Coming to Arcata June 30 - July 13, 2013 are dozens of the world's top players of the marimba, a large wooden percussion instrument with resonators, resembling a giant xylophone.
The marimbists are appearing at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival but they are also coming to the workshop in the redwoods of what is arguably the premier builder of marimbas, Marimba One, and its founder-owner Ron Samuels.
For more than 25 years, Samuels and his staff have been handcrafting the finest instruments, combining refined listening that understands sound with scientifically precise engineering skills.
That's why more than 500 symphonies, music schools and universities in every corner of the globe--from Carnegie Hall in New York to Beijing Central Conservatory in China--turn to Marimba One as they seek superior sound, guaranteed durability and top-notch service for their concert marimbas.
It all starts outside the little villages of Central America. There the Marimba One team led by Samuels, who has both a trained ear from playing classical piano and a reverence for so-called 'tone woods,' hand-inspects and selects for shipping each piece of rosewood.
Once the wood reaches the Marimba One manufacturing facility in Arcata, it is air-dried, then kiln-dried and molded into the various bar profiles that the master craftsmen use to build marimbas.
Next, Marimba One's master tuner grades the wood for sound (still un-tuned), constantly looking for any flaws in the wood and listening to its resonance so that he can maximize its musical qualities.
The customer then enters the picture since he or she chooses the "voicing" for their keyboard. Based on this description of how they want their marimba to sound, Marimba One selects the bars that best match their description. Samuels knows artists are looking for a darker sound that is louder and warmer.
"We're always thinking about sound quality and how to bring out the clearest and most musical voice in each piece of wood," says Samuels. The audiences at the ZMF in Arcata will hear the marimbists creating the sound they crave.
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