Best Glockenspiels for Beginners (Top Rated List)

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Fun fact, the word glockenspiel actually literally means “toy”, and more specifically “toy bells” in German.

And the truth is, when we think of a glockenspiel, most of us picture this colorful plastic — and diatonic — instrument made for children.

And while there are absolutely models marketed for kids, there are also glockenspiels made for adults and dedicated players

Essentially, these more “serious” models are generally made of high grade materials, like wood.

Finally, there are also professional models, with features such as sustain and/or damping pedals.

So whether you are looking for an introduction to the struck idiophone instrument family

Or you are just obsessed with the glockenspiel’s sound…

You’ve come to the right place as I have compiled for today’s article a list of the 6 Best Glockenspiels currently available on the market.

Sounds good? Then let’s start.


But before we get to the list…

Some Facts About the Glockenspiel

So let’s clear out some misconceptions about the glockenspiel. It belongs to the family of metallophones, — just like its (much) bigger cousin the vibraphone — and to the percussion instruments subfamily of struck idiophones.

But for a layperson the terms vibraphone, glockenspiel, xylophone and even a marimba can lead to some confusion.

And so here is the main difference between all these instruments:

  • Vibraphones and glockenspiels – use metal bars.
  • Xylophones and marimbas – use wooden bars.

The second difference is found in the construction part:

The glockenspiel is the smallest of these instruments. What’s more it doesn’t use a resonator, which is structure placed under the metal bars to create sustain, which is found on other struck idiophones.

Now that you know what a glockenspiel exactly is, let’s move onto the…

4 Factors to Consider

Although the glockenspiel is not an overlycomplex instrument, there are still some varying factors from one model to the other.

These factors are:

  1. Chromatic/Diatonic – That’s the biggest difference. Some glockenspiels have all the notes available, and some are pre-tuned to a specific scale.
  2. Alto/Soprano – In our head, when we think of a glockenspiel we automatically picture a very high pitched instrument. However, alto glockenspiels are a thing and they’re tuned 3 octaves lower than soprano glockenspiels.
  3. Number of notes – in other word the size of the glockenspiel. The number of notes ranges from 22 for the smallest models to 32 for the biggest ones.
  4. Resonator/no resonator – although by definition a glockenspiel doesn’thave any resonator like we previously saw, some models’ structures are made out of wood and are bigger, creating a richer, longer-lasting sound.

With all that in mind we’re now ready to look at the best models currently available, staring with…

1. Silverstar Kids Glockenspiel

As it turns out, the glockenspiel is one of these instruments that are so popular among kids, we sometimes can’t really tell if it’s actually a toy or a real instrument anymore.

But there’s a reason it’s popular among kids: it’s actually a great way to introduce them to music theory, and scales more specifically, since it has the same layout as a piano.

Among the dozens of colorful glockenspiels directed at children, this particular model is probably the most “serious” one. Here’s why:

  • Its construction is flawless
  • It’s chromatic and the notes are written on the keys – it’s a good way to introduce your child to music theory.
  • It’s portable – it’s built like a small suitcase

So for a first glockenspiel you really can’t go wrong with this model.

Check it out:

  • Click here to compare prices: (Amazon)

Next up…

2. Mendini MGS-30

Known as one of the best entry-level instrument manufacturer, the company Mendini doesn’t let down with this professional grade glockenspiel.

Now, compared to the previous model this one is a significant step up and  looses the “toy” look of the previous model.

With this model you get:

  • A stand – to play standing up
  • A bag – for transport
  • Mallets

Another feature is the frame of this glockenspiel which is aluminium, and adds projection to the sound.

Check it out:

Note: this model is branded under Mapex over at Thomann, so don’t be surprised to see it under a different brand there.

Next up…

3. Mr.Power Foldable Glockenspiel

As its name suggests, this glockenspiel is “foldable”, which basically means you can bend the “black keys” row over on the “white keys” row.

Also, compared to the previous model, this one has a wooden frame, which adds sustain.

