Top 5 Best Xylophones in 2020 Reviews

Xylophone Buying GuideIf you are looking for a xylophone, then you are at the right place. Xylophones are for everyone – kids, babies, adults – you name it!

Xylophones on Amazon

Here on the page I will write everything worth knowing about xylophones – and I want to select the best xylophones on the market. Thereby you will not have to make a choice which xylophone you would like to purchase. You may know of the instrument mostly from music lessons in primary school, but the fact is that the xylophone is a widely used instrument. You will come across it, among other things, in orchestras and theaters, as the instrument has a very special sound.

Top 5 Best Xylophones for kids, babies and adults

I have selected the market’s five best xylophones so you would have easier time choosing which one you want to buy.

Overall winner: The Best Xylophone

Best Kids Xylophone

Best Baby Xylophone

Best Xylophone for Adults

Best Wooden Xylophone

Best Metallophone

What is a xylophone?

A xylophone primarily consists of bars that you hit with mallets. The bars are typically made of hard rubber, wood (rosewood, birch and other hardwoods) or acrylic. If you have to play softly, you make use of yarn mallets. The instrument also has a body, or a frame. The frame is often made of wood. Finally, we have resonator tubes, which are mostly seen on expensive concert xylophones. These tubes improve the quality of the tone.

Different types of xylophones

There are hundreds of different types of xylophones, and the ones that we know from orchestras and elementary schools are just a few. There is a difference between the instrument’s origin, sound and size. Let’s look a little closer at the most well-known types:

Balafon: The Balafon is from West Africa and is a 21-tone xylophone. The instrument is available in both open and closed keys. If it is in an open key, you can move the bars as you like. If it is in a closed key, the keys are attached with some straps.

Gambang: this instrument is from Indonesia and the Philippines. It is available with either 17 keys or 21 keys. In addition, the gambang can be made both with metal or starboard bars.

Kashta Tarang: this one is very special as it does not actually have any keys. On the other hand, it has porcelain bowls that are used as bars. The instrument comes from India.

Akadinda and Amadinda: again we are going to Africa – this time Uganda. The instrument was originally used to play for the king of the country. The special thing about the instrument is that it is made of banana trees.

Embaire: An embaire is a very large instrument that requires six people to handle. The instrument has 21 bars / tones and comes from East Africa.

Gyil: The instrument comes from Ghana and Burkina Faso. It is made of wood and usually has 14 bars. In addition, it is usually played by 2 people.

Kulintang a Kayo: This type of xylophone originates from the Philippines. The instrument has only 8 bars but is widely used in the Philippines. In fact, most households have this instrument standing.

Khmer: The instrument comes from Cambodia and is equipped with 21 bars of wood. The instrument is also used in Thailand.

Mbila: The mbila comes from Mozambique and is an instrument with 19 wooden bars.

Malimbe: This type of xolophone comes from the Congo and is available in two versions: one for men (has 15 bars) and one for women (has 9 bars).

Luntang: the last I take hold of is from the Philippines and has only 4 keys. A luntang is actually not played as an instrument that much. It is more commonly used for long distance communication.

The history of the xylophone

The xylophone extends far back into history. Some believe the instrument originated back in the year 500, in Southeast Asia, after which it spread to Africa. One found the first evidence in the 9th century in Southeast Asia. But historians believe that the instrument has roots 2000 years before Christ’s birth. It is still unclear when the first xylophone was found in Africa, but it is clear it happened before the 14th century.

The xylophone becomes “commonplace”

Only in the 19th century did the orchestras begin to reveal the instrument. The French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns, was one of the first to use the xylophone in orchestral works. The xylophone was included in La Danse Macabre (1875). In 1886, Albert Roth managed to improve and further develop the xylophone. His work was the start of what could be called a revolution of the instrument. From here the development of orchestral xylophones had begun and JC Deagan became the first producer of the instrument. Throughout the 90s, the xylophone became an ordinary and necessary instrument in orchestras and theaters. One of the reasons why the xylophone became so popular was because the instrument sounded really good when recorded.

Xylophone buying guide

When buying a xylophone, there are a number of factors that you should investigate before purchasing. First and foremost, the type of wood has a decisive influence on the quality. Maple and rosewood are among the best woods while padouk is more average. The xylophones you find at the school will, for example, be of padouk. In addition, the number of octaves on the xylophone is also important. Usually, a xylophone has 3½ octaves, but you can actually get some that have 6. If you are a beginner, a high number of octaves is not essential. But if you are experienced, you know that the number of octaves is important.

Help and guidance

If you are still unsure about which instrument to choose, you are very welcome to catch me by mail or live chat. I usually reply within a few hours.

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