Rosewood: Rosewood bars can be found on the top of the line instruments for both marimbas and xylophones. Rosewood is known for its warmth and resonance. Manufacturers have their different ways of sorting out quality of rosewood bars and tuning. In general, the high end instruments will have the best sounding bars due to higher quality material and tuning.
Padouk is an excellent alternative to Rosewood bars. Padouk is a natural material that shares similar characteristics of Rosewood. This material in general responds very similar but has a shorter sustain and is denser than rosewood, making it more durable in the classroom. Padouk is an excellent choice for a beginning instrument or tight budgets.
Synthetic bars such as, Zelon or Acoustalon are designed for the needs of today’s marching ensembles. These synthetic bars offer a high quality tone and projection that will withstand the outdoor elements.