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Old 09-01-2005, 01:40 PM
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Steve Maxwell Steve Maxwell is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 46
Default Re: Hinger Touch Tone Snare Drum - web site visitor

Hinger Touch Tone was a company that specialized primarily in the Hinger Tympani. Great instruments. But, Hinger also made snare drums. In fact, Al Duffy, who was one of the very first, (if not THE first), true custom drum builders, was part of Hinger for awhile. Al previously had been doing his custom work out of Frank Ippolito's Pro Percussion in NYC. I used to go there in the early 70s and study with Papa Jo Jones and then I'd hang around for a few extra days and watch Al working in his section of the shop. While Al was at Frank's he began experimenting with fiberglass/acrylic shells. In fact, Al Duffy used to build Billy Cobham's snare drums. (Pick up Billy's 70s album titled "Crosswinds" and listen to the snare drum. That drum is a custom made fiberglass snare built by Al for Billy. I wish I had that snare drum in my hands today). Anyhow, Al eventually left Frank's and went to work for Hinger. He helped them design their snare drums, among other things. Their snares were great all-around instruments well suited to many applications from jazz to rock, to classical percussion. At one point they built a snare that actually had a two piece shell that was open all the way around the center. That one was pretty strange, and I'm not really sure that there was any sonic advantage to it. Anyhow, if you can find one of the more traditional Hinger Touch Tone snare drums I would recommend that you buy it. I have been looking for one for a long time. I think, if you are lucky, you might be able to get one in the $400-$500 range.

Al Duffy eventually left Hinger and went on to Pearl where he was in charge of R&D for quite awhile. Unfortunately Al died (around 1985 I think), and he was much too young to go. Probably only about 50 yrs old or so when he passed away. Don't remember exactly. Al was also the first guy to adapt the old Camco BD pedal with a chain drive. He was a true innovator and many folks don't know about him. When he worked in Frank Ippolito's place he would order raw shells from Slingerland. Then he would cut the bearing edges and do custom staining of the shells. He was the first builder that I ever saw that used gold plated hardware. When I was in the shop one day he had a Slingerland double bass kit on the shelf ready to go. The kit had two 22s, a 13 and a 16 and a matching SD. The kit was being built for the then-current drummer on tour with Diana Ross and the Supremes. The kit was a walnut stain with gold plated hardware (lugs, rims, tension rods, Ts, claws). Truly stunning. Doesn't sound all that special today, but in the early 70s something like this had never been seen before.

Also, Al was a very cordial, considerate man. I used to spend a lot of time asking him questions because I was fascinated by the entire process. He always took the time to answer every question and he never seemed bothered by it. The man really loved his work.

In my shop today, I always remember how Al treated me when people come in and ask questions. Al took the time to pass along his knowledge and he encouraged others to do the same thing.

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