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Awesome Frame Mods & P3 marimba build
(from Sam DiMaggio)

I am super impressed by this P3 marimba project built by Sam DiMaggio. He has used the guide as just that....a guide! After tuning the bars and resonators to spec, he has used pretty much the dimensions only for the frame and completely redesigned it. Sam is clearly a superior craftsman and spent way more time and effort on this build than the average handyman!

Sam's redesigned marimba frame
Marimba making skills of Sam
"Hi Jim, I thought that it was time to send you some photos of my finished marimba project 3. As you can see I have made some changes to the frame, but other than that, I pretty much followed the the excellent Plans that I purchased from you. The frame is made of birds eye maple inlaid with padauk, the same wood that I used for making the bars. The resonators are made of ABS drain tubing. I did not use caps on the ends, but rather used, what here in the US are called, pressure test knock outs, which plumbers use to pressure test drain systems. It is a safety requirement here in California. They fit into the pipe and then are easily removed, after inspection is complete. They are only 25 cents a piece here in Los Angeles, at the local building supplier. If you are interested, I'll be glad to show you a few photos that describe how I adapted them to work for the resonators. I originally was planning to paint the resonators a different color, but the ABS tubing is black and when I assembled them, for testing, I decided that the black looked good with the birds eye, so I painted them black. The bar supports are the type that you used on your 5 octave marimba. I made all 74 of them by hand. Next time, as you mentioned in one of your updates, I'll have some machinist do the job, but I was glad to do it one time.

I also purchased your instructions on building the mallets. So far I have made only two mallets, but it was fun and easy. It also saved me a good deal of money, which made me very happy. I want to make at least two more.

In the end, after playing this instrument for a while, I decided that I had to remake about five of the lower bars. I was terribly resistant to do it at first, after all of the work it took to make them in the first place, but the reward was beyond my expectations. This thing sounds great. I'm very proud of this endeavor. I'm not a marimba player, but I intend to learn. I have been practicing and am now finding my way around the key board. Perhaps you can suggest some books and, or CDs to get me started.

In closing, I just want to thank you so much for being so helpful when ever I had a question or concern. You always emailed me back quickly with thorough and concise answers, and assured me that no question was to stupid. I really appreciated that.

Please feel free to do what ever you wish with these pictures or comments. If they can help someone else to build a marimba, that would make me very happy. I guess the vibraphone is next.

Ciao Sam DiMaggio"


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