The Mini-Xylophone

Just last night, I replaced the keys on this xylophone with the ones you see in the picture. This is an antique xylophone built for a toddler to play. It's really cool. A good friend of mine got it for me when I was pregnant with Zelma. The only problem with it was that the metal keys had rusted, and turned so grossly out of tune that it was a little bit horrifying. (This good friend says she is tone deaf.) Initially, I replaced the keys with more metal keys, but then the parts that held the keys in place looked really dangerous when Zelma played it. They were these little rusted pieces of metal sticking straight up from the top. Zelma really likes to play it, though, so I was hesitant to just take it away. Also, I wanted to keep it in use, because it was a gift. Finally, I decided to just somehow get rid of those rusty metal pieces on it and put some nicer sounding, wooden keys on it from my dad's old xylophone (sorry, dad!) which has been sitting out back on the porch since we got the piano. I didn't want to ruin the keys, though, in case we ever want to play the regular, big xylophone again, so it is lucky for me that each key has two holes in it, which you can run a string through and attach to a different box. That's what I ended up doing. I ran some hemp jewelry making thread through the keys, bent those horrible pieces of rusty metal down inside the box (where they won't poke Zelma's eyes out), and then attached the string between each key to the rusty metal thing, to keep each key in place. Zelma played it today, delightfully. It sounded good!

It's got no sharps or flats, just G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C. The hard wooden mallets came with it. They work really well with the wooden keys.

I like meddling with instruments.


  1. I love that you can fix a xylophone.

  2. That is just about the best xylophone I can imagine for Zelma. Those keys were professionally tuned shortly after I acquired the instrument that you've cannibalized. I can't wait to hear her playing it on her next CD.