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Resonant metals?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Taylor Livingston, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Oregon, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    This isn't exactly bass-related but I'm working on a project that uses metal tines as the sound source, being flicked, like a music box or kalimba. I'm not too familiar with metals and their properties, so I'm wondering if anyone here knows about this subject or could point me towards a place that has this information.

    Specifically, I'm wondering what the ideal metal to use would be. Obviously, something that's easy to work is important, as well as a metal that's going to have a nice, bell-like tone. Anybody here have any thoughts?
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    A few random ideas:

    Brasses are used, if not exclusively, at least quite a lot for bells.

    Silver rings very well. When you get an old silver coin in a handful of change, if you've ever heard a silver coin before, you will hear that there's a silver one in there right away. Arts and crafts people use flattened-out old silver silverware for wind chimes.

    I would guess that kalimbas use plain steel, since I'm guessing that they use "found materials." But that's only a guess. But I have definitely seen at least one that was rusty.
  3. Greenman


    Dec 17, 2005
    Ontario Canada
    Maybe some sort of flat spring steel seeing is it's going to be flicked?
  4. Crane


    May 26, 2007
    Kansas City, MO
    80/20 Bronze. I am a Drummer too, and there is a reason they use it for cymbals.
  5. bassksun


    Mar 5, 2004
    Las Vegas,NV
    Yes sorta. My Nigerian Kalimba has 1/8 steel flat rods.
  6. Needs to be at quite a hard temper though. But high-tin Bronzes are resonant which is why they're used in cymbal manufacture.

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