The History of Smith Mallets

﷯Robb Smith grew up in Bristol Tennessee and began studying percussion at age nine. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond VA in the mid 1980s on a music scholarship and there he learned to make his own percussion mallets. He began to sell his handmade mallets to his piers at school and soon his side business grew by word of mouth to cover the entire South East region. After receiving his music degree, Robb put the mallet business on hold to focus on his performing career. While residing in Richmond, he was a regular performer with the Richmond Symphony as well as a percussionist for many traveling Broadway musicals at the Virginia Museum and Carpenter Center. While residing in Nashville, TN and then Los Angeles, CA he performed with numerous acts and has toured the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. In 2004 Smith Mallets was relaunched with a focus on high quality at a low price. From that point Smith Mallets grew from a garage shop to an industrial space with custom engineered machinery and a dedicated group of employees. 4 Questions for Robb Smith of Smith Mallets Why did you decide to go into the Mallet business? I have always been an entrepreneur and I wanted to start a business to manufacture and sell products that I knew a lot about. I believe that there was a gap in the percussion community for high quality mallets at an affordable price. I enjoy making things with my hands and designing new product and It is very satisfying to me to produce mallets that percussionists use worldwide. What kind of research did you do on design? Mallet design comes down to three simple criteria. 1) Does the mallet produce the desired sound﷯ on the instrument? 2) Is the mallet made with durable materials that will last? 3) Do the mallets have a good feel in your hands with regard to weight, balance and thickness? Getting that formula right and trusting on a select group of professionals for feedback led me to our designs. Did you develop the machines that you use? I did create the first very prototype of the mechanism for the wrapping machine. I hired a retired mechanical engineer from the Eastman Corporation in East Tennessee who drew up the plans for the machine. We then took the plans to an Eastman Machinist who fabricated the machine and the machine worked perfectly from the very first mallet. The precision and quality of the wrap is another hallmark of our mallets. What makes your mallets the mallet of choice? I personally check every mallet that leaves my shop and I am proud to put my name on them. The mallets are durable and designed to meet the demands of percussionists at all levels. They're high performance mallets at a low price - it's the best of both worlds.

Smith Winding Machine

4110 Fieldstone Road

Champaign, IL 61822


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