Orff Xylophone/Metallophone DIY Repair Guide

from the Music Classroom Teacher Index

Are your Orff xylophones and metallophone falling apart? You're wiling to fix them but don't know what to do? Here are a few tips to get your Orff instruments sounding great again.

Buzzing Bars

If your Orff instrument is "buzzing" when played, there are two possible reasons:

1) Damaged Bar
2) Dried Glue Seams on Resonator Box

Here's how you can check. First, move the buzzing bar to another spot on the resonator box. If the bar still buzzes in its new spot, the bar might need to be replaced. If the buzzing bar does not buzz in its new spot, then the seams on the resonator box have dried out. To fix this problem, run a bead of wood glue along the seams of the box and let it stand until it is dry. When the seams are dry, place the bar back in its original position and try it out.

Out of Tune Bars

It's possible to retune your bars, but this is something you might want to leave to a professional.

If you want to try tuning the bars yourself, here's a guide:
Build Your Own Orff Xylophone: Step-by-Step Woodworking Plans

If you don't want to try it yourself, contacting a custom marimba shop or calling the company that made the instrument will be the way to go.

Mallet Repair

If your students play yarn wrapped mallets this is another repair project that you can easily take on. Grab some yarn from your local craft store and let's get started.

1) Begin by tying a knot just under the mallet head.

2) Wrap yarn over the top and back to the base of the mallet.

3) Rotate a 1/4 turn (approximately) and repeat.

4) Count the number of wraps so that you will be able to repeat the look and sound of the mallet on the matching mallet. An average of 200 wraps is recommended. This number will change depending on the weight of your yarn.

5) Grab a needle and thread to begin crowning the mallet head. This is make sure your hard work doesn't come unraveled. Using a yarn threaded needle, pass the needle through the top 1/2 of the mallet several times. Rotate the mallet as you go.

6) Finally, tie the yarn off with a knot.