US 3008367 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Nov. 14, 1961 G. PARSONS 3,008,367
ELECTRONIC DRUM Filed April 4, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 V70 INVENTOR ewye fiwww ATTOR EYs Nov. 14, 1961 G. PARSONS 3,008,367
ELECTRONIC DRUM Filed April 4, 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 N VE N TO R Gem ye Parzrww ATTORNEYS 3,003,367 ELECTRONIC DRUM George Parsons, 615 S. 57th St, Philadelphia, Pa. Filed Apr. 4, 1960, Ser. No. 19,653 12 Claims. (Cl. 84--1.t)6)
My invention relates to a musical rhythm instrument, and more particularly relates to a damped-string percussion rhythm instrument whose tones are electronically amplified to reproduce the sounds of a snare drum, bass drum, tom-toms, bongos, and the like rhythm instruments.
The conventional drum is a percussion instrument consisting of a hollow cylinder or hemisphere with a membrane stretched tautly over the ends and is played by striking with the hands, sticks, etc. The membrane, as well as the cylinder, is quite susceptible to relaxation and tension as a result of temperature changes and atmospheric conditions so as to require frequent tuning in order to produce the desired tone.
In a modern jazz band, the cymbals, snare drums and bass drum are played by one musician and additional players are required respectively for the hand-beating rhythm drums such as the bongos and tom-toms, all of which necessitate considerable manual dexterity. Thus, a number of skilled drummers may be employed just to complete a single percussion section, the percussion instruments already being of necessarily large size and burdensome to transport from place to place. Furthermore, the use of at least two hands is required to produce a snare drum roll, for example, and the same is true for producing a tom-tom or bongo beat.
It is therefore an object of my invention to provide a musical percussion rhythm instrument operable by a single player wherein all drum sounds may be faithfully reproduced simultaneously by the operating player.
Another object of my invention is to provide a stringed percussion rhythm instrument whose tones are electrically amplified to reproduce the sounds of a snare drum, base drum, tom-toms, bongos, and the like.
Another object of my invention is to provide an electronic drum operable in the manner of a piano so that the individual percussion sounds may be simultaneously produced by the players fingers.
Another object of my invention is to provide an electronic percussion sound producing rhythm instrument whose tones faithfully reproduce those of conventional drums.
Another object of my invention is to provide a plurality of percussion sound producing instruments in a single compact casing which is conveniently manipulated and transported.
Another object of my invention is to provide a fingeractuated electronic drum which may be manipulated by a novice to produce the roll of a snare drum.
Another object of my invention is to provide a percussion instrument utilizing damped wire strings which when struck produce drum sounds and which is unaffected by atmospheric conditions.
Other objects of my invention are to provide an improved device of the character described that is easily and economically produced, which is sturdy in construction, and which is highly eificient in operation.
With the above and related objects in view, my invention consists of the details of construction and combination of parts, as will be more fully understood from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the following drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an electronic drum embodying my invention.
FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along lines 2-2 of FIG. 1, particularly showing drum sections C and E with the amplifier, speaker and other drum sections omitted.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along lines 33 of FIG. 1 and is taken on a larger scale than the view in FIGURE 1.
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along lines 44 of FIG. 1 and is taken on a larger scale than the view in FIGURE 1.
FIG. 5 is a sectional view taken along lines 55 of FIG. 1 and is taken on a larger scale than the view in FIGURE 1.
FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram of the electrical layout.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a representative wire damping block embodied in my invention and is taken on a larger scale than the view in FIGURE 1.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along lines 8--8 of FIG. 1 and is taken on a larger scale than the view in FIGURE 1.
Referring now in greater detail to the drawings in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, I show an electronic drum comprising a housing, generally designated as A, having mounted therein a snare drum section, generally designated as B, a tom-tom section, generally designated as C, a bongo section, generally designated as D, and a base drum section, generally designated as E, each section including damped wire strings with operable strikers and magnetic pick-up means translating the vibrations of the strings into an electrical output which is amplified and coupled to a loudspeaker to reproduce the various drum percussion sounds.
The housing A includes a console cover 10 for the various elements which is easily rolled about on casters 12. A conventional speaker 14 and an electronic amplifier 16 (symbolically represented) are housed in a casing 18 which may be juxtaposed to the cover 10 or placed remotely thereto depending upon the available orchestral space and from where it is desired to have the drum sounds emanate in combination with the other musical instruments.
The snare drum section B is mounted upon a shelf 20 in the housing cover 10 and comprises a conventional drum beating brush 22 having a fanned wire portion 22a extending from a longitudinally extending handle 22b. The fanned wire portion 22a lays upon a metal plate 24, and the handle 22b is: supported in spaced relationship from the shelf in a damping block 26 and pilowed in rubber therein. A bundle of wires 28 fixed at one end, by block 28a, to the self 20 rests upon the fanned Wire portion 22a to prevent excessive spurious vibrations from occurring when the brush 22 is struck. See FIG. 3. The end of the handle 22b extends axially within a coil 30 of a horseshoe magnetic pickup 32 which is coupled to the amplifier 16 through leads 34 as shown in FIG. 6.
