Much of the characteristic sound of the vintage xylophones is due to tuning the second partial to an octave and a fifth above the fundamental. The resultant tone should be completely different than a marimba bar of the same pitch. Unfortunately, many modern xylophones are not quint-tuned at all, or only on the bottom few bars.
Eric Sammut, principal percussionist of Orchestre de Paris, and Malletech have worked together for several years tweaking a proprietary “stretch” tuning system for orchestral xylophones. We now have a tuning system available that Eric and his orchestral colleagues agree finally sounds “in tune” with the reality of where the winds and strings are placing their pitches in concert. If you hear most xylophones as being flat in concert, inquire about the small up charge for this custom tuning.
Malletech’s Orchestral Xylophone has proprietary dent-resistant Honduran Rosewood bars, so you can use models up to about 42 on the Malletech scale – as long as you don’t overplay. Always use care and check to see if you are leaving marks. Our “Midnight Rosewood” is far harder than Honduran Rosewood. It is piercingly bright, but produces a little less tube resonance. You can safely play with models up to 48.