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The "Build-It-Yourself"
Marimba Page!

If you have arrived here via a link from Andy LaTorre or one of the mallet keyboard forums, then you already know the treasure you will find on this page. However, if you have come to this page through the Bernett Music website, you may need a short explanation.

This page is being provided for all the mallet instrument players who are interested in building their own 4 octave chromatic marimba.

The plans that are available from the following link are made possible by the wonderful foresight and generosity of Mr. Andy LaTorre, currently of North Carolina. Andy had the incredible vision to save these marimba plans when he saw them in a September, 1956 Mechanix Illustrated magazine.

Now, he has been kind enough to share them with us so that we can post them here for anyone who would like to have a chance to experience the rewarding process of building your own high quality musical instrument.

From a personal standpoint, as I prepare to use these plans for my own instrument, I would like to offer a small bit of insight from my 40 years of experience as a professional musician and audio video producer....

Instead of using a piano to tune the marimba "by ear" as described in the plans, you will have a far better instrument if you will tune it by the more exact method of "stretch" tuning software, such as is used by professional piano tuners. A Google search will lead you to numerous programs, many of which have free "lite" versions available for download.

Even if you decide to purchase software, for an investment of less than the cost of a dinner date at a top steak house, you can have your marimba tuned precisely instead of just trusting your ear. After all, if you're going to perform the labor of love necessary to build this instrument, why not do it right?

Two Links

There are two additional links below.

The first is the link to the marimba plans. These are scans of the actual pages of the 1956 magazine pages. The scans have been cleaned up significantly and reproduced as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file at a resolution that can be successfully printed out for use in building the project. (Note: you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view and print these plans.)

The second link is a PDF containing a letter, an email, and two photographs from a gentleman named Paul Tadeushuk, who acquired the plans from Andy and actually built a marimba in 2001... Paul's tips may prove valuable to you.

We hope you enjoy and appreciate this access to Andy LaTorre's treasure, and we hope that if you build a marimba that you will contact us so that we can include your successes here.

Best wishes,
Tom Bernett

Marimba Plans
Please note that this PDF file is approximately 1.5 MB.

Paul's Instrument