My son plays several instruments well including piano, and has been dabbling over the last few years with practice pad (for snare technique) and drumset. Now he wants to learn to play mallet percussion. What should I be looking for (as a rental, purchase, or rent-to-own)? I would like to find something in the student-quality range, but that would have a reasonably nice sound. Also, if I purchase, I would like the instrument to have a reasonable resale potential. Apparently glockenspiel is the most readily available mallet percussion instrument in the student range, but I've heard bad things about the sound.
I hear this all the time, just use a bunch of paper. Draw keys on them and tape them all together. Snare technique is the same as mallet technique. If not this, then you're going to waste your money on a high-quality bell set that sounds TERRIBLE. It costs near a thousand dollars. I would get your son involved in a percussion program where they have Marimbas, xylophones, Glocks, etc. They can check him up for any bad habits and problems that need fixing rather than him judging himself.
you can also get him a glockenspiel if you use wool mallets, it gives a faint and satisfying thud. It would be more attractive for apartment life than anything else. You could also use soft rubber mallets instead of plastic. It cuts out the "d" in "ding".