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  #1  
Old 12-06-2009, 05:34 PM
Gerry Gerry is offline
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Default First commercially available brushes?

Anyone here have access to 1920s drum catalogues? If so, when do brushes first start making an appearance?

The earliest recording I've been able to find that feature brushes dates to 1924. Mostly, however, they're not that common on recordings until the end of the 20s.

So, anyone have any old Ludwig/Leedy/whatever brochures? I think the first Ludwig brushes were called 'Syncho-sticks', or something like that. When were they first manufactured?
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:08 PM
MastroSnare MastroSnare is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

I while ago I bought the Ludwig catalogs on CD from a guy named Clay Greene. I don't know if that's still available but it sure has a wealth of info. In the first Ludwig catalog on that CD, from 1922, it lists a pair of retractable brushes but calls them "jazz sticks". They give no price.

Many of the drum companies back then bought their extra stuff from Walberg and Auge. They sold stuff to the drum companies and I would suspect that they would have had brushes very early. I saw a picture of a W & A catalog on the internet and I think it was possibly pre-1900 and would love to see what's in that.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Here is the 1923 catalog from Ludwig. 1923 Ludwig Catalog

Brushes were around much earlier, here is a 1913 Patent since they were originally used for fly killing. This patent shows retractable brushes.

I did a college paper on brushes many moons ago and you will see more patents here.

The one piece of the puzzle that I have never been able to pinpoint is the first drummer to come up with the idea. I still think a drummer had an early fly killer and hit a fly on a drum and the rest was history.

Also, visiting the home page you will see there are a bunch of very early catalogs on the left side lower section.

David
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:13 PM
Gerry Gerry is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

David, thank you so much for this info. That fly-swat patent is a real find and has made my day!

I'll check out your other links tonight when I have a moment.

Re the first drummer to use them, we'll probably never know as the first jazz didn't get recorded until 1917 and, by the look of things, brushes had already been around for a while.

I think the earliest recording I've come across so far is the Fletcher Henderson recording Copenhagen. I say think as the brush sound (if that's what it is) is pretty 'unique'. There's a section where you hear a percussion effect like a wet rag being slapped on a hard floor. This same sound can be heard on the track Knockin' A Jug by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra in 1928. The drummer, Kaiser Marshall, played on both tracks and is definitely playing brushes on Knockin' A Jug: you can hear the sweep.

I've experimented with dead-sticking brushes on the drum head, using either hand, and provided a little force is used the sound is remarkably close to the effect Marshall achieved. Not exactly a sensitive performance, and not a style I'd like to emulate, but it does suggest that Marshall was using brushes during part of Copenhagen. No sweep though, so that style seems to have only come about in the late 20s (Zutty Singleton, mainly).

I've joined the discussion group of http://www.redhotjazz.com so hopefully I'll get some more input from early jazz enthusiasts. If anyone wants to hear the tracks I mentioned, here are the links (scroll down for recordings):

http://www.redhotjazz.com/lao.html

http://www.redhotjazz.com/fho.html

Look forward to reading your paper. Again, many thanks!

Gerry
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:50 PM
Gerry Gerry is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Non-retractables from earlier times:

Link 1 (1899)

Link 2 (1908)

And these are just patented 'fly killers'. Obviously they were around from the first days of jazz...
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Huge Favor!

I need this kind of history - articles for the web site. so if you are working on a project and can share with the main web site, that would be great.

Keep posting here and I will update the info I stumbled upon.

David
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:06 PM
Gerry Gerry is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

David, don't worry I'll post any additional info I come across.

I'm mainly studying early brush-styles; solely for the purpose of learning how to play that way. I've lost count of the soundies, documentaries and films (mostly terrible!) that I've watched. Bit-by-bit, though, I've been piecing together the main styles from the late 20s through to the end of the swing era...although it's far from comprehensive: whatever footage exists showing drummers using brushes is all I have to go by, but that doesn't mean to say said drummers were the main innovators.

As a result of my studies I became curious about the earliest use of brushes, hence my question. I'd heard abut 'fly-swats' being used, but this seemed unlikely as I had in my mind the rectangular, mesh things that we use today. Little did I realise that they looked like the 'jazz-brushes' that we all know and love today. Once again, thanks for linking me to all that info (great stuff!)

Re early recordings: although the first jazz was recorded from 1917 onwards, earlier blues and ragtime recordings exist. There's a similar website to redhotjazz that specialises in pre-war blues, so I'll have to trawl their audio library. I've posted here and there, so hopefully some experts will guide me to earlier recordings than the Fletcher Henderson one featuring Kaiser Marshall.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:15 PM
Gerry Gerry is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Incidentally, there's a little info about Kaiser Marshall in this article about Knockin' a Jug:

http://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2009/...rshalls-truth/

On the recording, the brushes kick in around the 34 second mark. Prior to that he's playing on the rim...or slurping soda rather loudly through a straw (sounds like it!) Love him or loath him, you certainly can't ignore him!

Last edited by Gerry; 12-07-2009 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:39 PM
510 510 is offline
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Boy that fly swatter sure must be what led to the design we use all these years. Just for thought though:

I‘ve heard of folks using brooms on newspaper to get “brushes on drum” sounds. Those old “whisk brooms”, that some here might remember, could have been used that way at some point. Of course they wouldn't be as flexable as the swatter.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: First commercially available brushes?

Here is an earlier Ludwig catalog shot.

David
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