New Pricing Reflects Rosewood Value, Says Top Marimba Manufacturer

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Just like almost everything else in the 21st century, the rising cost of materials has necessitated a price increase at most marimba manufacturers, led by Arcata, California-based Marimba One. “It’s about the value of the wood,” said Ron Samuels, founder of the company now in its 25th year. “Rosewood is more difficult to get, and the prices are beginning to reflect the uniqueness and quality of rosewood.”

Rosewood value is reflected in higher price

Just like almost everything else in the 21st century, the rising cost of materials has necessitated a price increase at most marimba manufacturers, led by Arcata, California-based Marimba One.

“It’s about the value of the wood,” said Ron Samuels, founder of the company now in its 25th year. “Rosewood is more difficult to get, and the prices are beginning to reflect the uniqueness and quality of rosewood.”

"At the same time, the marimba one tradition of excellent service and personal response is untouched--and unmatched. For instance, if you need a bar replaced, we keep detailed records of all the marimbas we build, including keyboard voicing information. Or, if you want your keyboard retuned, we offer a free retuning of the entire keyboard during the first two years," he points out.

But what makes rosewood so unique, one might ask? The way a marimba craftsman uses rosewood is similar to the way a winemaker makes wine. All wine makers know that you can ruin the best grapes and turn them into vinegar. Likewise, even with the best rosewood, you can still make an unmusical bar.

At custom maker Marimba One, the master tuners tune each and every bar by hand, with the goal of maximizing the potential of each piece of wood. This takes longer to do. But it is worth it. Peter Thomas, principal marimba player of Disney’s ‘The Lion King,’ agrees: “For me, there’s no alternative to marimba one marimbas. The tuning is perfect and the shape is great.”

Because of this tuning process, the bars are more resonant and durable. As a result, the marimba’s signature sound is warm, deep and evenly balanced across the keyboard. It's a question of effectively relieving the internal stresses in each piece of wood so that when it is struck it rings freely and clearly, without any unwanted or dissonant harmonics.

Thus the singing quality of the rosewood comes to life in a well-crafted marimba. And the value of rosewood goes up.

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Nicole Riggs
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