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Our future! The history in a nutshell. Last viewed: 10 minutes ago


First and foremost, I wish to thank my friend TommyP for taking care of the front end of the forum. I believe he has been helping for at least 17+ years, but knowing Tommy, he has the actual information at his fingertips :) How we met and became long time friends is a good story, it does involve a snare drum! Go figure…

He handles all of the daily posts and keeping things in check. He is a wealth of information which he shares freely on the message board. He routinely comes to my defense when there is a negative vibe about the forum. He is not paid, or given anything in return for his time. There is a lot more to his contributions, for that, I’m indebted to him.

This is how the history goes for the forum… Way back when there was a forum (Harry Cangany’s) that was created for people to talk drums. That was back in 2005 and some of you were probably members there, more than 17 years ago. I would go there and read the information and noticed over time a TOXIC environment about different people in the business. The trolls were in full force back then and it was more a place for negativity than learning the history of drums. It got pretty ugly at the time. I will not mention names, but many of these people are still in the business. Eventually, Harry had enough and shut it down. That is when was started by me and (started by Chris Jensen) began. My first post on my forum was on 8-2-2005. Prior to the forum I was originally posting updates on the “Web Site Updates” page here -- this is how I let people know when I was adding new information to the main web site prior to creating the forum. Regardless, the community had an option of two main drum forums. There were others, but these two web sites initially were about vintage drums.

Let me digress a little to bring everyone up to speed about the other web sites attached to the forum which started years before the forum. Prior to the Cangany “Forum-gate” The main website, originally domains, were purchased 8-14-2002, 20 years ago! (Side note: I have other vintage drum domains on standby and also vintagecymbalguide) I felt “vintagesnaredrums” was too narrow in scope and why I made the name switch early on in the development of the web site. Digressing a little further, my love for drums and even the history started when I was 9 years old when I began my life of drumming. My first teacher was Joe Varhula. He was an amazing teacher that instilled excellent rudimental skills and training early on. I was not allowed to even get a drum set until he said it was OK and I was skilled enough to move to the next level of drumming. I took lessons all through high school and started teaching drums at the age of 16. When I started teaching, most parents purchased a drum set prior to even consulting a teacher. It was a battle to focus the students on the rudiments like I did and had to nurture both to keep them interested.

I kept everything that I could relating to drums and history my entire drumming career. There was no eBay as we know it now, web sites, or books that captured the history at that time in detail. As I moved along in life and music, I did all of the standard things, playing drums, percussion in band, orchestra and as I already mentioned started teaching drums. (Side note: one small collection I have is over 200 drum books! I worked in a music store and bought most new drum books on the market. Maybe it is 300, I lost track)

There is a lot more to my early drumming/collecting story, instead, I will forge on. As I continued my passion for drumming through college, I played in bands, performed percussion in musicals and plays, had a long stint in a Hawaiian tour group drumming the different styles of the Hawaiian Islands and playing at big events & parties. My only notable claim to fame was that my college percussion ensemble got to play at Carnegie Hall on stage. That was an amazing experience! Oh, and I got to play with Louie Bellson a few times because he was a friend of another great teacher, Jake Jerger, who taught me through my college years. There is an article I wrote in the Slingerland book about his life and story that Rob Cook made room for. Thank you Rob Cook!

So with all of that now stated in the abridged format, as a drum teacher for over 15 years, students would come in and say, “I want a new drum set and no longer want these old drums” That was always good news to my ear. After trying to talk them out of it like the great Willy Wonka would, as each child decided to make a regrettable life decision, I said no problem and I paid them what they wanted for those old drums.

My life of collecting was fueled by teaching and also every sale, garage sale, and the then new eBay and online sources that I could find. I started building web sites for others and eventually started building the Vintage Drum Guide. During all of this time in the early 2000’s I made connections with people in the drum business, behind the scenes, offering to build free web sites in exchange for bartering of you guessed it… drums and related items. I could still mention every business at that time I helped and worked for behind the scenes. Many are still doing what they do and some of my work is still there! I developed a knack for photography and did camera work for some of them and also did massive projects for another drum web site for many years, working on database and related drum web site projects. I never asked for money! Probably one of my downfalls, but I made up for it in free gear and vintage items they could part with. Everybody had to have a web presence and many of these early companies had the inventory to barter with.

Now back to the first digression about the main web site… I had created a HUGE collection and I did not know exactly what I had because there was limited online information to learn about it and to help navigate my research. That is why the web site was first called Vintage Snare Drums. It was a way to “Date” a snare drum based on catalog time-lines and visual inspection. So, I took every catalog I had and started scanning just the snare drum and later the drum set sections so people can quickly date the drums they had just by looking at the catalog pages. As you now know, it turned into much more and I started cataloging everything I owned at the time, adding it online (web site updates) and organizing it by years and manufacturers.