A pair of bundled wire sticks 36 and 38 are adapted to beat upon the fanned portion 22a to produce the brush sounds which would emanate from a conventional drum when struck with a brush. Wire sticks 40 and 42 are adapted to produce the snare drum tattoo or roll when they strike against the convergent portion of the fanned wires 22a. When the sticks 49 and 42 are depressed vigorously against the brush 22, they abut against a stop block 43 and produce a rim effect sound or staccato of a snare drum on its being struck adjacent the edge thereof. Each of the sticks is pivotally coupled to respective piano-type keys 44 which when depressed by a players fingers cause striking of the wire brush 22 as will be more fully described hereinafter.
sponge rubber block 52, and the ends are mounted in rubber sleeve tips 53 and 54 respectively. The ends of the wires 46 and 48 adjacent the damping block 47 are concentrically coupled within the coil of magnetic pickup 55 which translates the vibrations into an electrical output when the wires are struck. The output of the coil 55 is electronically coupled by leads 56 to the speaker 14 through the amplifier 16.
Rubber tipped strikers '7, 58, 59 and 60 are each pivotally connected to piano keys 44 as shown in FIG. 5 which is illustrative and representative of the articulation for all of the finger operable strikers. A transverse bar 62 extends across the playing portion of the housing A and upon which each of the keys 44 and each of the strikers are pivotally supported. For example, striker 57 is aflixed to an arm 63 which is pivoted to the edge of the transverse bar 62 by a hinge 64. The keys 44 are each pivoted to the opposite edge of the bar 62 by hinge 65. A hooked rod 66 downwardly projects from the forward portion of the keys 44 through a hole in the transverse bar 62 and engages with an eye 67 screwed into the back of arm 63. A spring 68 tensioned between the hook 66 and an L-shaped bracket 69 mounted to the bottom of the transverse bar 62 draws both the key 44 and the striker 57 into balanced non-operative position so that deliberate finger pressure upon the keys is required to actuate the strikers into engagement with the respective wire strings. A key baseboard 70 acts as a stop for the keys 44 thereby enabling the strikers to snap into abutment with the strings and thereafter recoil when the finger pressure depressing the keys is released.
The rubber tips on the strikers 57, 58, 59 and 60 in combination with the pillowing damping blocks 47, 49 and 50 supporting the wires 46 and 48 cause a hollow percussion sound to emanate from the speaker 14 to simulate a tom-tom beat when these wires are struck. Since the damping blocks 49 and 50 effectively support different wire lengths, there will be produced, accordingly, a difierent beat frequency of the respective strings 46 and 48 as to result in a variation in tone.
The bongo section D is substantially the full equivalent of the tom-tom section C and comprises a pair of laterally wire strings 71 and 72 approximately one-third the length of the wires 46 and 48. One end of the wires 71 and 72 is bent and ailixed to a wooden plate 74 by suitable mounting screws. The remainder or operative portion of these wires is spaced above the plate 74 and supported in damping blocks 75 and 76. See FIG. 8. A magnetic pick-up 78 is secured to the plate 74 and has a coil '79 encircling the free end of the wires 71 and 72 adjacent the damping block 76. Leads 80 couple the output from the pick-up coil 79 with the speaker 14 through the amplifier 16.
Rubber tipped strikers 81, 82, 83 and 84 are pivotally actuated by finger depression of the respective keys 44 in a manner previously described herein under the tom-tom section C. When. the rubber tips of these strikers beat against the wires 71 and 72, they cause a hollow bongo drum sound to emanate from the speaker 14, again, the efiective difference in length of these wires yielding a tonal variation in sound.
A wooden dowel stick 86 pivotally actuated by one of the keys 44 in precisely the same manner as the other strikers is adapted to beat directly against the wood plate 74, the vibrations of which are translated by the pick-up 7 S into the familiar block sounds at the speaker similar the clatter of a horses hoof upon cobblestones.
The base drum section E comprises a longitudinally extending flat wire 88 supported adjacent each end by damping blocks 90 and 91 which pillow and space the wire above a shelf 92 in the lower portion of the housing A. A magnetic pick-up 94 encircles the end of the fiat wire $8 overhanging the damping block 90, a rubber sleeve 95 being inserted over that end to further damp the virbrations thereof when the bass drum wire is struck by a foot pedal E1. The output of the pick-up 94 is coupled to the amplifier speaker through leads 96.
