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  • Writer's pictureNathan Coles

Black Swamp Wood Block Mount Tutorial with Michael Ptacin

Updated: Jun 4



If you're a musician who spends most of their time in the musical theater pit, having instruments positioned conveniently is crucial for quick and easy access. Whether your playing a drum set, a percussion setup, or a combination of both, the Black Swamp wood block mount not only enhances accessibility but also improves sound quality by keeping the instrument right where you need it.




 

Meet Your Instructor

Michael Ptacin, holding marimba mallets in both hands and posing in front of a marimba wearing a button up shirt

Michael Ptacin, DMA, (they/them) is a non-binary percussionist, Black Swamp Concert Artist, and educator based in Dallas, Texas. They teach applied percussion at Collin College - Spring Creek and run a private lesson studio, while also serving as a percussion consultant for various schools. Michael is an active performer in the DFW area, playing drum set and percussion for theaters such as Dallas Theater Center, Uptown Players, Lyric Stage, and WaterTower Theatre. Their theater work includes programming and instructing others in the use of synthesizers and software like MainStage, Logic, and Ableton Live. Michael has performed as a soloist with the UNCG Symphony Orchestra and Greensboro Concert Band, and as an ensemble member with the North Carolina Brass Band, Gate City Percussion Ensemble, Salisbury Symphony, and the Dallas Winds. Additionally, they are a skilled woodworker, crafting and repairing musical instruments and accessories for schools, colleges, churches, and professional musicians.


Tools and Preparation

Installing the wood block mount is straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need:


Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Mark the Center Point:

  • Use the measuring tape to find the center point on your wood block.

  • Attach blue painter's tape to the guide and position it on the back of the wood block.

  1. Align the Mount:

  • Place the wood block mount on top of the wood block.

  • Ensure the center marks and arrows on the guide align with the center of the mount. If they are slightly off, adjust your drilling point accordingly.

  1. Drill Pilot Holes:

  • The mount requires a 5/32 inch pilot hole for the screws.

  • To prevent over-drilling, measure the depth needed by placing a screw next to the drill bit and marking the spot with painter’s tape.

  1. Insert Rubber Grommets:

  • Once the holes are drilled, insert the rubber grommets into the holes on the mount.

  • Push the screws through the grommets to help with alignment.

  1. Attach the Mount:

  • Align the mount with the drilled holes and insert the screws.

  • Tighten the screws until the grommet pulls into contact with the wood block. Ensure the metal plate does not touch the back of the block, allowing it to vibrate freely.


Download these instructions below 👇

Woodblock Mount Installation Instructions - MWBM
.pdf
Download PDF • 606KB

Benefits and Application

"I really like this option because I want to be able to position the instrument anywhere it's helpful...this is a good way to make sure they're secured and stay in one place and still have their full tone and resonance available."                  - Michael Ptacin

The wood block mount is particularly beneficial for musical theater setups, which often resemble multi-percussion setups. This mount allows you to secure wood blocks in a fixed position, ensuring they don’t move around during performances, even when playing loudly or quickly. It preserves the full tone and resonance of the wood blocks and can be positioned on top of any cymbal stand or 3/8" knurled post.


Wood Block Recommendations

The wood block mount is a universal mounting system that will work with any wooden block. If you have yet to acquire a wood block instrument, here are some of our recommendations.


Black Swamp Maple Wood Blocks



black swamp maple wood block, size small

When it comes to maple wood blocks, not all are created equal. Black Swamp Percussion ensures superior sound quality and durability by meticulously selecting prime, clear, and tight-grained maple lumber. The grain is oriented vertically across the soundboard, enhancing strength and projection. Additionally, the precisely machined slot and generous sweet spot of each block deliver a clear tone and confident accuracy, making these wood blocks a top choice for percussionists seeking high-quality sound.



Overture Wood Blocks


overture wood block in size small

The Overture woodblocks from Black Swamp Percussion offer exceptional quality and value for percussionists seeking a reliable wood block. These blocks, available in small, medium, and large sizes, are crafted from solid Rubberwood, known for its tight grain and durability. Designed specifically for band and orchestral performance, the Overture woodblocks produce a bright, focused, and clear tone, with each block maintaining a distinct pitch within an excellent interval range. Despite being an entry-level option, the Overture woodblocks' superior build quality and world-class sound make them an excellent choice for musicians.



 

TL;DR

  • Ease of Access: Positions instruments conveniently for quick access.

  • Tools Needed: Drill, screwdriver, painter's tape, measuring tape.

  • Installation Steps:

  • Mark the center point on the wood block.

  • Align and adjust the mount.

  • Drill 5/32 inch pilot holes.

  • Insert rubber grommets and screws.

  • Tighten screws ensuring free vibration of the block.

  • Benefits: Ensures secure placement of wood blocks, maintains tone and resonance, ideal for musical theater and multi-percussion setups.

By following these steps, you can enhance your musical performance with the reliable and effective wood block mount from Black Swamp Percussion.



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