200 Greatest! Gear Breakthroughs
Electronic Drum Pad
Pollard Industries released the first electronic drum pad, the Syndrum, in 1976. Famous players like Carmine Appice took notice and began using this odd-sounding electronic drum. The Syndrum should not be confused with the Synare, a different electronic drumpad introduced by Star Instruments in 1977.
In the early 1970s, Australian drummer/inventor Don Sleishman struck on the novel idea of adapting a double bass drum setup (already popularized by drummers such as Louie Bellson, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon, and Ron Tutt) into a more streamlined configuration. Officially launched in 1978, Sleishman’s “Twin Pedal” set the groundwork for a new generation of players.
Suspended Tom Mount
In an effort to improve the sound quality of toms for recording, Gary Gauger created RIMS (Resonance Isolation Mounting System) in 1979. The RIMS mount suspended the tom without penetrating the shell and avoided the choking effect other tom mounts often imposed on otherwise lovely toms. Today, almost every manufacturer employs some sort of non-penetrating tom suspension mount.
First Digital Sample Drum Machine
Roger Linn designed the LM-1 Drum Computer as a programmable drum machine that used digital samples of acoustic drums. With a list price of $4,995, the LM-1 was not cheap. Nor was its successor, the LINN Drum, which listed for $2,995 in 1982. When these machines came out, many drummers lamented the prospect of being replaced by machines — an unfortunately accurate prophecy.
Chain-Drive Bass Drum Pedal
In the early ’80s, Tama acquired both the rights to Camco’s famous bass pedal and the patent for a modification to Camco’s pedal design made by Frank Ippolito and Albert Duffy of NYC’s Professional Percussion Center. This modification replaced the leather strap drive with a chain and sprocket, increasing the pedal’s power and durability immensely.
As of press time, the precise date of the invention of the multiclamp is unknown. With that said, starting in the early 1980s, heavy-duty hardware became a trend — thus making the mounting of multiple cymbals or toms from one tripod much more feasible. Tama began promoting a “Multi-Holder” clamp system in its 1981 catalog. Today, almost every major manufacturer offers multiclamps.
For its PTS (PreTuned Series) drums, Remo began using a proprietary wood-based shell technology dubbed Acousticon that lacked plies, was light in weight, and was musical sounding. PTS drums have long since disappeared, but Remo has continued to use improved versions of Acousticon for myriad drum set and hand percussion instruments. These modern takes on traditional instruments are a mainstay at drum circles and helped attract a whole new breed of weekend-warrior percussion consumers.