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Greatest invention since the Hi Hat? - Drum Solo Artist

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Question: What is the most significant invention for the drum set since the hi hat?
Double beater bass drum pedal - 1 (25%)
Modern drum heads - 1 (25%)
Alternative drums, i.e. gong drum, roto toms, octabons - 1 (25%)
electronics, pads and triggers - 0 (0%)
other, please list it in a post below - 1 (25%)
Total Voters: 4

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Author Topic: Greatest invention since the Hi Hat?  (Read 14485 times)
KenSanders
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« on: March 15, 2011, 11:59:49 AM »

The concept of the modern drum set is not even 100 years old yet.  I suggest that the drum set actually became an accepted instrument in 1927 with the deployment of hi hat cymbals on a pedal/stand that facilitated them being played with both the hands and a foot.  The drummer credited with pioneering that infamous Walberg & Auge device and concept was Papa Joe Jones.  Even if you have never heard of him, believe me, your drum set playing includes the concepts and techniques that he developed.  Shocked

Since then, so many inventions have made their way into being accepted as typical drum set components.  Can you imagine a drum set today with tunable toms?  How about the adjustable cymbal stands?

How about all of those non-calf skin drum head possibilities?
These modern drum head choices are responsible for almost endless tuning and sound possibilities.  Although they are not a “device”, I believe they have had more impact on the actual drum sounds than any other invention to date.  Cool

There are all sorts of drum sticks with various tips, brushes, mallets and other striking implements.  There are all sorts of drum shell possiblities.There are all sorts of cymbals and other metallic instruments to include in your own assemblage of instruments to create a “drum set’.

So what, in your opinion……is the most significant “drum set” invention since the hi hat in 1927? 

For years the basic drum set was typically a bass drum and pedal, a snare drum on a stand, a small tom mounted off of the bass drum, a floor tom with legs, a hi hat pedal/stand with two cymbals, and at least one “top” cymbal. Today, that nucleus has expanded to whatever anyone wants to imagine.  They range from Bill Stewart’s non-sense kit to how ever many bass drums Alex Van Halen decides to use on the next tour; to the new zip code required for Neil Peart’s next tour kit.


I’ll start off this dialog by suggesting that the double beater bass drum pedal, although it’s still an optional component, is the most significant invention since the hi hat. It has enabled us to play patterns on the bass drum, that most of us could not play on a single pedal.  It has opened up the drum set to all sorts of new patterns and rhythms.

I played two bass drums during the late sixties and on into the seventies with the show band drumming I did during those years.  When a functional and dependable double beater bass drum pedal was finally being made, I made the switch and have never regretted it.  Actually, it opened up even more possibilities than the two bass drum set-up did for me; simply because it was physically more comfortable to play.

Well DSA readers……what do you feel deserves special recognition other than the hi hat, as the “thing” that has changed modern drumming in the most significant way?
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 09:44:27 AM »

Modern drum heads by a mile. If you consider how much a decent set of modern heads can make, even to a starter kit, compared to the heads it comes with, Its a revelation.

I can only imagine what tuning was like when heads were effected by temperature and humidity. Must have been a nightmare.

Was there a great range of tuning available on calf skin heads?

Cheers


.
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KenSanders
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 07:27:42 PM »

Was there a great range of tuning available on calf skin heads?
In a word....no.  The effects of dampness and cold temperatures could make them slack and soggy.  Heat and dry temperatures could cause them to split. Calf skin is an organic material so the thickness and tensile strength could vary.  If not mounted skillfully on a drum's "flesh hoop", the head could pull loose under playing tension.  Many players would back off the tension on the heads for transport so the heads wouldn't split.  Durability?  It depended on how well you took precautions to safeguard them.  Playing hard on a soogy head would not have been a wise move.

Now, there is a sound associated with calf skin heads that is unique. If you listen to recordings from the 40's the drum tones are typically deeper because the calf skin heads weren't normally "cranked up".  The irregular grain in calf skin could also provide a more mellow, or at least a "less sharp" sound too.


