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The Evolution of Drum Harnesses


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#31 DLMillard

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:38 AM

Thanks for your kind words, Deb. Pam was also our DM in 77, her first year and my fifth year as DM. I couldn't have done it without Pam's support. Over the years, I enjoyed conducting Something in 73, Marche Slav in 74 and genuinely enjoyed conducting the entire repertoire from 77 AAG especially our tribute to Glenn Miller. I also loved our drum solo in 77. Thanks so much. I checked our roster today. Did you know our 6 person snare line (which included you) had 26 years of collective experience that year? Kudos to you, to the drum line and to our 1977 drum corps.

I also viewed photos of my other corps the other day, 1972 Seneca Princemen. The triples (tri-toms, multi-toms) and snares had straps. Our bass drummers had padded harnesses and the tymps had metal tube harnesses with J hooks. I've been trying to piece together the history of all the corps I marched with. Thanks for being on DCP Deb. I'll need your help. 2 more posts; gotta go and get ready for a busy week!

You're a wealth of information, Linda. Yes, I remember Pam too. What I recall most though, was your counting us in for Beethoven! I have a tape from out show in Kassel Germany. A guy from Germany sent it to me out of the blue (I don't know how he got my address or my name.) The show was pretty good, although the cassette tape was garbled during a little of String of Pearls. And it didn't have the drum solo on it, we didn't do it that day. But...the cd set must include your recording because it has the drum solo. It was 'Clear As the Driven Snow' by the Doobie Brothers, and I love it too!

I'm glad to have found this forum, it's great and there's so much to read and so many pictures to see. Anything you need, I'll help if I can.

Back on topic, you know I look at the drumlines now and I wonder how nice it would be to have the harnesses they have today. I'd like to try it once. Hehehe. I also wonder if the snares are lighter than they used to be, or if they're heavier or the same weight but the comfort level is good because of the new harness. I've got a couple of Santa Clara 'Jonz' dvd's and notice that for their warmups they use the snare stands. We used them a little at the rehearsals at the Armories, but most of the time we were carrying them. I can still feel that burning hot pain just thinking about that.

Alberta All Girls (snare line 1975-1978)


#32 lindap

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:25 AM

You're a wealth of information, Linda. Yes, I remember Pam too. What I recall most though, was your counting us in for Beethoven! I have a tape from out show in Kassel Germany. A guy from Germany sent it to me out of the blue (I don't know how he got my address or my name.) The show was pretty good, although the cassette tape was garbled during a little of String of Pearls. And it didn't have the drum solo on it, we didn't do it that day. But...the cd set must include your recording because it has the drum solo. It was 'Clear As the Driven Snow' by the Doobie Brothers, and I love it too!

I'm glad to have found this forum, it's great and there's so much to read and so many pictures to see. Anything you need, I'll help if I can.

Back on topic, you know I look at the drumlines now and I wonder how nice it would be to have the harnesses they have today. I'd like to try it once. Hehehe. I also wonder if the snares are lighter than they used to be, or if they're heavier or the same weight but the comfort level is good because of the new harness. I've got a couple of Santa Clara 'Jonz' dvd's and notice that for their warmups they use the snare stands. We used them a little at the rehearsals at the Armories, but most of the time we were carrying them. I can still feel that burning hot pain just thinking about that.

Debbie G says hi :) She remembers you at our 2006 reunion. I moved to a new office 2 months ago across the street from her office. We promised wed do lunch in 2012. Debbie G let me scan her 1974 photo of a rehearsal in New York State with Santa Clara Vanguard. I recognize Joan and Wendy. Who's the girl in the blue T-shirt? Are SCVs harnesses fibreglass? I need help from the drummers, good golly; I was a guard girl ;)

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Scarborough Firefighters 68-71 Seneca Princemen 72-75 Etobicoke Oakland Crusaders 76 Alberta All Girls 77-91 Alberta Winter Guard Association 79-88 Alberta Girls Showcase Society 92-04 as a winter and summer guard member, drum major, winter and summer marching and guard instructor, judge, board of directors member or fundraiser

#33 lindap

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 12:26 AM

It was hard on the shoulders so add some padding, rehearsals tell a story; harnesses under the uniform was another challenge imo

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Scarborough Firefighters 68-71 Seneca Princemen 72-75 Etobicoke Oakland Crusaders 76 Alberta All Girls 77-91 Alberta Winter Guard Association 79-88 Alberta Girls Showcase Society 92-04 as a winter and summer guard member, drum major, winter and summer marching and guard instructor, judge, board of directors member or fundraiser

#34 DLMillard

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 07:52 AM

Pass a 'hi' to Debbie G when you see her please, Linda. Sorry I wasn't there for the rehearsal with SCV in '74, that was a little before my time in the 'A' corp. Look at the difference in posture with the harnesses. Amazing.

The snare drummers' uniforms had cuts sliced in them at the side for the hook to come out, so our harnesses were under our unforms. But the tenors had to wear the harnesses on top of the uniforms, unfortunately.

