Is Marimba Rental Worth It? – A Warning & Some Advice


The cost of a new marimba can be prohibitive with prices going anywhere upwards of $30,000 for a 5-octave instrument. Rental is an option before parting with a huge sum, but is it worth it?

Can you rent a Marimba? – Yes but rental costs can mount up over time, and the total cost for a couple of years hire would probably pay for the instrument you are hiring. If you can save over the same period, you would be better off.

How much does Marimba rental cost? – Marimba rental prices in the US range between $28 – $230 per month. The lower end will hire you a 3-octave synthetic bar instrument while the top end gets you a 5.0 Octave Rosewood bar, Marimba One model.

They may be good arguments for and against Marimba rental and I aim to dig deeper into the pros and cons of each, so please read on.

Marimba Rental In Detail

Before deciding to get a marimba on a hire agreement there are a few things to consider. Not least how serious you are about learning, practicing and playing the marimba in the long term.

Marimba Rental Costs Comparison Guide?

These prices are the cheapest monthly rate and will apply to terms of 48 months or more. You can treble these prices for a 12 month agreement

EXAMPLE: Taking the Adams Soloist Marimba

  • Cost To Buy #2299
  • 12 Month Hire #2684

#223.64 per month for 12 months, works out at #2684 spent, although the monthly hire charge can be brought down to #62.75 a month for 60 months, although over the course of those 5 years you will have spent #5580 hiring an instrument you never own for more than twice the price you could have bought one!

Adams 4.3 Octave soloist review

You can see why, even in the short term, hire is not the best option for this type of instrument.

Marimba ModelPrice P/M
3-Octave, Ross R409 Scholastic $30
4.3 Octave, Yamaha YM-1430 $60
4.3 Octave, Adams Concert Series $80
4.3 Octave, Adams Robert Van Sice MAHV43 $100
5.0 Octave, DeMorrow Practice Series $100
5.0 Octave, Marimba One 3000 Series $230

So you see, there can be quite a variation on rental cost depending on what model marimba you are looking to hire.

It is unlikely you would want to rent the 3 Octave model for a long period of time, but if you are more advanced and want to play a 5 Octave model on hire, in just 2 years you would be spending towards $5,000 on hire costs. A good portion of the purchase price of a new or used 5 octave Marimba

Why do you want to rent a Marimba?

You may have various reasons for wanting to rent a Marimba, they may include

  • To discover the marimba for the first time
  • To learn and develop your marimba skills
  • To experience a wider octave range
  • You can’t afford to buy the marimba of your preferred choice

First Time Players

If you have never played before and are wondering if it is something you might be interested to learn from scratch then rental could be a good idea. You will get a feel for the instrument and if sticking to a short term rental agreement you will not have invested too much money that could otherwise have gone towards a purchase.

Practice Marimba

Whether you have ever played any type of mallet instrument before, perhaps a xylophone or glockenspiel, the Marimba is an attractive looking instrument and garners great interest until you spot the price tag. With such a prohibitive cost for even a mid-range example, you can be forgiven for stepping back and taking a breath to consider how you could get your hands on one.

In these circumstances, a rental could be an option for you. A short term hire should be able to be arranged for say three months. Although I would say not your first move and prices will be high. Rental prices per month will lower, the longer-term agreement you make. You have already seen this above.

If you have never played before, try to find some lessons first. They will cost less, and you can find out if it is something you really want to do. If you fall in love with playing Marimba, you will know, as you will not be able to wait until the next lesson, pick up the mallets and play again.

If this is the case then a rental, for a short time may be the move for you. You will be able to practice what you learn between lessons and develop your skills more quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be a great player and on your way to owning your own.

Further learning and development

If you already play in school or have played before and know you enjoy playing Marimba and would be looking to practice and play more regularly, then perhaps rental would be the wrong choice given that you may want to rent or hire for a year or longer.

The quality of the instrument you hire may be different from a brand new or even second-hand purchase.

Do you or can you get access to an instrument, even just once a week and avoid paying for rental? Could you possibly share the expense of a second-hand instrument with someone you trust?

If neither of these options exists then you may have to hire if you really are committed to playing, practicing and developing your technique.

If you can stay at the lower end of the instrument range, perhaps a 4.3 Octave Practice series could be hired for between $50-$60 per month. If you could hire at this price and perhaps save an equal amount toward a purchase, you would have $700 after one year or $1400 after two.

Building your skills and octave playing range

If you have no other option and a 5-Octave Marimba is absolutely essential, regardless of whether you have a bottomless pit of money, the cost of hiring a top of the range Marimba, is prohibitive for an individual with costs rising from $2,500-$5,000 for 12-24 months.

There are some 5-octave practice instruments available at the cheaper end, and worth bearing in mind.

Remember that 5.0 Octave marimbas are holding their value when looked after, so even after a couple of years of ownership, you should be able to resell at a similar price, thus still saving the relative cost of hire for as long as you own it. up to a point.

Comparing a 24 month hire cost of Between $2,500-$5,000 the DeMorrow 5 Octave Padouk Practice Marimba costing around $3,000 and a Malletech M-Tech 5.0 Octave Padouk Marimba at around $6,500, you can see that you could have either already paid for the practice model, or picked up a very good padouk bar model for the same money as you have spent the time hiring.

Where to Rent a Marimba

If you have decided rental of a Marimba is for you then the next step is to find where to rent your marimba from. Below is a list of rental outlets in both the US and UK

Marimba Rental US

Marimba rental in the US will understandably be limited to state by state options. Listed below are some of the best rental companies by state

Check back regularly for further updates to this US Marimba Rental list

Marimba Rental UK

There are limited options for renting Marimbas in the UK and prices can vary quite widely. I have three examples listed below. Feel free to hit the links to find out more. I have no affiliation with these companies and offer this information as a service to follow on from the information provided above.

Best Option for UK Marimba Hire

Of all Marimba hire options I could find in the UK, by far the cleanest and clearest website with transparent, not to mention cheapest prices was DuetShop. I was able to find marimbas quickly, and monthly pricing was visible right from the start. There was an Adams practice model with Paduak bars or for 50% higher prices, an intermediate Majestic Delux rosewood bar model. Both offering 4.3-octave range from A2-C7

Hire price will depend on the term agreed starting at 12 months rising to a 60-month term.

Taking the Adams Soloist Marimba

  • Cost To Buy £2299
  • 12 Month Hire £2684

£223.64 per month for 12 months, works out at £2684 spent, although the monthly hire charge can be brought down to £62.75 a month for 60 months, a total of £5580

You can see why, even in the short term, hire is not the best option for this type of instrument.

Bell Percussion London

A modern and full website offering marimba hire. Again no prices on view and inquiries welcomed

Southern Percussion Hire

Southern percussion hires website is a little outdated, although navigation to what I was looking for was straightforward. I found only one Majestic Artist Marimba 4.33octv in the for-hire list, and there was no indication of pricing on the website.

I filled out the contact form to enquire about the pricing which was a quick and simple process.

SteveM

I enjoyed the unpitched appeal of percussion prior to discovering handpans in a 'moment' I was experiencing. I've been writing ever since.

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