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Publication numberUS3626801 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 14, 1971
Filing dateApr 8, 1969
Priority dateApr 8, 1969
Publication numberUS 3626801 A, US 3626801A, US-A-3626801, US3626801 A, US3626801A
InventorsMoore William T
Original AssigneeMoore William T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tuning of percussion instruments
US 3626801 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 2,550,249 4/1951 Hull 84/41 1 3,215,019 11/1965 Sloan... 84/411 3,482,479 12/1969 Della-Porta 84/41 1 Primary Examiner- Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-Lawrence R. Franklin Attorney-Wofi'ord and Felsman ABSTRACT: A tuning mechanism for percussion-type instruments having a tunable head adjacent a shell characterized by a friction-type tuning pin fitted within an aperture in the shell to frictionally engage the walls thereof and connected with the tunable-head, whereby rotation of the friction-type tuning pin varies the tautness in the tunable head and retains the tautness by frictional engagement with sides of an aperture in the shell into which the pin is fitted. Percussion instruments employing the tuning mechanism and details of material and construction are also disclosed.

Patented Dec. 14, 1971 3,626,801

TTOR/VEYS TUNING OF PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION:

1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to musical instruments and tuning mechanisms therefor. More particularly, it relates to tuning mechanisms for percussion-type musical instrumentshaving a tunable head adjacent a shell means, and percussion-type musical instruments employing same.

2. Description of the Prior Art A wide variety of specific structures is known in the prior art for effecting tuning of percussion-type musical instruments. Generally, however, such tuning mechanisms have employed a plurality of attaching means for the shell, a plurality of attaching means for the tunable head, and one or more tensioning means therebetween that could be varied in length by employing nuts and bolts, or equivalent threaded structures. While such structure has beensatisfactory in performance, it is relatively expensive because of the time consuming assembly of the many pieces at each point of attachment. Moreover, adjustment of the tautness in a tunable head has required' an instrument such as a screwdriver.

Accordingly, itis an object of this invention to provide a simple, easily assembled tunable mechanism in a percussiontype musical instrument that can be readily tuned for use without requiring special tools.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING FIG. I is an isometric view of a tambourine employing one embodiment ofthis invention. 3

FIG. 2 is a partial cross-sectional view of a side of a tambourine along line II-II. I

FIGS. 3 and 4 are isometric views of the insert means employed in FIG. 2. I

FIG. 5 is a partial cross-sectional view illustrating another embodiment.

FIG. 6 is a partial cross-sectional view illustrating still another embodiment ofthis invention. a

. DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S) Wooden shells are preferred, because they have better resonance and because they can be restored to their original size and characteristics by treatment with a mixture of equal parts of glycerin and alcohol.

An aperture I7 is provided in shell 15. Insert means I9 is fitted with aperture 17 to effect frictional engagement with the walls 21 of aperture I7. Insert means 19 has a means; such as, diametral slot 23; for effecting rotation thereof within aperture 17. Insert means I9 also has engaging means; such as, aperture 25; for effecting a change in tension in a tensioning means; such as, tension member 27; when insert means 19 is rotated. Tension member 27 engages both insert means I9 and tunable head I3 for adjusting tautness of the tunable head 13 in response to rotation of the insert means I9. As can be seen in FIG. 2, tunable head I3 is emplaced between an outer annular ring 29 and an inner ring 31 and over the top edge 33 of shell 15. Tension member 27 slips over outer ring 29 holding tunable head I3 and slips into aperture 25 in insert means I9 for ready assembly. Tension member 27 has threadlike ridges 35 on its terminal means 37 inserted in aperture 25. The threadlike ridges embed to some extent in insert means 19 to prevent the terminal means from slipping out of aperture 25.

As can be seen clearly in FIG. 2, the means for effecting rotation may comprise a diametral slot 23-cut all or part way across the enlarged portion 39 of insert means 19. Enlarged portion 39 is larger than'aperture I7 and larger than the insert portion 43 of insert means 19 within aperture 17 in order that insert means I9 can be compressively fitted within the aperture in the shell means without being forced completely therethrough. Insert means 19 can be readily rotated by inserting a coin into diametral slot 23, without requiring special tools.

As can be seen in FIG. l, aperture 25 is eccentrically located with respect to the center of insert means 19. Thus, rotation of insert means 19 changes the distance from aperture 25 to the top edge 33 of shell means I5. Rotation in one direction increases the distance and effects downward movement of constant-length tension member 27, pulling downwardly outer annular ring 29 and increasing the tautness of tunable head I3. Conversely, rotation in the other direction moves aperture 25 upwardly; decreases the distance; and, correspondingly, decreases the tautness of tunable head I3.