The web site has gone through many iterations and I recently uncovered back up CD’s with its history through life. I may put some of that online for history sake. So my passion of vintage drums was put online and shared with the world and has become, in my mind, the one and only surviving source of this history at this scale. It is 1,000’s of pages and tens of thousands of images. It is HUGE... I did all of it to help people learn and help them to get answers for the drums they owned, like I needed for what I owned. I never thought about using the site and the forum to make money. I have always paid for the servers and fees out of pocket. (Later I did take donations through the forum) There is so much more to the story and how I made connections and long time relationships which still stand today. I did step away from the business and this web site to pursue other endeavors and like most struggling musicians needed a way to make real money. I did now have a growing family to support. I was actually doing OK with what I was doing, but the forces of others and life made me think I needed more. I graduated college with a business degree and a minor in music performance and started my life as an entrepreneur business owner, and still to this day remain a self-employed business owner!

Well, I did make more money and was successful at other things always thinking that one day I would get back to my true passion. When I stopped working on the web site and forum, I was not done collecting and finding new historical items behind the scenes. I did have adult money now and was still collecting. What you see now is nothing compared to what I have. I own probably one of the largest and rarest collections of drum history that has yet to been seen or shown to the world. This is what is looming over my shoulders and picking at me daily.

I always thought I would get back to this life project and start scanning and adding to the history that I know all of the diehard collectors love and want to see. The more looming aspect is that we will all die and this history and information like life will go away and our collections will be parted out and or just given to Goodwill and who knows where. I’m sure many of you are thinking the same thing. I know that sounds morbid, but we all need to have a plan for our stuff and hopefully you have planned and set-up what your survivors are to do with it.

So the above is why I did what I did and how I got to this point. Writing this is to give you all a little insight into my history and inevitably your history by participating. It all boils down to why I even started this post. It is to come up with a plan going forward that involves all of you and me continuing on with the web site and forum. I wish the web sites to live on and I’m planning now on making sure that happens with all of your help and possible inclusion into the history. I think forums in general are hanging on in many realms, with communities like this trying to sustain them and keep them active and alive.

My goal has and always will be to have a web site that is an information treasure trove hopefully for the next generation like us. You may not remember, but skateboarding went away in the 90’s only to return stronger today. Is there a next generation of collectors with a passion like all of us? Do we want them here to read the negativity, *****ing and bickering, or do we want them to latch on to the passion of our history? You are all part of this history. You are leaving a legacy in what is posted and discussed. This is why Tommy P tries to quench the bickering and negativity and stick up for me and this forum. He knows my passion and understands the true mission and history of the web sites. To give knowledge away freely, to spark interest in something that still means a lot to us and hopefully to a younger generation.

That was sure a mouthful. So what can we do? I think it would be great to get each person on the forum to provide me a “Your Collection Page” that I can include on the main web site. It can include a picture of you, or not, just your forum name, or real life name, pictures of your gear, collections and whatever you want to include. If you have a story to tell, that would be the place. You are all part of the history! You were the ones digging deep, researching and helping people with their drum and drumming questions. I have a few of our drumming friends that have passed on, already in memoriam on the web site. Remember Bruce Felter? He had some amazing drums.. This is the page I’m talking about This is where I will add this information and I will update it, rework it and make sure you have a place there.

I will make sure my survivors understand the importance of the history and will have it set that they renew and pay for the domain names for years into the future. I will make sure the server fees are covered for at least 20 years. The hardest and most expensive part will be this forum and keeping the data safe and set for the next 20-30 years. That will require an update to the forum. This I will do on another server while keeping this forum running. I will be working on the logistics behind the scenes. This of course will require an expert in databases, servers and computer programming. Once I have all of the costs, people in place I will let you all know.

I wrote the above in April and since I wrote it, the server crashed and hard drive failed. (foreshadow?) The site was fortunately backed up and we were able to restore it in a 4 or 5 days. Now the site is running smooth. I have contracted a coder/vbulletin expert to upgrade the forum to the most recent version that allows us to maintain the look and gallery which we all know and love. There are probably 6-10K images there!

I will probably be moving to a VPN, which is more expensive, installing the SSL and cleaning up the forum and securing it for the future. I’m estimating based on a VPN server which offers a pretty good rate for a 3 year pre-payment, the current work being done and any other fees, to be $1500 - $2000. I will keep you all posted and depending on my financial situation at the time will probably need to open up for donations to help cover some of the costs.

Posted on 2 years ago

David! What a GREAT history you provided! For those truly interested, this is a fast read! I really like the part about those of us with collections to upload them for future VDF'ers! I have a pretty nice MIJ snare drum collection that I'm sure many would love to see!

VDF pages are now loading quickly and it's a pleasure having our little community back. Keep up the good work!


Posted on 2 years ago

I will leave it up to each person how detailed they want to get. Send me photos - copy/name or forum name etc. and I will make a page showing your collection at that time. I do realize over time collections dwindle, get sold, so it is just a "This is what I owned". Maybe one day someone will land on the page and realize that they own a drum that you used to own.

Posted on 2 years ago
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