How a Marimba is Made
Achieving a uniform character

Tone plates that have been left to rest for about a month after the rough tuning is completed have their characters checked one by one.
Character refers to the personality of the tones, in such terms as hard, soft, bright, or dark. If tone plates with the same character are not used to make a marimba, then it will leave listeners with the impression that it is not a very well-ordered instrument.
Through this process, tone plates are assembled and combined into a single set while checking how well balanced the tones are.

A room in which tone plates are lined up for testing their sounds

A room in which tone plates are lined up for testing their sounds

The marimba, which is made by assembling tone plates of matching characters, could be called an instrument for which no two are exactly alike. Consequently, many marimba players visit factories to select their instruments. Performers' tastes vary according to individual preference: Some might focus on the lower notes, others might pay attention to the higher notes, yet others might be swayed by the feeling in the hands when the instrument is struck, and so forth. To each his own.

Autographed by marimba players

These tone plates lined up in a row are all autographed by marimba players from around the world!

For a marimba-which has been created by assembling and combining bars with the similar characters-it is not an easy task to replace a broken tone plate with a spare. Without investigating both the broken tone plate and those to either side, it would be impossible to give the replacement tone plate its sound. Furthermore, a single new tone plate would be mixed in among others that had been pounded into the instrument, requiring considerable attention to be paid to realigning the tone plates.