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Ross62

The Evolution Of The Drum Set

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Vintage drum kits from the 1920s and 1930s

 

 
Hello friends, Samm Bennett here. I am fascinated by the early drum kits: they were very creative assemblages that generally included Chinese tack head tom toms, wood blocks, China-type cymbals, the "low boys" or "sock cymbals" that preceded the modern hi-hat. And of course the big bass drums and snare drums on their spindly little stands. To me these first American forays
into multi-percussion setups are things of sculptural beauty. I've collected some photos from here and there around ye olde internets...
 

 
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Here's a wonderful old drawing of a 20s-era drum kit: very accurate and faithful! I believe the two rectangular things at the base of the snare drum are sandpaper blocks. Rubbed together, sandpaper like that makes a fantastic percussion instrument: I love to use it especially in recording. (It's often not really loud enough for most live music applications). Also note the drum spur at the bottom of the bass drum. I've got some just like this: from the 20s or 30s, they have a pointy edge that gets right into a wood floor like a nail! Via a skew arrangement,  they clamp onto the wooden rim of the bass drum. I've used mine quite a bit over the years, as I've often put together kits using an marching bass drum that's not equipped with its own built-in spurs. Ingenious, some of these old bits of hardware! And the threads? Not even a hint of becoming stripped out, after almost 100 years! That's back when metal work was METAL WORK, dammit!

Also note the cymbal mounted down low on the bass drum, to the right of the bass drum pedal. More on this later...
 

 
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Here are front and back views of a beautiful old kit from 1930 that features a "spider woman" design on the bass drum head. We see the familiar Chinese tack head tom tom, the small double wood block which was also somewhat common in kits of this era, the mysterious bass-drum mounted foot cymbal, a hanging China-type cymbal and a tambourine. And the snare, of course. Note also the bass drum mute and... instruction book! For much more info on this particular item, see the Olympic Drums page for this drum kit
 

 
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Another gorgeous old kit from 1929, made by Ludwig and Ludwig. Fabulous drum head painting (that's quite a peak in the distance: like Mt. Fuji on steroids) and what a beautiful finish: it's called "Peacock Pearl". I'd love to see a closeup of that. And doesn't the red of that Chinese tack head tom tom just leap out at you? Fantastic! Looks like some kind of extra-large sleigh bells mounted on a wooden handle there, too, resign inside the tambourine. Interesting! And there's that cymbal mounted on the bass drum, just to the right of the bass drum pedal. Now, how was this played? See notes on the photo directly below!

This kit is from the wonderful Olympic Drums website, and was sold to some lucky drummer and/or collector for the princely sum of $5,250. Wonder if it's ever being played, or instead is sitting in a museum or warehouse somewhere? 
More details on this kit at the original Olympic Drums page here.
 

 
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This old kit featured a very colorful windmill landscape, one of the relatively rare spring-type cymbal mounts, a woodblock and... a horn! A rather eccentric addition to a drum kit! This kit was being offered for sale at an online auction site.
 

 
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A winter scene adorns this very handsome old Ludwig and Ludwig bass drum.
 

 
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This is the only photo I've ever seen of bass drum heads being painted. This is obviously a drum factory, but I have no idea which company. There's that windmill, lake and boat scene, very similar to the one that we saw in the contemporary photo just above! 
A popular theme, it seems.
 

 
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A totally snow covered mountain and lake adorn this old bass drum head.

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On 1/19/2019 at 6:10 PM, Ross62 said:

You like them tuned pretty high?

This was in the suggestions after your vid 😵;

https://youtu.be/eT1Y6VUstww

I also love the sound of Gene Krupa's Radio King.

 

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On 1/30/2019 at 7:27 PM, redrum said:

I also love the sound of Gene Krupa's Radio King.

 

Nice one.

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Art is a very nice guy and a heck of a drummer/teacher. His articles in DRUMHEAD magazine are great and fun to play. He really mixes it up with the rudiments. :)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiSybDzvqniAhUiNH0KHVOCAioQFjAAegQIAxAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.artbernstein.com%2F&usg=AOvVaw1qGp4DWq5XUHgnyUo-9Z5-

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6 hours ago, gibsonfan159 said:

Is that a Fram oil filter?

Could be a water wheel. :)

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I went back to my Roland kit as my ears can't take the decibels of an acoustic kit anymore.

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