Wednesday, July 31, 2019

from junk to funk: DIY percussion

I taught this class Sunday evening at the NewCAJE conference, a gathering of Jewish educators from around the country. We made modern-day versions of rattles, shakers and sistrums that were in use in the ancient near east. Then we tried playing them together, to see what kind of music we could make.
It was super-fun, and I love teaching this workshop because everyone is so surprised at how good it all sounds.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

the pad fairy brings more interestingness

A few days ago I took delivery on a homemade quad practice pad.

New, factory-made versions sell for $150 and up. This one cost me a total of $30 including shipping.
All I wanted was something to fart around on, when my snare drumming got stale and/or I felt like switching things up for fun.
(I played a single tenor drum in high school band, and it was nothing like today's multi-tenor outfits.)

So far I've been having a great time with it. I'm going to download some free beginning exercises from the web and see what I can learn on my own.

Will I carry a set of actual tenors one day? Doubtful. A set of quads weighs almost as much as the smallest fiberglass timpani I carried in Drum corps, and I'm not up for damaging my back that way again. But as something to knock about with, this is an interesting and nice addition to my practice pad collection.

Friday, July 5, 2019

VIntage pad: 1960s Pep Pad

This is a recent find, a vintage Pep Pad from the mid 1960s, which I found in the original box.

Pep Drum Products, based in Kankakee IL, produced the pad for what seems to be a limited period of time.

A patent from 1963 is on file, and shows an anticipated expiration date of 1982. There doesn't appear to be any follow-up on file, and the patent permanently expired this year.

The pad is unremarkable in design, though the angle of the tilt seems to be good.

The pad I found came in its original box, which is rare and cool. The box has been repaired with clear packing tape, which I don't mind at all as I'm not fussy about condition issues in my collection.

The pad itself is a solid piece of rubber and is still lively and offers good bounce for its age.

Playing the pad proved easy. There was plenty of rebound, but not so much as to take away some work from my hands -- which is generally how I like my rubber practice pads to feel.

A little video below gives you an idea of how well the pads works for its size and design.

(Apologies for the camera holder obscuring my right hand)