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Old 04-15-2020, 11:49 AM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Knowing me, I probably already have a thread or two pertaining to this subject floating around....but, since we are all quarantined, I guess I might as well torture you all with another one!

Okay, so back near the turn of the millennium, a few drum designers came out of left field with new drum construction designs that actually had some physical/scientific reasoning behind them.

The first type I remember seeing was the Peavey RadialPro 1000 drums. They definitely caught my eye and I thought they looked very cool. But, as most drummers are traditionalists, I found myself in the minority....in other words, most drummers didn't like the look. But, I couldn't help but wonder what was behind the "weird" look. There had to be a reason...right? Yes. And I just found this fantastic video that explains the idea far better than I could describe.....so please enjoy the following:


If you want to skip to the meat of the RP1000 design, then jump to the 3:30 mark.
This design was first introduced by a dude named Steven Volpp and I think there was some lawsuit stuff between Peavey and Volpp before Peavey ended up with ownership.

The idea addresses the "problem" (?) that is created when a traditional lugged drum torsions the shell in odd ways while under tension. The Volpp/Peavey design allows the tension rods to pull down in a completely vertical way in addition to allowing the shell to remain completely round. I think the belief is/was that a shell that was "warped" out of its roundness by lug tension wasn't able to resonate to its fullest.

The Peavey RadialPro snare drum design was the exact opposite of the tom design -in that, the snare was a big, thick block of rock maple that didn't resonate at all. The design did allow the vertical tension rod alignment, though.
I actually owned one of these snare drums. The shell, itself was very well machined. Everything else, however, was very inexpensive, generic, "Gibralter"-type hardware. All the metal pieces were made of "Chinesium" -best name I ever heard for it....basically very cheap alloy -teh stuff that looks like chrome but has a slight rainbow coloring to it...you all probably know what I mean...In other words, the metal pieces are where the corners were cut. The drum I owned sounded like many snare drums sound and was nothing spectacularly different. I didn't play it much and sold it fairly soon after. I regretted not buying a RP1000 kit when it came through the music store....a red one that was lovely and the toms were exceptional...I mean reeeeallly exceptionally nice. Oh well.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:00 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

The second design idea that I would like to discuss (and gloat about again), are the drums made by Ivor Arbiter at around the turn of the millennium, as well. These were known on the market as "Arbiter AT" -the "AT" standing for "Advanced Tuning".
Arbiter had already invented a rather crazy tuning idea years earlier when he released his "Autotune" drums...I'll try and touch on those in subsequent posts.

Arbiter was a guy from England who had a vast history of all kinds of things related to drums and British musicians. He is a whole chapter in and of himself. But I want to just focus on his last, biggest drum invention of his life.

As the story goes, Ivor was working on his boat and took note of the way one of the engine or exhaust component connections was made -involving a v-shaped ring that pinched two flanged pieces together with one, perpendicular tension screw. Arbiter saw a way to adapt this connection technique to tension a drumhead onto a shell in a similar way. I don't have a cool video that explains it, but I will try to dig up some reference materials when I can find something....


But, again, the idea was to keep a round shell round and make tuning easier and more accurate. In my experience with owning an AT kit, I can attest, first-hand, that the AT system does work. The design, however, utilizes some VERY heavy shells (12-ply rock maple made by Reliant) and the set is impractical to move around. They are more of a parlor kit only...set it up and don't movie it!
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Last edited by O-Lugs; 04-16-2020 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:11 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Probably the most famous innovative idea in drum designs was the Pearl "Free-Floating" system...where the idea was to be able to utilize interchangeable shells with a tuning contraption that would allow these shells to "float" between the heads and still allow independent tensioning at the same time. Of course, as well-meaning of an idea this was....it's physically impossible to achieve. That being said, the idea sold rather well and is one of the better received innovations.

I'll have to go back and try to find some visual reference material for these designs. I welcome anyone who wants to join in and help out, too!
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:15 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Gaither Custom drums (I think the guy's name is Mark Gaither) came up with a really cool idea that involved a kind of internal "spoke wheel" whereby the lug entered INTO the drum and connected to this spoked wheel inside the drum and thus allowed separate tensioning with minimal connection to the shell, itself. I have looked for refencematerial for these drums, but it's not readily available...but, again, I will try to find something and add the material later....



Ok...tired of typing for now! If anyone wants to jump in and add or offer something to relate to this subject, then please do!
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Last edited by O-Lugs; 04-15-2020 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:33 PM
Pedal_Pusher Pedal_Pusher is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Wonderful thread, thanks for posting this. I wonder if the Gaither design is based on the earlier Firchie snare drums? Are you familiar with them? Pearl made the Vari Pitch toms with roto toms over shells (and more rarely whole kits) in the 1970's.I would also recommend adding the Drumnetics bass drum pedal to this list since it uses magnets instead of traditional springs. I play one of Mike's pedals every day and really love it.
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Old 04-15-2020, 03:01 PM
DownTownFarmer DownTownFarmer is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

All this work to make the drums resonate more and 9 times out of 10 the drummer will use some sort of damping to reduce it.
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:52 PM
OddBall OddBall is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by O-Lugs View Post
Gaither Custom drums (I think the guy's name is Mark Gaither) came up with a really cool idea that involved a kind of internal "spoke wheel" whereby the lug entered INTO the drum and connected to this spoked wheel inside the drum and thus allowed separate tensioning with minimal connection to the shell, itself. I have looked for refencematerial for these drums, but it's not readily available...but, again, I will try to find something and add the material later....

MATT GAITHER SNARE DRUM PHL w TREECE 1994 START first snare made in manyunk,pa - YouTube


Ok...tired of typing for now! If anyone wants to jump in and add or offer something to relate to this subject, then please do!


I like the "jabby jibby jibby jibby things next to the filled in holes.
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Old 04-15-2020, 05:05 PM
OddBall OddBall is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTownFarmer View Post
All this work to make the drums resonate more and 9 times out of 10 the drummer will use some sort of damping to reduce it.
......... Yup.
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:04 AM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTownFarmer View Post
All this work to make the drums resonate more and 9 times out of 10 the drummer will use some sort of damping to reduce it.
No doubt!

But...here's the thing...I'd never want anyone to design a drum that is naturally muted sounding...because many of those exist already! You can always take away resonance after the fact....like 9 out of 10 drummers will do...but you can't add it....I mean, yes, the mounts can affect resonance, too, I guess...but we will save mounting systems for another thread.

One of the big ideas behind these tuning systems is/was to try and keep the shell as round as possible without torquing it into a wobbly shape. Peavey approached the problem with the radial bridges and Arbiter did it with SUPER thick shells and a continuous ring that encircled the entire shell and distributed the tension uniformly. Gaither came up with a way of transferring the tension to a separate structure altogether. And Pearl...well Pearl's system was really heavy and clunky and (to my ear) did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do...namely choked the resonance. To my knowledge, they only applied it to snare drums and not to toms.
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:10 AM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Innovative designs that attempted to "improve" upon tradition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedal_Pusher View Post
Wonderful thread, thanks for posting this. I wonder if the Gaither design is based on the earlier Firchie snare drums? Are you familiar with them? Pearl made the Vari Pitch toms with roto toms over shells (and more rarely whole kits) in the 1970's.I would also recommend adding the Drumnetics bass drum pedal to this list since it uses magnets instead of traditional springs. I play one of Mike's pedals every day and really love it.
Never heard of them, but that's an awesome and truly innovative idea!
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