Referring now to FIG. 4, the foot pedal E1 includes a treadle 97 hinged to a base plate 98 at 99, the free end of the treadle being secured to a leather strap 160 wrapped about shaft 191 rotatable in supports 192. The shaft 101 is resiliently urged in a counterclockwise direction by a spring 103 tensioned intermediate the base plate 98 and arm 194 radially extending from the shaft. A hammer rod 106 having a rubber head 107 radially extends from the shaft 101 and is adapted to rotate clockwise and abut against the fiat surface of the Wire 88 when the treadle 97 is depressed by a players foot causing the strap to uncoil in opposition to the tension of the spring 103. Treadle stop 1% limits the pivotal movement of pedal 97 and enables the hammer rod 106 to snap crisply at the end of its clockwise stroke. It is to be observed that the flat spring 83 vibrates in a plane perpendicular to the wider dimension thereof in order to provide greater flexure with correspondingly deeper tones. In this regard, a sponge rubber pillow embraces the wire 83 at 110 against which the hammer head strikes. The pillow 110 cushions the blow of the head 167 and transmits the impact therethrough to the flat wire to produce the deep boom of a bass drum, it being noted that the pillow 110 further damps the extreme fiexure of the wire 88.
In FIG. 7 is illustrated a perspective view of damping block 56 which is representative of the construction of the other damping blocks referred to hercinbefore, i.e., blocks 26, 4'7, 49, '75, 76, 90 and 91. The block 50 includes a U-shaped bracket 50a in which an oversized rubber cushion 50b completely embracing the wire 48 is positioned to peripherally support and effect damping of the vibrations thereof. The bracket 50 is secured to the shelf 20 in any suitable manner, and a clamping plate 500 compressibly sandwiches the cushion 561) within the bight of the bracket, suitable mounting screws 50d being utilized to secure the plate 500 to the upwardly extending legs of the bracket. it is also practicable to use tubular damping blocks (not shown) wherein a cylindrical cushion is peripherally compressed within a tubular shell to resiliently encapsulate and support the wire strings as set forth above.
As is apparent from the foregoing description, each of the drum sections may be easily and efficiently operated by any novice, it being a comparatively simple matter to actuate the various strikers by depressing the keys 44 with ones fingers. Moreover, a plurality of sections can be played simultaneously since only two fingers are required to operate a pair of strikers rather than two entire hands. In addition, a greater number of strikers may be incorporated within each section to increase the frequency of the particular sounds or to create an impression of many drum instruments of the same type being played simultaneously. For example, additional pairs of snare drum sticks 49 and 42 may be included to increase and expand the snare drum roll, the only limitation being the number of fingers on a persons hands.
Although my invention has been described in considerable detail, such description is intended as being illustrative rather than limiting since the invention may be variously embodied and the scope of the invention is to be determined as claimed.
I claim as my invention:
1. A rhythm instrument comprising an elongated vibrator, means operatively associated with said vibrator for causing vibration thereof, damping means on said vibrator to damp tuned vibrations therein, and pick-up means operatively associated with an end portion of said vibrator, whereby only rhythm effects are picked up by said pick-up means.
2. The rhythm instrument of claim 1 which further includes a plurality of vibrators, each adapted to produce the sound of a different type of percussion instrument.
3. The rhythm instrument of claim 2 which further includes separate vibration causing means, separate damping means and separate pick-up means for each of said vibrator means.
4. The rhythm instrument of claim 3 which further includes a sound amplification and reproduction system operatively associated with said pick-up means.
5. The rhythm instrument of claim 1, wherein said vibrator is adapted to produce the sound of a snare drum, and includes a bundle of wires, held together at the end with which their pick-up means is operatively associated and spread apart in fan-shaped configuration at the other end.
6. The rhythm instrument of claim 1 wherein said elongated vibrator comprises a Wire.
7. The rhythm instrument of claim 6 wherein said wire is flattened, having a generally rectangular cross section.
8. The rhythm instrument of claim 1 wherein said elongated vibrator comprises a generally rectangular wooden plate.
9. The rhythm instrument of claim 1 wherein said means for causing vibration comprises a pivotally actuated stick.
10. The instrument of claim 9 wherein said stick is tipped with resilient material at its striking end.
11. The rhythm instrument of claim 1 wherein said means for causing vibration comprises a pivotally actuated wire brush.
12. The instrument of claim 1 wherein said means for causing vibration is actuated from a piano type keyboard.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNlTED STATES PATENTS 521,937 Nalence June 26, 1894 552,141 Polk Dec. 31, 1895 956,502 Palmer Apr. 26, 1910 1,463,509 Ingersoll July 31, 1923 1,933,295 Miessner Oct. 31, 1933 2,455,575 Fender et a1 Dec. 7, 1948 2,769,361 Kunz Nov. 6, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 616,961 Germany Aug. 9, 1935 1,009,464 Germany May 29, 1957 OTHER REFERENCES Electronics, publication, vol. 25, No. 8, August 1952, Electronic Drums, pages 98 and 99.
Philips Technical Review, publication, vol. 17, No. 12, June 1956, Science Goes to the Fair, page 363.