In FIGS. 3 and 4 the front and back of insert means I9 are illustrated isometrically. Slot 23 for effecting rotation of the insert means is illustrated in FIG. 4. Apertures 25 traverse the thickness thereof and are eccentric with respect to the concentric axes of the insert portion 43 and the enlarged portion 39. As illustrated, apertures 25 are diametrically opposed. On the other hand, any number of apertures 25 may be employed, and positioned any number of degrees apart with respect to the center of insert means 19, as long as structural integrity is maintained. For examples, three apertures 25 can be employed spaced 120 apart, or four apertures can be employed spaced apart. Even a single aperture can be employed, although flexibility of emplacement and the length of time that insert means 19 can be employed is decreased. Specifically, if only a single aperture is employed, the tensioning member 27 must always be emplaced in that aperture with attendant increase in wear. Additionally, any time increased tension is to be efiected, the insert means must always be rotated without the availability of additional holes for inserting tension member 27 thereinto. The increased rotation made necessary thereby, tends to frictionally smooth the'walls of aperture 17 and insert portion 43. Suchincreased wear makes necessary more frequent refinishing of the walls of aperture I7 in the shell means 15.

Insert means 19 engages the walls 21 of aperture 17, FIG. 1, with sufficient frictional force to retain a given degree of tautness induced into tunable head 13. To effect sufficient frictional engagement with the walls, insert portion 43 of insert means 19 has a diameter normally slightly larger than the diameter of the aperture and is constructed of material having a modulus of compressibility less than the modulus of compressibility of the material forming the shell means. In this way, insert means I9 can be compressively inserted within aperture 17 and will be in compression so that it frictionally engages the walls 21 with enough force to retain its position against the tautness of the tunable head. As indicated hereinbefore, one significant advantage of employing wood for shell means 15 is that the original characteristics of wood in terms of size of the aperture and original condition can be restored by treatment with the glycerin-alcohol solution and thus preserve adequate frictional engagement for an extended interval of time.

Insert means 19 may be constructed of an inert thermoplastic material and fulfill the requirements of having a modulus of compressibility less than the modulus of compressibility of the shell means when the shell means is constructed of either wood, thermosetting plastic or metal. Suitable thermoplastic materials for construction of insert means 19 are either nylon, Teflon, polypropylene, neoprene, densified polyethylene, or olystyrene.

If desired, there may be employed in the insert means an inner core of other material, with locking means such as corrugations to prevent relative movement with respect to the remainder of the insert means. Such structures must have adequate compressible material of the insert means to maintain the requisite frictional engagement with the walls of the apertures.

Insert means 19 can be readily inserted and retained in aperture I7. The insert portion 43 of insert means 19 is ordinarily cylindrical. Preferably, it has a chamber 44 to facilitate insertion in aperture 17. Aperture 17 may be primarily cylindrical as illustrated in FIG. 5. Preferably, however, aperture 17 has a cross-sectional shape, as illustrated in FIG. 2, comprising an inner cylindrical portion 61 and an outer cylindrical portion 63 joined by a sloping, or frustoconical section 65. Outer cylindrical portion 63 is slightly smaller in diameter than portion 61; for example by about 0.01-0.05 inch, Inner cylindrical portion 61 is still small enough to frictionally engage insert portion 43 of the insert means. This structure facilitates insertion of insert means 19 into aperture 17 yet maintains adequate frictional engagement between the insert means and the walls of aperture I7 to retain its position and maintain a given amount of tautness in head 13. If desired, a third cylindrical portion 67 may be added outside the outer cylindrical portion 63, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The insert means can expand into third cylindrical portion 67 to minimize lateral movement in both directions in aperture 17.

FIG. illustrates by partial cross-sectional view, another embodiment of the invention wherein tenninal means 37 on tension member 27 is bent upwardly to form an acute angle with the exterior of the shell means and wherein aperture 25 has a frustoconical portion 41 forming an acute angle with the exterior of the shell means for retaining terminal means 37 therewithin. Moreover, FIG. 5 illustrates a protruding shoulder 45 to serve as a means for effecting rotation of insert means 19. A side view of such a protruding shoulder 45 is illustrated in FIG. 6.

FIG. 6 also illustrates another embodiment of the invention wherein the insert means in the form of a peg means like peg 47 is frictionally held within shell means 15. Specifically, peg 47 with the enlarged portion 49 is compressively inserted into and through aperture 17 to protrude outside shell means and retains its position by frictional engagement with the walls thereof. An elongated flexible member; such as, string 51; is connected with a spring clamp 53 for engaging the tunable head 13. Any other means may be employed for attaching string 51 with tunable head 13 instead of spring clamp 53. For example, an eyelet may be fastened into a portion of tunable head 13 and string 51 fastened into a portion of tunable head 13 and string 51 fastened therethrough by any suitable fastening means. String 51 is also operatively connected with peg 47 to have a greater or lesser portion of its length wrapped around peg 47 in response to rotation thereof. Specifically, string 51 may be wrapped around peg 47 to protrude through aperture 55 therein. To securely fasten string 51, a free end portion 57 may be inserted under the portion that is wrapped around peg 47.

Aside from the materials of construction of insert means 19, those materials ordinarily employed in manufacturing the particular type percussion instrument remain suitable for practice of this invention. No unusual, expensive, or exotic materials are required in the practice of the invention, although such materials are not excluded where they have merit. As indicated with respect to insert means 19, peg 47 is constructed of material having a modulus of compressibility less than the modulus of compressibility of the shell means. Otherwise, as indicated hereinbefore, the same materials of construction can be employed.

