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We present an apparatus that permits quasisimultaneous measurements of several vibrating modes in a vibrating reed experiment. Position detection by laser beam deflection offers a simple setup and good sensitivity for higher modes of flexural as well as torsional vibrations. Frequency and damping from free decay data are determined by software which permits high accuracy, especially at low damping. This is particularly interesting for the measurement of the mechanical properties of thin films deposited on a low damping vibrating reed. As an example results on an Al film on a microstructurized silicon resonator are shown. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.