Bill Sallak

percussion • research • creation

The latest batch

These six models are the latest ones I've made, with Bach performance specifically in mind. They're all built from Encore or Malletech cores (available from your favorite percussion mail-order retailer) and latex tubing (I get mine from McMaster-Carr). I wrapped them with Paton's Lace 2-Ply yarn (from JoAnn Fabric and Craft or similar stores), which is mostly synthetic but has a brushed finish that really keeps contact noise at bay.

These six mallets come in at two distinct weight points: the three models on the left are all equal in weight and medium-heavy-ish for depth of tone, while the three on the right are a step lighter for maneuverability and clarity when playing faster movements or executing quick ornaments. They're all wrapped at a fairly consistent, medium tension (I wanted the yarn to have some compressibility so that any of the six mallets could play quietly without being overly "knock-y"), and the only different between any models at a single weight point is their core. All of the cores are 1 1/8" rubber, and all of the overlays are 1" slices of latex tubing. The names are only suggestions of character—as with any mallets, you don't reach for the Allemande sticks just because you're playing an allemande. From left to right:

• The "Sarabande" (no trim stitching) is an Encore 413B with an overlay of 1/8" latex tubing. Because it's the soft all the way down to the core, the response is consistently dark and warm throughout the dynamic range, but the "normal-sized" mallet head helps keep some definition for trills, etc.

• The "Allemande" (orange trim) is the same as the Sarabande, but built from an Encore 412B. Big, rich tone, with a rounded but well-defined attack on each note, and just a hint of brightening as velocity increases.

• The "Gavotte" (brown trim) is the same as the previous two, but the core is an Encore 411B. Same weight and depth of tone, but with even more articulation for music that is both grounded and fairly note-dense.

• The "Menuet" mallet (green trim) is where things change up a bit—it's built from a Malletech NR13B with an overlay of 1/16" latex tubing. The thinner overlay lightens the mallet, while the medium core keeps excess brightness in check. It's sort of the inverse of the Gavotte mallet: where the Gavotte ensures articulation without giving up weight, the Menuet ensures warmth without giving up maneuverability.

• The "Corrente" (red trim) is the same as the Menuet, but built from an Encore 412B. Sixteenth-note runs come out with a shade greater clarity and brightness than the Menuet.

• The "Gigue" (gray trim) has the same construction as the Menuet and Corrente, built from an Encore 411B. We've all played in very reverberant halls; we've all needed this stick at some point. The rubber core and thin layer of latex keeps the mallet bright without being harsh, and the yarn still has enough cushion that soft notes aren't unpleasantly pointed.

If a still harder mallet is needed, you can (and at times I have) wrapped a 411B with no overlay—just a hard rubber core and yarn. The result falls into a category I think of as NBN (Nasty But [sometimes] Necessary).

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