Alberta All Girls (snare line 1975-1978)


#35 pearlsnaredrummer77

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 09:08 PM

It was hard on the shoulders so add some padding, rehearsals tell a story; harnesses under the uniform was another challenge imo

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I used that type of harness in HS and remember always looking for better foam to pad those things. :rock:
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Chuck Lee
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#36 Jocko the Wonder Llama

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:43 AM

I used that same type of harness to play bass trios in high school. My back still hurts thinkig about it 30+ears later.
Brian Downing
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#37 PJS53

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Posted 07 December 2011 - 08:53 AM

The first version I know of a harness for tympani was designed by one of our players. The usual factory installed method (Ludwig Tympani) was to use two crossed snare straps with a leg rest mounted on the drum. This of course caused tymps to bounce pretty badly not to mention you had to compensate your marching style so you didn't look like you were marching with a limp. As seen in the previous photos with the pre-carrier tenors tympani players had to lean back to compensate for the weight of the drum. During the winter of 1973/74 prior to the 74 season one of our tympani players Kurt Groh decided to play around with some ideas. The result was the following. We still used crossed snare straps but removed the legrest from the drum and in its place Kurt developed a wooden block built from two pieces of 2x4 wood bolted together. The front of the block was rounded out to conform to the shape of the drum shell and had a belt screwed in place. The players strapped this block around the body at about hip level with the belt and it pushed the shell of the drum slightly forward and level. After some experimenting we attached some foam to the side of the wooden block that contacted the body for comfort. We all had bruises from those blocks but the improvement in our marching style and the fact that the tymp was not bouncing with every step was a major step forward in comfort and performance. During the 1974 season we removed the legs from the tympani for performances which also cut pounds off the payload and allowed us to play the whole show keeping the drums on rather than grounding them for concert which was a very typical thing for tymp lines to do in those days. The "Groh carrier" may have been crude in its design but the concept was solid and I believe helped us be a much better playing and marching tymp line.
Pete Stoltman
Cavaliers 1973-74

#38 esch

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 12:18 AM

The first version I know of a harness for tympani was designed by one of our players. The usual factory installed method (Ludwig Tympani) was to use two crossed snare straps with a leg rest mounted on the drum. This of course caused tymps to bounce pretty badly not to mention you had to compensate your marching style so you didn't look like you were marching with a limp. As seen in the previous photos with the pre-carrier tenors tympani players had to lean back to compensate for the weight of the drum. During the winter of 1973/74 prior to the 74 season one of our tympani players Kurt Groh decided to play around with some ideas. The result was the following. We still used crossed snare straps but removed the legrest from the drum and in its place Kurt developed a wooden block built from two pieces of 2x4 wood bolted together. The front of the block was rounded out to conform to the shape of the drum shell and had a belt screwed in place. The players strapped this block around the body at about hip level with the belt and it pushed the shell of the drum slightly forward and level. After some experimenting we attached some foam to the side of the wooden block that contacted the body for comfort. We all had bruises from those blocks but the improvement in our marching style and the fact that the tymp was not bouncing with every step was a major step forward in comfort and performance. During the 1974 season we removed the legs from the tympani for performances which also cut pounds off the payload and allowed us to play the whole show keeping the drums on rather than grounding them for concert which was a very typical thing for tymp lines to do in those days. The "Groh carrier" may have been crude in its design but the concept was solid and I believe helped us be a much better playing and marching tymp line.

Sounds like the system we used in Santa Clara in 1970.

#39 lindap

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 02:27 AM

AAG B 1975, probably the only year they had tymps; AAG B membership started at 9 years old. They`d move up to A if 13 or 14 and age out at 17 or 18.

Looks like a padded-belt-harness-strap combo at the rodeo :)

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Scarborough Firefighters 68-71 Seneca Princemen 72-75 Etobicoke Oakland Crusaders 76 Alberta All Girls 77-91 Alberta Winter Guard Association 79-88 Alberta Girls Showcase Society 92-04 as a winter and summer guard member, drum major, winter and summer marching and guard instructor, judge, board of directors member or fundraiser

#40 Standrews

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 10:52 PM

I remember seeing the Bridgemen with some crazy contraption that looked like metal straps with counterweights on the back...they looked heavy as ____!



We started the 1971 season, the first year we used tympani, with 3 straps. Two crossed and one around our waist. I believe it was a Skyliner member that made the aluminum harnesses with the tubular counterweights for us. We used them for the first time at a Friday night show in Bed-Sty, Brooklyn (Wynn Center?, Mother Carter?)

They would continue to be used by the Bridgemen after St. Andrew's was gone.

Very heavy without the drum. Still have a mark on my left shoulder from wearing it. No snare drummer stripe for us, we had to keep our shirts on during day time drill practice.

Although it was simple in design, and adjustable, I would have preferred staying with the straps and leg rest. Especially for parades.




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