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Fall Creek Round Top Glockenspiel (RT1500)

Model: FCM-RT1500

Availability: In Stock


Please allow 5 to 6 months delivery time

For 20 years Fall Creek has supplied the world's leading percussion artists with the K-100 Series, offering the sound of the Legendary Leedy glockenspiels. Now they offer the sound of the renowned Round Top Glockenspiels - but with even m...
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Fall Creek Round Top Glockenspiel (RT1500) - Product Information

For 20 years Fall Creek has supplied the world's leading percussion artists with the K-100 Series, offering the sound of the Legendary Leedy glockenspiels.

Now they offer the sound of the renowned Round Top Glockenspiels - but with even more brilliance, projection and clarity than the original.

These exceptional, hand-made glockenspiels are the newest creation by percussionist, designer, builder, tuner Bill Youhass, owner of Fall Creek Marimbas.

Full 3 1/2 octaves C5-F8
Unique nickel plating that will NEVER flake
Bars 7/16" X 1 1/4"

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An amazing instrument


A few caveats first: I am an relatively inexperienced keyboard percussionist, transitioning from piano as my main instrument. This is the fourth glockenspiel I've owned, and only the second that could be considered "concert quality". That being said, I am thoroughly impressed with this instrument. It is a real jewel of craftsmanship and tone. Some construction details: each bar sits over one pin at one end, and between two pins at the other end, held in place only by gravity while the cover is detached. The two felt strips on the cover will hold the bars in place for transport once the cover is attached, but tipping the scales at almost 110 pounds fully assembled you will find that transporting it this way is probably not the best idea. I always remove the bars for transport and reassemble on-site. This process takes me 4 to 5 minutes for disassembly and about 5 to 6 minutes for reassembly, handling the bars carefully to avoid dropping them or knocking them together. I've heard you may purchase a special bag for holding the bars, but I ended up building a wooden caddy to transport them instead. The "loose" mounting of the bars is an intentional design feature, as it allows the bars to really "float" rather than being dampened by hold-down screws as is the case with cheaper glockenspiel designs. It also means one may omit bars from the instrument for faster set-up: for instance when I gig I usually don't use the last (highest-pitch) half-octave, and so I can leave those bars at home thus slightly reducing both weight and set-up time. All the bars sit on two *curved* wooden rails topped by red felt strips. The rails' curvature is such that it matches the nodal points on the bars, so as not to distort the sound. It's the same reason why piano and harp frames are curved: that is the mathematically correct way to terminate resonant elements for an even-tempered scale. One of the features of this glockenspiel is its phenomenal sustain. Striking a bar produces a clear tone that resonates quite loudly for at least 20 seconds. Even 30 seconds later you the ringing is still audible. While this is certainly an impressive engineering accomplishment, it can also be limiting in terms of playing style. I happen to use my glockenspiel to play a variety of musical styles including folk and Irish, usually involving fast melody lines, and for which this degree of sustain is actually an impediment because at these speeds it just isn't practical to finger-damp or mallet-damp each note. None of the glocks I played prior to purchasing the RT-1500 had this much sustain, and it came as a bit of a surprise when I first layed my mallets on it. I realize my particular style of playing is not this instrument's intended function, and that it is really meant to shine playing orchestral pieces where long sustain is coveted and fewer notes played is the norm. At the risk of offending purists, my work-around has been to remove the suspension strings from the instrument so that the bars sit flat against the felt strips. This increases the amount of contact area each bar has with the support rails and thereby reduces the sustain to less than 5 seconds (down from 30 seconds) per stroke, making it play more like a harp or hammered dulcimer. The suspension strings are fairly easy to re-install, which to my mind speaks well for the instrument's versatility. Want huge amounts of sustain? Leave the strings on. Want short sustain (but still-beautiful tone)? Take the strings off. In general the craftsmanship of the instrument is impeccable. All the pieces fit together flawlessly, and the visual presentation is impressive. The wood has very nice staining, all the latches fit securely, and the carrying handles are very comfortable. You can tell that the tuning of the overtones ("partials") is very well done, comparing the RT-1500 against lesser glockenspiels. This is the primary reason I purchased the RT-1500: my other glockenspiels' tones just weren't pure enough for my satisfaction. It is the reason I'm willing to haul 100+ pounds of glockenspiel to gigs, and to do such things as remove the suspension strings: the tone of this instrument is nothing short of angelic. Everyone who hears it is arrested by just how good it sounds.

Date Posted:

Posted By:

Tony Kuphaldt


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