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The Evolution of Drum Harnesses

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#1 KeithHall


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:14 AM

Lindap said she was shy about starting this....shy Linda? LOL

Who can chat about this topic?
Keith Hall

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#2 LancerLegend


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:29 AM

BITD - everything was carried by a snare strap, or a version of the strap - snares, tenors, bass and some timps lines would wear crossing straps.

My first memory of seeing a harness - or some bent pipes - was to carry tenors in 1974. 27th had puchased a new set of Slingerlands and we got some white metal frames. They were not sturdy enough (we carried 14, 16, 18 inch - maybe even 16, 18 20 inch drums) and we were constantly bending them to get the drums level. Eventually during the season the pieces broke and we ended up scabbing thin steel plates with nuts and bolts.

In 1973, McCormick's Enterprises came out with a astronaut looking timp harness. I remember Blue Stars used it. SCV and many others were using snare slings, 27th used an aluminum harness with counter weights to carry our timps.

I am thinking SCV was the first corp to transition to the formed fiberglass harness in 1975 for their tenors. By 1976, 27th also used a formed fiberglass tenor harness.

I think it was 1979, and SCV, that had the snares using the formed fiberglass harness. In true SCV style, it worked perfectly with their tunics and was completely hidden, while other corps wore the vest like harnesses over their unis, and it looked like crap - 27th included.

Photos will show that most lines were using harnesses on snares and tenors in 1981 - Bayonne was the last holdout - using snare straps to carry their snares.

27th had a deal with Rogers Drums in 1979 - snares, tenors and bass all wore special harnesses - but when we went to Slignerland in 1980 - we used an XLT carrier for snares, back to the formed fiberglass for tenors, and snare straps for bass and timp.

Timps never went to a harness except for the short lived McCormick's carrier.

By the late 1980's, I think everyone was using a harness of some type to carry their battery equipment - some were "home made" while others were commercially available.

Hoping others will add their recollection as well.
The Maine BD FAN
27th Lancers 73,74,76,77,94 - Staff 80,81,82,83,94

#3 Fastone


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:41 AM

The first harness of any type ever on the field of competition was developed by Jim Costello of the Caballeros. It was made for the timbales that were carried by Bobby Hoffman (yes that Bobby Hoffman)in the early 60's
J. Frank Nash
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#4 MikeN



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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:46 AM

I remember we had a set of the curved aluminum pipe-style harness for our tris when I first got to HS, along with one set of Slingerland that had the flat metal T-bar that hooked into the belly plate assembly. Heck, I remember using those kind (where the belly plate was permanently attached to the back bar) when I got to use the Univ. Texas's Pearl tenors back in '92.


#5 Piper


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 04:41 PM

Harnesses were a Godsend, especially for snare drummers. With a sling my right shoulder would go numb at times because the weight wasn't equally distributed. Combine that with a leg rest (what a misnomer) and you have a recipe for physical soreness.

#6 cabalumnidrummer


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 09:48 PM

The first harness of any type ever on the field of competition was developed by Jim Costello of the Caballeros. It was made for the timbales that were carried by Bobby Hoffman (yes that Bobby Hoffman)in the early 60's

Right you are, Frank, but I have heard conflicting stories about who actually fabricated Jim's design idea. One was that someone in the corps or part of the support staff was able to have it made in a metal shop he owned or where he worked. The other was that Jim got in touch with Larry McCormick from Chicago and had him make the harness that he designed. I'm not sure which is the factual account. I do know that both the original timbale harness from 1961 and the original bongo harness from '62 (which I wore in 1966) were both used well into the early 1970's. That year, we added double congas for the first time, and I believe they were also a 'homemade' design, but I couldn't swear to it.
John Smith
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#7 mobrien


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Posted 01 November 2011 - 11:48 PM

Not positive, but I'm pretty sure Vanguard's '74 tenor harnesses were plexiglass rather than fiberglass. Kilts had a tenor player who was molding them about the same time, and they were using the plexi carriers at least in '75, maybe earlier.

#8 john2780


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Posted 02 November 2011 - 05:56 AM

I believe that Robin Menke from SCV created the fiberglass tenor harness at SCV in the early 70's. It was copied by many corps in that decade. I thought it was so cool that their drums could be folded up (so the drums heads were perpendicular to the ground and close to the player) when they were not playing so as to alleviate the weight distribution of being so forward heavy. Plus their drum lines were close to perferct visually. :worthy: :worthy: :worthy:
But when Blue Devils came out in '76 with the North Tenors I fell in love. Their uniforms made the harness completely disappear but the drums must have felt like carring tymps :ph34r:

Edited by john2780, 02 November 2011 - 05:57 AM.

John M. Mauro
1969 - 1974 I. C. Reveries
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#9 DRB


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Posted 02 November 2011 - 07:47 AM

I think it was about 1978 when the Kilties had three small toms mounted on their snares. Did they have some type of carrier back then?

#10 MikeN



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Posted 02 November 2011 - 09:28 AM

So did the fiberglass vests and T-bar carriers more or less exist together in the 70's and early 80's? When did j-bar carrier attachments first appear?


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