Back to the original topic.  I truly believe that modern drum heads have been perhaps the greatest technological advance for drummers ever.  But as far as devices, like the hi hat.....I still think the double beater pedal has opened our minds to more performance possiblities.

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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2011, 02:09:49 PM »

I thought I had already commented on this subject, but much to my surprise....?  Modern heads really do have their place in the evolving of modern drumming...I am thankful for their effects.  The item that put me over the top of my abilities in all the years that I've been playing is the double bass pedal.  I have improved my expression and coordination of what I feel I want to create to a point which I never expected to accomplish. 
I have also added a second hi-hat system, which is remotely operated with the left foot also, that I have new expectations to reach with a lot more practice.

BUT FOR NOW...A TOAST...TO ALL THOSE THAT INNOVATE...AND ALL THE ADDED FUN THEY HAVE CREATED
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KenSanders
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2011, 04:03:58 PM »

Good to see Tomm's comment back on DSA.  Welcome back our friend.  Wink


Actually, there may be some DSA readers who may even feel that the auxillary hi hat rigs with cables, are the most significant device developed in recent years.

Maybe, they'll be more discussion forthcoming.  For me, it's still the double beater pedal; but there are lots of folks (I'm sure) who can cite other devices that have changed their drumming capabilities enormosely.

Then there is also the foot operated cowbell and other foot operated instruments that might be discussed.
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 02:22:23 AM »

I guess no one believes the drum machine gets any vote.   Grin
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2013, 06:13:08 PM »

Modern drum heads by a mile. If you consider how much a decent set of modern heads can make, even to a starter kit, compared to the heads it comes with, Its a revelation.

I can only imagine what tuning was like when heads were effected by temperature and humidity. Must have been a nightmare.

Was there a great range of tuning available on calf skin heads?

Cheers.

.
 Undecided

I would have thought that drummers just rolled with it - no pun intended Cool
My vote for the greatest invention since the Hi Hat?
The sequencer..bye bye to  ill informed guitarists and undisciplined time keepers Grin
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 07:53:13 PM »

Hi!

About the drum heads.  The old heads (calf skin) definitely sound better.  The down side is, as Ken said, they were hard to keep in tune.  But, when they were in tune they had a great sound that you can't get with today's heads.  I don't know if you can still get calf skin heads, but if you could, I would use them regardless of the troublesome downside.

As far as drum machines go, I think they are the most insidious, atrocious, despicable, disgusting, heinous, repulsive, wretched, loathsome, awful, repugnant, nauseating, obnoxious, stinking, lousy, foul, offensive, sleazy, odious, pieces of crap ever invented.  And, I'm being nice.   
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KenSanders
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2013, 12:30:25 PM »

Well said Don.  I really like the feel of calf skin heads on the snare drum, but they are not a practical option for me as far a live performance situations (travel, climate changes, etc.).

 
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Ken Sanders
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 08:42:00 PM »

I agree  with that.  If there were some way to make a head that had that feel and sound that also could be practical and not so troublesome, it would be a great invention.

Of course I like not having to do a tune up on the drums every time the weather changes, but I miss that great sound, especially for the rolls.
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 08:40:21 PM »

I know these heads are not the same, but I changed to Remo Fiberskin heads on my kit.  At first it was just an aesthetic thing, I always used coated heads, and my drums originally came with calf skin (made no later than early to mid 50's).  White pearl and thought it would be a good look.  Well, I previously used Remo Ambassador beaters, and diplomat resonate.  When I changed the batter heads to Fiberskin, WOW, what a great sound!  Very warm, really like it.  Again, know it is not the same as calf skin, but it is a really warm sound.  Glad I made the change.  Still use an Aquarian coated batter on my snare, just seems to hold up to brushes way better than any head I have used.  And I use brushes a good bit.
Tom
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