Maker of the world's top marimbas gives 7 tips

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After 30 years of crafting the world's finest instruments, California-based Marimba One has distilled its experience into 7 tips to care for the instrument.

Ron Samuels, Founder and Owner of Marimba One

It was the sound--elusive but haunting--that drove a 25-year-old college student, a few classes short of a degree in psychology, to build a marimba from scratch.

Not knowing how to begin, he started in 1983 by merely tracing the shape of the one marimba at Humboldt State University. "It was not the way to do it," Marimba One Founder Ron Samuels laughingly says today.

Now 30 years later, Samuels' top-of-the-line instruments are played in more than 500 universities and orchestras worldwide, from Carnegie Hall to Amsterdam Conservatory of Music. Distilling its experience of the last 3 decades, Marimba One shares these 7 tips for caring for this gorgeous keyboard percussion instrument:

1. When you are not playing, keep your marimba out of direct sunlight and cover. This will protect it from dust and scratches.
2. Ideal humidity for playing and storing your marimba is around 50%. In very dry environments, a humidifier should be used; and in very moist environments, use a dehumidifier. Even when the marimba is being stored, it is best to maintain a controlled environment.
3. The marimba’s acoustics are designed to be optimized between 68 and 72 degrees. Extremes of temperature should be avoided.
4. Use only a damp cotton cloth or a micro-fiber towel to wipe down your marimba.
5. Be CAREFUL when you move your marimba. It’s a large instrument, so think about tight corners, door frames and other obstacles. If you have a height-adjustable frame, raise the resonators before moving to keep from hitting door jams.
6. Do not put anything on your keyboard (obviously). The bars are precious rosewood and will scratch if you don’t take care.
7. Speak to it, sing to it.... it’s alive.

Treat your marimba well and it will be your partner for life!

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Nicole Riggs
Marimba One
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Marimba One
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