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Vibraphone Lessons with Rusty Burge, Part 1: Pedaling Technique and Grips

Learn how to use the sustain pedal and about 4-mallet grips.

Over the next two months, we’ll be presenting a series of video lessons on vibraphone performance technique by Yamaha Performing Artist Rusty Burge.

Many young students have difficulty transitioning to vibraphone because it has a sustain pedal. Here, Rusty introduces exercises and techniques to use the pedal to its fullest extent:

In this second video, Rusty talks about two 4-mallet grips that are used on the vibraphone — the Burton Grip (developed by jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton) and the Musser/Stevens grip:

Rusty Burge is Professor of Percussion at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is also a member of Percussion Group Cincinnati, with whom he has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He was formerly principal percussionist with the West Virginia Symphony and plays extra with the Cincinnati Symphony. Burge received his undergraduate degree from the Eastman School of Music and a master’s degree from CCM, where he teaches percussion and jazz vibraphone in addition to directing the CCM Steel band. He has performed with Peter Erskine, Ted Nash, Rich Perry, Dave Liebman, Rufus Reid, Steve Allee, Roland Vazquez and Michael Spiro. His new book, Method for Vibraphone, will be released this coming fall.

Part 2 – Using Patterns in Improvisation – coming soon!


Click here for more information about Yamaha vibraphones.


Dr. Dave Gerhart, Product Manager for Yamaha Percussion and advocate for all things percussion, is a nationally recognized performer, composer and educator. Dr. Gerhart holds a D.M.A. from the University of Southern California, an M.M. in Percussion Performance and Instrumental Conducting, and a B.M. in Music Education from California State University, Long Beach. Before joining Yamaha, Dr. Gerhart was a Yamaha Performing Artist. He now travels the U.S. talking percussion and sharing his passion for music education. In his free time, he teaches at the CSULB Steel Drum Orchestra and has published works for percussion and steel drum ensembles.

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