There are two types of mallet head: round and elliptical. As a rule, hard mallets are used on the vibraphone; metal bars can cope with harder mallets than wood ones can (xylophone, marimba). Depending on the task to be performed the head can also be wrapped in yarn or cord.
Shaft length: 31 – 35 cm.
Head diameter: 2.3 – 3.3 cm.
Yarn-wrapped heads produce a pleasing, soft sound and are used on the marimba, the xylophone and the vibraphone.
Cord-wrapped heads are harder than yarn-wrapped ones and produce a brighter sound. They are suitable for passages that must be played with precision and clarity. They are used on the vibraphone.
Mallets with rubber heads are suitable for a wide variety of mallet instruments. They range from very hard rubber, which is used on the glockenspiel and the xylophone, to soft for the vibraphone and the marimba.
Further mallet types
Very hard, suitable for the glockenspiel and the xylophone. A wide variety of different sounds can be produced depending on the head’s material and size. Honduran rosewood produces a clear (crisp) and definite tone.
Brass heads are used on the glockenspiel and produce brilliant, clear, metallic sounds.
Ebonite with brass core
Is used only on the glockenspiel. It has a large, heavy metal core which creates a powerful sound that projects well.
The double-bass bow is used to stroke the end of a bar. This technique produces long notes with great resonance. Owing to the length of time it takes the bow to set the bars fully vibrating, no rapid sequences of notes are possible.