Dear MM friends, I strongly agree with Don Stinson's advice to Fritz
Gellerman on the matter of steel bar bells (031116 MMDigest). In fact,
ordinary cold rolled steel for metallophone bars is, to my opinion,
superior to most other materials for the purpose.
Steel bars sound a note dependant on the length, thickness and width.
The remaining factor is the specific gravity [density] of the material,
which is almost identical for all steel sorts.
The main difference is the carbon content, which influences the internal
damping of the bars. Alloys such as hardened steel with a high carbon
content have less internal damping, and so the bars made out of hardened
steel have a disturbingly long time to silence themselves. I know of
several European orchestrions, mainly Philipps (or Wurlitzer in the USA),
which have such hardened steel bars. A real forgery!
If you want loud bells, take thicker, wider and longer steel bars
instead of heavier hammers!
Hans van Oost, Netherlands