obviously the better wood you have access to the better instrument you’ll be able to make. However you can make this instrument from just about any hardwood (eg, Durian or Meranti).
How much will the materials Cost?
Depending on where you live you should be able to get all the materials you need for between $350 - $450, from the local hardware or wood supply store.
but if you wish to make an even better sounding instrument you can of course invest in a better bar timber such as Rosewood. This will cost you a little more, but will still be way less than purchasing a real concert instrument.
Does the plans include both Metric and Imperial Measurements?
YES! The plans include both imperial (feet and inches) and metric (millimetres) measurements.
Do I need to be good at woodworking to achieve this?
Absolutely not! I’m not a carpenter - I’m a musician. Most of the skills required are fairly basic woodwork – measuring, cutting and sanding.
Even if you’ve hardly ever picked up a hammer or a saw in your life I’m confident that you’ll be able to achieve a workable instrument using these plans. Of course I've picked up a few clues over my time designing and building instruments, but I've put all the important construction tips in the package for you.
Do I need lots of expensive tools?
Most of the tools you need are commonly available
All you need is:
An electric drill with a sanding attachment
A wood saw
A small hammer
Sandpaper and sanding discs
Plus a few other bits and pieces commonly found around the garage!
Do I need any special tuning equipment?
A basic electronic tuner is highly recommended. Any chromatic tuner will do the job, and you can get a really basic electronic tuner from any music store for around $50, or simply borrow one from a friend to get the job done! These tuners are incredibly common – nearly all professional musicians or music teachers either own one or have a friend who owns one.
BUT... if you don’t have access to one, don’t worry – as I’ve included a full set of sine waves (clear and clean tones) that you can use to tune the notes by ear. If you have a musical ear it is really easy to do it this way.
Is my homemade instrument going to sound as good as commercially available instruments?
I'm not going to suggest that you can build an instrument which will sound identical to the commercially available instrument, not with basic wood that you can get from the hardware store. However - have a listen to these samples to compare it with a commercial instrument - You'll hear that you can actualy get a really good result!
and... if you use the same timbers as commercial manufacturers do, then there's no reason why your marimba can't sound JUST as good!
Commercially Made Instrument
(This particular one costs over $9000)
The Prototype instrument constructed and photographed on this page
Does it matter what the resonators are made out of?
This is definitely one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding for most people.
The fact is that it makes very little difference!
Comercial instrument manufacturers will often TALK about the sounds of different resonator materials - they want to make their instruments seem more special - BUT have you EVER seen anybody publish an actual audio comparison?
and think about it......The resonator's job is to amplify the sound – and it does this by containing a column of air which is the correct size to resonate when sound waves from the bar enter it.
So... does the column of air really care what is containing it? or does it even know? Remember it’s the column of air that is vibrating.. not the container, so what it's made from really makes very little difference!
and I've heard people argue that certain materials are a little harder and reflect sound better than others - well this is true... but here's the thing...
Extra hard metals etc only make a difference at quite high frequencies - the frequencies way above the range of marimbas. Only the upper harmonics of marimbas are in this frequency range - and guess what... these upper harmonics are actually tuned to NOT resonate in the tubes!!!
The plans included for this instrument use PVC pipe for the resonators because:
They are lightweight
They are inexpensive
They are easy to work with
They don’t require heavy duty hardware to hold them in place
And you can get PVC pipe at just about any hardware store, as it is usually used for drainpipes around just about any home! Of course - if you really want to use different materials for your resonators, there's absolutely nothing stopping you. The building guide still tells you how to get the result you are after.
Do I have to wait for anything to be shipped to me?
Absolutely not! You have instant access to the e-book and videos via download, so you can get started immediately. The plans print out in Adobe Acrobat Reader (which is a free download, and nearly every computer already has it installed anyway).
Can I adapt these plans to build a larger instrument (4 or 5 Octave)?
Yes of course you can – It is going to depend on your design ability but you could easily add another octave or two to this instrument design.
I thought long and hard about the correct range, and came upon three octaves because:
It was large enough to cover most repertoire of the beginning student
It can easily pack up and fit in a standard small car
It didn’t involve any complicated resonators, such as those required for lower bass notes
If you are ambitious theres no reason why you couldn’t adapt these plans to build whatever size instrument you wish!
How Much do these plans Cost?
Your P3 Marimba building guide is just $49.95 US Dollars. You can go to www.xe.com and check it out in your currency.
So, together with approx $350 to $450 for materials, you can build this instrument for under $500…
$49.95 for the plans is not much at all when you consider:
The length of time that I had to study acoustics in order to bring these plans to you
The trial and error that I went through in designing frames, tuning bars and resonators and selecting materials, so you don’t have to!
The near impossibility of finding this information out through other sources – I looked through hundreds of books on the subject – and I couldn’t find the practical, necessary information needed to just build a marimba myself.
Detailed instructions on building a serious marimba, simply ARE NOT AVAILABLE ANYWHERE ELSE!
When you click on the order link below on this page, you will instantly have download access to the plans for this Three Octave Marimba, and can start building immediately...
But before you do I want you know know something really important....
Your 100% Money Back Guarantee You have 56 days so that you can fully try out the product!
It took me nearly ten years to build up the skills to effectively tune bars and design marimbas that worked, and that’s why I know my plans work.
Obviously I can’t build the instrument for you, and your success is going to be determined by a little bit of your own efforts.
If however, you feel that my plans are at fault and they don’t work for you then simply contact clickbank within 56 days for a full refund of the purchase price of this building guide – no questions asked. In fact I insist! I don't want your money if you can't successfully use them to make your own instruments.
P.S. There's no gimmicks here - just real information that you won't find anywhere else!
P.P.S. This is the Perfect solution for YOU if you want a professional instrument for a tiny fraction of the normal price - and also have heaps of fun creating a conversation piece for your home that will have the whole neighborhood talking!
The informational products available at makeamarimba.com and buildavibraphone.com are designed to give the user all the information required to build the corresponding instruments to the same level and finish as the original prototypes pictured on the websites. The final results produced by the end user are naturally dependent partially on their own abilities and efforts. Some of the skills and techniques described in the building guides may require the end user to practise a little before a high proficiency is achieved. This is an expected part of the building process. Once these skills are sufficiently achieved however, the end user if using due care, should be able to build an instrument for a significantly lower cost than that of any commercially equivalent model.