RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Deagan Steel Marimbaphone, Model 7015

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 16, 2020

    Deagan Marimbaphone

    2004-03-01
    donated by Charles H. Trexlor, III and Carl D. Sarine

    Manufactured during the first few decades of the 20th century, Deagan’s marimbaphones were designed as novelty instruments for use on the stage or in the home. Deagan Catalog G boasted that the instrument “is a most valuable addition to any orchestra in which it will replace the Italian Harp,” would “blend perfectly with the voice,” and was “very adaptable for home use.” It further described the instrument’s tone and use by saying that “as the instrument is very simple to play and the tone is of absolutely the very finest quality, being similar to that of Musical Glasses, it makes an ideal instrument for a Music Room.”

    The marimbaphone’s bars were manufactured of high-quality steel, which provided excellent sustaining characteristics and projection. The instrument has several unique features, the most important one being the ability to independently rotate each set of bars to a vertical position, allowing the performer to bow the bars on the ends. Additionally, each bar was manufactured with a curved end to assist with the bowing technique.

    When the bars are in the horizontal position, the performer has the option of positioning the accidentals at the same level as the naturals, or in the more familiar raised and overlapping position seen on most mallet instruments today. The instrument can be struck with mallets as well as bowed when in the horizontal position, and can be performed on by more than one player using both techniques if so desired.

    Catalog G offered marimbaphones in ranges of approximately 2, 2 1 ⁄ 2, 3, 3 1 ⁄ 2, 4, and 4 1 ⁄ 2 octaves, with a variety of starting pitches. The instrument was also offered in “high” and “low” pitch tuning, as it was manufactured before the adoption of A=440 tuning by the American Federation of Musicians in May 1917. This model, 7015, is tuned in “high” pitch (A=440), with a range of 3 octaves (F2 to F5). The bars are from 1 3/16 inches to 1 5/8 inches in width, range in length from 6 to 12 inches, and are graduated in thickness from 0.6cm to 0.2cm from the shortest to the longest bar. It stands 32 inches in height, is 42 1 ⁄ 2 inches in length, and 20 3 ⁄ 4 inches at the widest end. 

  • E. W. Kent, No. 1500 Drum Outfit

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 12, 2020

    EW Kent

    Donated by Monty Ewing 2010-01-01

    The E.W. Kent Manufacturing Company was established in the latter part of the 1940s by two brothers, Ed and Bill Kent. Located in Ken- more, New York, they produced American-made, inexpensive quality drums until the late 1960s. The company offered two primary lines of drums, their Deluxe Professional line and their Economy Profes- sional line. In addition to drums used for drumsets, they made parade (marching) drums and tambourines. Near the end of the company’s history, the Kent brothers began to import shells and other parts from Japan, ending its “Made in the U.S.A.” identity. In addition to market- ing drums with the E. W. Kent brand name, the firm also manufactured drums for other companies with brand names such as Paramount, Revere, and Musketeer.

    This complete “outfit,” No. 1500, was sold ready-to-play with all drums, hardware, and cymbal. The outfit is comprised of a 5 1⁄2 x 14 inch snare drum, 9 x 13 inch tom, 14 x 22 inch bass drum, a 12-inch Kent “Turkish-type” cymbal, bass drum pedal, snare stand, tom mount, cymbal post, sticks and brushes. The outfit also features Kent’s ratchet design tom holder, chrome-plated hardware, disappearing bass drum spurs and cymbal post, and Remo Weather King drumheads sold with the E.W. Kent brand name.

    All drums on this outfit have six lugs with separate tension for each head and two-ply, maple shells. The drums are covered with “silver sparkle” wrap, which has changed color due to the normal process of aging with this type of material. The snare and tom each have a single, center-lug design with triple-flanged hoops, but the bass drum has separate lugs for each head and wooden hoops. Though the snare drum has Kent’s early strainer, the blue, aluminum badge suggests that this set was manufactured in the latter part of the company’s operating years, probably the early 1960s. The snare stand, now a Hamilton brand, is not part of the original outfit.

  • Wurlitzer Bass Drum, Model No. 1460

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 07, 2020

    Wurlitzer Bass Drum

    Donated by Tom Lonardo, Jr., 2009-02-04

    The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company was established in 1856 in Cincinnati, Ohio by Rudolph Wurlitzer (1831–1941), a German immigrant whose family had manufactured and sold musical instruments for over a century before his birth. Wurlitzer’s Catalog Number 118, dated 1921, states that Wurlitzer is the “Largest General Musical House in the World,” and as such, manufactured and sold all types of drums and percussion instruments.

    Page 75 of the catalog bears the heading “The Unrivaled Wurlitzer Bass Drums” and includes the Model No. 1460 Bass Drum, a rope-tuned drum available in ten different sizes, ranging from 12 to 14 inches in depth and from 24 to 36 inches in width. The drum was available in either maple or mahogany shells, and it had detachable leather ears with “improved type cord hooks.” Twelve ears, each with a pair of hooks, are shown on the catalog picture.

    This 12 x 26-inch drum was part of a collection belonging to Tom Lonardo, Sr., who owned Lonardo Piano Co. in Paris, Tennessee from 1963 to 1991. It features a 3-ply mahogany shell—reinforced inside by two maple hoops—and natural-finished maple counterhoops. Though originally manufactured with twelve leather tuning ears, only eleven decorated, leather tuning ears remain. These ears, in conjunction with the eleven “improved” cord hooks on each side of the drum, provide tension on the rope for tuning the two calfskin heads. Inside, a prominent paper label identifies the maker: “The Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. Manufacturers of Drums, Band Instruments. Cincinnati, O. Send for Catalogue.”

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Percussive Arts Society
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