Drummers Drumming (Part 6)
a history of hitting things
The history of the popular drum kit from bits of metal in Istanbul, to bits of Silicon in Simmons. Dave Sinclair takes the calendar trail.
Avedis Zildjian Company begin production of cymbals in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey. Otherwise, a quiet couple of centuries.
Johannes Link, the founder of Sonor, starts making military drums and drum skins near Bavaria.
Joseph Soistman establishes the first drum factory in America: the Excelsior Drum Company of Camden, New Jersey.
First drum catalogue is published in America by the Duplex Manufacturing Company.
Drummer Dee Dee Chandler is (reputedly) the first person to build and use a wooden bass drum pedal, activated by the player's heel, not toe.
William F Ludwig Snr uses an all-steel bass pedal, designed along the lines of Chandler's device.
U G Leedy invents the first practical folding snare drum stand.
U G Leedy and Charles Wanamaker patent a snare strainer, which can move the snares as a single unit away from and back to the drum head.
William F Ludwig develops an all-wooden toe-operated bass drum pedal.
William F Ludwig and his brother Theobald set up in business as Ludwig & Ludwig. Robert C Danley, Ludwig's brother-in-law, makes the first all-metal toe bass pedal from Ludwig's original design. Early cymbal holder allowing the cymbal to hang free is patented.
First all-metal snare drum manufactured by Ludwig.
Ratchet mechanism developed which allows the tom tom to be mounted on the bass drum hoop or shell. The 'low-hat' or 'low boy', forerunner of the hi-hat, appears in the early 1920s; it consists of two parallel cymbals, positioned about 15 inches above the floor, controlled by a foot pedal.
Premier founded in London by Alberto della Porta, a dance band drummer, and his assistant George Smith.
The collapsible bass drum, described as a "godsend to the working drummer", is patented. Hi-Hat (or 'hi-boy') first appears, and enjoys rather longer-lasting success than the collapsible bass drum.
Modern drum set reaches its final form at about this time, organised round a nucleus of bass drum, snare drum and suspended cymbal, with ancillary instruments being added according to the requirements of the drummer and style of music.
Floor toms with legs introduced.
Slingerland introduced the Ray McKinley tom tom holder which consists of a curved bar with a sleeve which allows the tom tom to slide down over it. At about this time the cymbal tilt-holder is invented; for the first time drummers can tilt the cymbal to a convenient angle to make playing more comfortable.
Sam Muchnik invents plastic mylar drum head for Remo.
Paiste cymbals from Switzerland start to become available.
Rose-Morris launch the R-M kit featuring a new ball and socket device, allowing greater flexibility in the positioning of the tom tom. Premier launch their Lokfast tom tom holders: "The strongest shell-to-shell holder ever made," they claim.
Rose-Morris market their Headmaster Plastic Drumheads, confidently asserting that "they are impervious to moisture and last almost indefinitely"(!). Rogers introduce MemriLoc stands. Paiste launch 602 cymbals, forerunner of 2002, and described as a "revolutionary range designed specifically for the rock drummer".
Hayman are one of the first companies to market single-headed concert toms. Shaftesbury, Ludwig and Sonor all launch see-through kits made in Acrylic or Vistalite. ASBA of Paris produce first all-metal drum kit made of stainless steel. Potential customer, Carl Palmer (who subsequently commissions Premier to make him one).
Premier introduce boom cymbal stands. First appearance of Evans oil-filled hydraulic heads.
Premier 252 bass pedal launched. "Probably the finest bass pedal in the world." (D Sinclair.) The eccentric looking North drums with specially flared bases appear. Earliest users Alan White and Billy Cobham.
Launch of the Synare percussion synthesiser, "the first fully-integrated percussion synthesiser". Designed for use with or without a drum kit.
Staccato drums follow in the North footsteps. Remo market a new shell-less drum tuned rapidly by rotation, aptly named the Rototom. Tama introduce Octobans. Early user, Billy Cobham.
The world's first electronic drum kit, the Simmons SDS5, on the market. Billy Cobham not an early user.
Linn Electronics corporation unveil the LM-1 Drum Computer. Star Instruments Inc. market the first tuned-percussion computer, the Synare MP (Mallet Percussion).
Oberheim introduce the DMX drum computer. Central London branch of the Musicians' Union pass a resolution calling for a ban on Linn drums and similar instruments from recording and broadcast sessions.
Simmons SDS6 sequencer launched.
Simmons SDS7 and SDS8 kits unveiled at Frankfurt trade show.
Real Drum Special - Part 2
Feature by David Sinclair
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