Now, a cool detail about this is that you can actually “control” the amount of sustain you get out of this glockenspiel, by screwing or unscrewing the keys.

The tighter the key, the less sustain you’ll get.

Check it out:

  • Click here to compare prices – (Amazon)

Next up…

4. Suzuki Alto Glockenspiel

If you didn’t know there was such a thing as “high-end” glockenspiel, well, there you have one.

Known for their high quality instruments, Suzuki also manufacture glockenspiels. They have a few different models but their alto version really is something different.

This line comes in diatonic and chromatic versions. What’s cool about it is that you can buy the diatonic version first, and the chromatic afterwards, since it works as an “add-on” that you just put on top of the diatonic one to add the missing notes.

Check it out:

Next up…

5. Studio 49 2000 Series

Among all of the glockenspiel manufacturers, NONE is as renown as Studio 49.

These high end instruments’ bars are actually made out of a special steel alloy, and not aluminum like for the previous models of this list.

This material allows for a unique, crisp and powerful sound.

The 2000 Series offers a soprano and alto models and work as diatonic glockenspiel with a “chromatic bars add-on” that you can add to the diatonic part.

Check them out:

Next up…

6. Sonor Soprano Glockenspiels

Drumkit manufacturer Sonor happens to also make other instruments, among which some children glockenspiels, which are part of their Orff line.

The Orff line is based on German composer Carl Orff who developped a musical pedagogy for children with many different instruments, including glockenspiel.

Their 2 most popular options are both soprano glockenspiels.

Now the difference between these 2 models is that one has a resonating chamber allowing for high sustain, whether the other model doesn’t.

Check them out:

3 Professional Glockenspiels to check out

Now that we saw some cheap and semi-professional models, let’s check out the “real deals” available out there.

Because YES, “professional” glockenspiels are a thing, and if you’re looking for the very best,  then these models are for you.

Now, these models are orchestral instruments, meaning they are generally meant to be used in professional orchestras, hence their high price tag.

Also, they have more notes, bars are usually made out of carbon steel and can offer a damping pedal.

7. Yamaha IG-1210

One of the more affordable orchestral glockenspiels, the Yamaha IG-1210 actually uses the design of the cheaper options we’ve seen before.

Meaning you need to lay the glockenspiel on a table, or alternatively buy a separate stand.

It is still tuned to orchestra pitch and can therefore be used in a symphonic setting.

Check it out:

  • Click here to compare prices: (Thomann)

If you are looking for a similar glockenspiel but with a damping pedal, check out the Sonor KGL100

  • Click here to compare prices: (Thomann)

Next up…

8. Bergerault BG30

This glockenspiel has all the features you’d expect from a professional orchestra glockenspiel:

  • It covers a 3 octaves range
  • It has resonators to increase projection
  • Its height is adjustable
  • It has a damping pedal

Almost century-old French company Bergerault is famous for its unique struck idiophone instruments, as well as for having been the first ones to develop a damping pedal for the glockenspiel.

Needless to say they are an absolute reference in the field. This specific model is available in A=443Hz or 442Hz.

Check it out:

  • Click here to compare prices – 442Hz: (Thomann/ 443Hz: (Thomann)

And for the last pick…

9. Studio 49 RGC 3030

The Studio 49 RGC 3030 offers all the features from the previous model but adds much more customization to the damping pedal:

You can fine tune the level of dampingby adjusting the “travel” and even the damping characteristic.

Another detail, you can choose the tuning of the pitch from 440Hz to 446Hz when ordering the glockenspiel, which can be a decisive factor for orchestra musicians.

This is likely the most expensive glockenspiel you’ve ever seen, but it does deliver the goods.

So if you’re looking for the absolute best for your classical orchetsra, or if you’re just looking for the best glockenspiel, build-wise AND sound-wise, look no further.

Check it out:

  • Click here to compare prices – A=443Hz (Thomann) / A=442Hz (Thomann)