FAQs

What does Coe Percussion have that other percussion manufacturers do not?

Coe Percussion: Each instrument personally custom built by Matt Coe.

Other Manufacturers: Instruments built in ‘assembly-line’ fashion by several individuals.

Coe Percussion: Every single part of the instrument is manufactured in our facility, for the highest quality control.

Other Manufacturers: Often times parts are ‘subbed-out’ to other companies to make. This makes the construction time quicker, but many times lowers quality.

Coe Percussion: You can call or email Matt Coe at any time to talk about YOUR instrument.

Other Manufacturers: Have to deal will a network of ‘dealers’ and usually can not even call the factory where the instrument was made. If you can call them directly you can not speak to the ‘one guy’ who made your instrument.

Coe Percussion: You get personal construction updates where you can watch the progress of your instrument from start to finish.

Other Manufacturers: Nothing like this is usually available.

Coe Percussion: Instruments are custom-built to your exact specifications, and the options are nearly endless.

Other Manufacturers: You have to take what is offered.

Coe Percussion: All instrument frames are intentionally ‘over-built’ for the utmost in strength and durability. Nothing wobbles or rattles.

Other Manufacturers: Wobbly and rattle-filled frames that don’t last.

Coe Percussion: Brass resonators are polished to a mirror finish and clear powder-coated. Powder coat is the most durable finish available. Rare to find a company that polishes brass to a mirror finish (usually they are scratch-brushed because it is quicker). No other manufacturer clear powder-coats. (they use lacquer that is not as durable)
Every resonator tube is tune-able.

Other Manufacturers: Only a few are tune-able in most cases, or the entire bank of tubes can be adjusted. This is not as accurate.

Coe Percussion: Personal care and attention in all aspects of business provided exclusively and uniquely by Matt Coe.

Other Manufacturers: ???????

The choice is clear: Custom instruments with Coe Percussion is the way to go! What are some other people saying about Coe Percussion?

Dear Matt,
we wish you an happy and successfull year 2011.
Further we are very happy with our new marimba. My son Jan will play a few pieces at the Aschaffenburg music school next month.Thank you for the good communication and the postive experiences we have got in buying such a precious instrument from overseas.
Good-bye
Guenter and family from Aschaffenburg in Germany

Email we received from our customer in Germany
Ordered 4.3 Octave All Wood Hydraulic Height Adjustable Frame Marimba, delivered in 2010

“Coe Percussion is committed to quality craftsmanship and outstanding sound. Matt Coe’s attention to the concerns of the performer is wonderful.”

John R. Beck
NC School of the Arts
Winston-Salem, NC

“Matt Coe’s xylophone bars are the closest thing to the marvelous wood turned out by Deagan at its peak.”

Joel Cohen
Assistant principal percussion, Grant Park Symphony
Percussion extra with the Chicago Symphony and Lyric Opera
Former member of the Milwaukee Symphony


What is “triple tuning?”

Matt Coe: Recently there have been several questions regarding tuning and more specifically “triple tuning” of marimba bars. As an educational and informative service, I have decided to answer this question here on our web-site. Being a fairly complicated and complex subject (as musicians well know) I will try to explain it in a simplified format. That withstanding, the most important point to understand is that each marimba bar consists of several tuned pitches, not just the “fundamental”, or the most prevalent pitch you hear when striking a bar. If these pitches are not tuned correctly, the instrument will not have a characteristic sound, and in many cases may sound out of tune to the human ear.

In any musical tone there consists a series of pitches, or overtones often referred to as the “harmonic series”. Each of the pitches effects the other in certain ways. In the case of the marimba, the lowest notes are where the overtones are most noticeable. However, the importance of tuning this series of notes correctly in each bar effects the entire range and overall sound of the entire instrument. Tuning the overtone series is part of what gives the marimba and every musical instrument its characteristic sound. Why does a trumpet sound different than a French horn? Well the answer to that question is more complex than the harmonic series alone, but it does have a lot to do with it.

Manipulation of each of these pitches in relation to the other can make a musical instrument’s characteristic tone sound different. In the case of a marimba keyboard, manipulation of these pitches help to make it sound warm, full, dull, pronounced, or even piercing, among other effects. Professional musicians and amateurs alike often have exact ideas of the type of sound they want from their marimba keyboard. Thus the term and practice of “bar voicing.”

During the early years of mallet instrument production in the United States, mallet instrument manufacturer’s only tuned one pitch in each marimba bar. That is, they tuned the “fundamental” pitch only. After years of research, some trial and error, and improvements in methods of manufacture, marimba makers began tuning two pitches in each bar. The fundamental pitch, and the third overtone or harmonic. This pitch is located two octaves above the fundamental. This created marimba bars which were much more pleasant to the human ear and also sounded less “tribal” or ancient.

More recently makers began tuning the ninth harmonic above the fundamental in addition to both the fundamental and third harmonic. This pitch is located at three octaves and a major third above the fundamental pitch. As stated earlier this pitch is most noticeable when playing the lowest notes on the marimba, especially when playing these notes in combination with the highest notes on the keyboard.

The process of tuning which is a combination of all three of these pitches being tuned in a single bar is what the term “triple tuning” refers to. Manipulation of these pitches, as well as several other physical factors, affect the overall sound of a marimba. Experienced tuners and makers know how to manipulate these factors to create an instrument with specific tone colors, and an instrument that is custom built and tuned upon the sonic wishes of their customers.