Every Percussionist Should Know…

Being an instrument maker means, that there is so much stuff that I have to know, it’s taking a lifetime to discover and learn. There is so much in fact, that I have had to limit the scope.

Whilst I know about the hygroscopic tangential expansion in Honduras Rosewood, and its effect on sound wave propagation, it is not something I would expect a musician to know. (Or anyone else to know or even care about!)

Similarly, knowledge of the orchestral repertoire in a social, historical context and how that determines playing technique is more relevant to musicians than instrument makers.

There is however the middle ground. I’m often confronted with musicians who do not know things that I think would be beneficial to their job. Mostly because it hasn’t been taught at music college. Even worse, is when what they have been taught (or read on the Internet!) is wrong or flawed.

Therefore, as I come across things in my work that I think percussionists should know, I will write a blog post. In time there will be a whole selection covering lots of topics.

What model is my Premier Vibraphone?

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding which model of Premier vibraphone people have. This post is a list of vibraphones produced by Premier arranged in reverse chronological order.

There are some of Premiers more modern models missing from the list, which may well be added to the list at a later date, but for now the list should be sufficient to answer most questions about identifying the model of your vibe.

How to change damper bar felt

In the immortal words of Axl Rose, “All we need is just a little patience (Patience)
Mm, yeah”
Changing the damper felt on a vibe is something that anyone can do; this post shows how I do it

…How to control humidity

This is a simple explanation of why humidity is the main cause of atmospheric tuning issues for xylophones and marimbas, and what can be done about it.

…The Anatomy of a Kettle Drum

“OH NO! The thingymajig has broken!”
No, no, no. Not any more, now you can look at the diagram and find out what it is called. If it isn’t on the list, I will know what you are talking about from the general location. Parts numbers just confuse the issue because every manufacturer has their own system.

Premier Percussion (Job No: 1259)

The future looks bright for Premier Percussion. After years of turbulence, followed by lots of manufacturing problems, a corner seems to have been turned.

-1. Rock, roll and twist again?

In this first installment of analysing why instruments feature in my Top Ten Bad Designs, I define the three types of forces that instruments are subjected to. Once defined roll is discussed using Bergerault and Adams as examples of what not to do.

….How to look after vellum heads.

As the use of natural skin for drum heads increases back from the dead, so it is that I have to do more repair work to badly maintained drums. What I see and hear about the care of drums is exactly opposite to what needs to be done. This post explains what, how, and why you need to adjust the tension of natural drum heads.

…How to release a jammed pedal on a Premier Timp

The pedal on a Premier timpani can get stuck solidly in the down position. This is a common problem that I have to sort out, usually over the telephone, so this post shows how to resolve the situation.