RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Paul Guerrero’s Sonor “New York” Drumkit

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jan 23, 2023

    Sonor New York Drumkit

    Donated by Celeste Guerrero, 1993-08-01

    Paul Guerrero (November 5, 1931–March 3, 1989) had an extensive career as not only a professional drummer and musician, but also as a teacher. Born in New Braunfels, Texas, to Mexican-American parents, Guerrero served as a drummer for Woody Herman’s band, Stan Kenton’s band, the North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, and the 4th Army Band. He also performed with major artists such as Henry Mancini, the 5th Dimension, Dean Martin, Sonny and Cher, Chet Baker, and Charlie Barnet. Guerrero earned a doctorate from North Texas State University, eventually spending much of his teaching and performing career in the Dallas area, where he taught at North Texas State, Southern Methodist University, and Richland College. Not only was Guerrero a drummer for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, but he also served as a member of the Board of Directors for that organization.

    Throughout his extensive career of both live and recorded performances, Guerrero endorsed Sonor drums and Evans drumheads. This set, a 6-piece “New York” model Sonor kit, dates from about 1970 and consists of an 8 x 12 tom, 9 x 13 tom, 16 x 16 floor tom, 16 x 18 floor tom, 14 x 22 bass drum, and a 5 x 14 snare drum (model D-426). The toms and bass drum are constructed with 6-ply beech shells and covered with rosewood in a vertical rather than horizontal direction. The drums are equipped with Evans UNO 58 heads. This kit also features “slotted” tension rods and a “rifled” surface on thumbscrews for the hardware, as well as Sonor’s characteristic staggered, “teardrop” lugs for the toms.

    The kit’s hardware is comprised of two cymbal stands, a hi-hat stand, a double tom mount, snare stand, and bass drum pedal. In addition, Celeste Guerrero donated three pairs of sticks and brushes, an additional 12-inch mounted tom, and the throne used by her late husband, which are not shown. Two Zildjian ride cymbals (both 20 inch) and a pair of 15-inch thin Zildjian hi-hat cymbals are each autographed by Guerrero.

    [Note: A feature article on Guerrero by Victor Rendón appeared in the December 2011 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.]
  • Deagan Marimba-Xylophone, Model 4724

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Dec 09, 2022

    Deagan Marimba-Xylophone, Model 4724

    Donated by Caryl Rae Hancock 2010-08-01 
    During the first few decades of the 20th century, the J. C. Deagan Company of Chicago manufactured a wide variety of mallet keyboard instruments. Among these was the MarimbaXylophone in which they attempted to combine the tone and range of their marimba in the low register with the tone and range of their xylophone in the upper register. Featuring the best Honduras rosewood, trademarked as “Nagaed” (Deagan spelled backward), as well as larger bar sizes, the instrument produced “a tone superior to that of an ordinary Marimba or of an ordinary Xylophone.” 
    Marketed as the Deagan instrument having the “largest range of any Marimba or Xylophone type instrument,” the marimba-xylophone was available in several models ranging in size from a petite 2 1/2 octaves to a monstrous 6-octave instrument, which allowed several players to perform on a single instrument. At first, it was manufactured with two distinct sized bars, either 1 5/8 x 5/8 inches or 2 x 5/16 inches, but later it was designed with graduated bars. 
    This instrument, Model 4724, was manufactured ca. 1925 and has a range of four octaves, C3 to C7. The smallest bar measures 7 1/4 x 1 1/2 x 3/4 inches and the largest bar measures 17 1/4 x 2 1/4 x 1 inches. The frame is 69 1/2 inches long, 29 3/4 inches at its widest end, and stands 34 1/2 inches in height. The instrument has patented, tunable resonators with a frame made of quarter-sawed oak. Its lightweight, tubular floor rack is designed for quick assembly and ease of transportation. Originally nickel plated, both the floor rack and resonators have been painted gold. Deagan Catalogue “G” (ca. 1918) shows a list price of $310.00 for this model.
  • "Journey of a Rhythm" Costumes and Instruments

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Oct 24, 2022

    Courtesy of the Raíces Latin Music Museum (Nancy McGary, Collection and Exhibitions Manager) and the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, New York.

    The new Rhythm! Discovery Center’s main gallery currently features the “Journey of a Rhythm” exhibit. A portion of this exhibit ties together the evolution and migration of a rhythm—the clave—from Africa and Spain into Latin America and the United States. On loan from the Raíces Latin Music Museum collection, the costumes and instruments on this page illustrate some of the early musical traditions that are evident in the various styles of contemporary Latin American Music.

    RDC Journey Image 1

    This 10 x 9 inch Abakuá drum, which has a wooden shell and animal-skin head, is tuned by tapping down the wooden wedges on the twisted cotton cords. It bears the inscription “Eddy Montalvo, 2 Apr, P. Afrokan, Cuba” and is traditionally played in sets of four.

    Abakuá drum: Gift of Eddie Montalvo to RLMM. PAS Loan 12-2009.

    For rumba, the conga (a cylindrical drum), the claves (two wooden dowels of hardwood) and the guagua (a bamboo drum), along with other percussion instruments, are essential for the traditionally improvised singing and dancing. As Cuban musical styles evolved, these instruments became the voice of the clave. This painted wooden conga, which was owned and played by Miguelito Valdes, has a tacked animalskin head and metal reinforcement rings. It measures 32 3/4 inches in height by 42 inches in circumference around the widest part. This pair of wooden claves, also owned and played by Miguelito Valdes, each measure 9 inches long by 7/8-inch in diameter. The guagua is played with two sticks and typically mounted on a stand.

    RDC Journey Image 2

    Claves and Conga: Gift of Mrs. Miguelito Valdes to RLMM. PAS Loans 9-1009 and 10-2009.
    Guagua: Courtesy of Louis Balzo and The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts. PAS Loan 14-2009.

    Contained within the exhibit are Ochun and Ireme costumes, which illustrate the importance of mythology and the African origins of Cuban music. Ochun, a spirit goddess who reigns over love and marriage, is represented with a costume of yellow, with a detachable waistband. The Ireme costume, which features a tight-fitting garment, a hooded mask, and a broom and staff, symbolizes multiple beliefs of the Abakuá, an Afro-Cuban male religious society with origins in Nigeria and Cameroon. The dances of the Abakuá society, when combined with Bantu traditions of the Congo, provided musical foundations for the use of the clave in the Cuban rumba.

    RDC Journey Image 3

    Ochun costume: Courtesy of Xiomara Rodriguez. PAS Loan 13-2009.
    Ireme costume: Promised gift of Louis Bauzo to RLMM. PAS Loan 11-2009

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