Evolution of the Modern Drum

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The drum kit is an all-American invention. When brass bands moved indoors it was impractical to have one drummer for each drum. Once snare stands and drum pedals were invented drum kits evolved to meet the needs of musical groups from jazz to rock. Scroll down to witness the evolution of the modern drum in action. 

 

1876

“Double drumming” (one person playing more than one drum) became popular.

drum-timeline

1883

German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch founds Gretsch Company in Brooklyn, New York, to make banjos, drums, and tambourines.

drum-pedal

1890

Earliest drum pedals are developed.

1898

U.G. Leedy opens Leedy-Cooley Mfg. Co. in Indianapolis, Indiana.

1909

The Ludwig brothers found Ludwig & Ludwig Drum Company. They design a foot pedal capable of faster tempos that remains a standard today. Ludwig is now part of Selmer.

1927

Henry Heanon Slingerland opens Slingerland Drum Company in Chicago, Illinois. Now owned by Gibson, Slingerland is a renowned maker of jazz drums.

drum-sketch

1930

The first standard drum kits take shape. Gene Krupa is credited with helping to set the standard for equipment and drum sizes that are still often used today in jazz.

1939

Jazz legend Louie Bellson, sketches a double bass drum kit for an art class that Gretsch eventually builds.

1940

Smaller kits become popular with be bop drummers who focus on the ride cymbal.

1949

Clair Omar Musser at Northwestern University creates the first drum machine.

1954

George Way Drum Company formed. He designed the unique round “turret” tuning lugs that are used on DW Drums today.

drum-blue

1957

Remo Belli founds Remo to make heads from Mylar, a synthetic, inexpensive, weather-resistant material.

1957

Drummer Herb Brochstein founds ProMark, the first American drumstick company to successfully market sustainable Japanese oak drumsticks.

1958

Joe Calato founds Regal Tip, which revolutionized the drumstick industry with its nylon tip drumsticks.

drum-close-up

1960

Drum kits begin to expand to accommodate rock music.

1961

The Percussive Arts Society forms to promote drumming, drums, and percussion.

drum-black-and-white

1963

Boston Symphony timpanist Vic Firth begins producing high quality paired drumsticks.

1973

Don Lombardi founds Drum Workshop (DW) school in Santa Monica, California, then moves to a production facility in 1978
to build drums.

1971

Graeme Edge of The Moody Blues and Sussex University Professor Brian Groves create the first electronic drum kit and use it in the song “Procession.”

1975

John Stayton Simonton, Jr. creates the first user-programmable rhythm machine.

1982

Drum makers Simmons, Yamaha, Pearl, Roland, and others, begin releasing full electronic drum kits to the market.

1983

DW introduces first double pedal.

1985

Roland releases Octapad, the first drum pad controller.

1991

The Vater Family officially establishes Vater Percussion in Boston, Massachusetts, though they had been hand-turning drumsticks since the 1950s.

drum-pad

1997

Roland introduces the TD-10 V-Drum Kit, greatly improving sound quality and playability of electronic drums.

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Instead of being dedicated to one instrument, young musicians, or professionals, MakingMusicMag.com is a lifestyle resource for all music makers, regardless of age, instrument, or ability. We focus on providing educational articles teaching people how to play an instrument, but we also favor travel pieces, music related health articles, interesting news stories, and plenty more.

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