In operation of the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-5, means for effecting rotation of insert means 19, comprising diametral slot 23 or shoulder 45, are employed to rotate insert means 19 and effect the desired tautness in tunable head 13. As described hereinbefore, rotation of insert means 19 changes the distance to the top of the shell means and effects relative downward or upward movement of tension member 27 to correspondingly alter the tautness in tunable head 13.

In operation of the embodiment of FIG. 6, means for effecting rotation of peg 47, comprising shoulder 45, is employed to rotate peg 47 and effect the desired tautness in tunable head 13 by increasing tension in string 51. Once the desired degree of tension has been effected, it is maintained by frictional engagement of peg 47 with the walls of aperture 17 in shell means 15.

The embodiments and principles have been described hereinbefore with respect to a tambourine as illustrative of a simple percussion-type instrument employing a tunable head adjacent a shell means. The same principles and construction features may be employed with other percussion instruments; such as, drums. Where the insert means is employed with drums, it ordinarily will have a larger diameter than one employed with the tambourine. The larger diameter insert means 19 effects a greater degree of stretch in the tunable head.

Specifically, when the larger diameter insert means is rotated,

the degree of eccentricity is much greater than in the tambourine and draws the tensioning means downwardly to a greater extent, effecting a greater increase in the degree of stretch imparted to tunable head 13. The larger diameter also allows an increased degree of compression of the insert means to effect a larger frictional engaging force with the walls of aperture 17 in the shell means. In similar manner, a friction-type peg means employed with drums will, ordinarily,- be of .a larger diameter than with the tambourine.

Although the invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be restored to without departing from the spirit and the scope of this invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A tuning mechanism for a percussion-type instrument having a tunable head adjacent a shell means comprising:

a. an aperture in said shell means; said aperture having a longitudinal axis that is substantially perpendicular to the sidewalls of said shell means;

b. insert means having its central axis substantially coincident with the longitudinal axis of said aperture, being conformingly fitted within said aperture and effecting frictional engagement with the walls thereof that is sufficient to retain said insert means in a set position without requiring threaded connection or ratchet means, said insert means including:

i. means for effecting rotation thereof; and

ii. an engaging means that is spaced from the center of said insert meansfor engaging a tensioning means at a point spaced from said center of said insert means for effecting a change in tension of a tensioning means; and

c. tensioning means engaging said tunable head and said engaging means of said. insert means for adjusting tautness of said tunable head in response to rotation of said insert means in said aperture; the desired tension being retained by frictional engagement of the material of said insert means with the walls of saidaperture in said shell means.

2. The tuning mechanism of claim 1 wherein said insert means has an insert portion that is primarily cylindrical and said aperture is primarily cylindrical.

3. The tuning mechanism of claim I wherein said insert means has an insert portion of a diameter normally slightly larger than the diameter of said aperture in said shell means, is compressively fitted within said aperture, and is constructed of material having a modulus of compressibility less than the modulus of compressibility of said shell means.

4. The tuning mechanism of claim 3 wherein said material is an inert thermoplastic material.

5. The tuning mechanism of claim 4 wherein said material is either nylon, Teflon, polypropylene, neoprene, densified polyethylene or polystyrene.

6. The tuning mechanism of claim 1 wherein said means for effecting rotation comprises a diametral slot for receiving a readily available means for inducing torque.

7. The tuning mechanism of claim 1 wherein said means for effecting rotation comprises a shoulder protruding from said insert means whereby said insert means can be rotated by hand without additional means.

8. The tuning mechanism of claim I wherein said engaging means comprises an engaging aperture in said insert means; said engaging aperture having an axis that is substantially parallel with the axis of said aperture in said shell means; and

said tensioning means has a terminal means inserted within said engaging aperture in said insert means.

9. The tuning mechanism of claim 8 wherein said engaging aperture in said insert means has sloped sidewalls forming a frustoconical section forming an acute angle with said shell means exterior and said terminal means forms an acute angle with said shell means for retention within said insert means.

10. The tuning mechanism of claim 8 wherein said engaging aperture in said insert means is cylindrical and said terminal means has threadlike ridges for retention therewithin.

11. The tuning mechanism of claim 8 wherein said insert means contains a plurality of engaging apertures.

12. The tuning mechanism of claim 1 wherein said insert means includes an exteriorly protruding peg means outside said shell means, said tensioning means comprises an elon gated flexible member, and said tensioning means is operatively connected with said peg means to have a greater or lesser portion of its length wrapped around said peg means in response to rotation of said peg means.

13. The tuning mechanism of claim 1 wherein said insert means has an insert portion that is primarily cylindrical and said aperture comprises an inner cylindrical portion and an outer cylindrical portion slightly smaller in diameter than said inner cylindrical portion and joined by a frustoconical section, said inner cylindrical portion being small enough to frictionally engage said cylindrical insert portion.

14. The tuning mechanism of claim 14 wherein said aperture has a third cylindrical portion outside said outer cylindrical portion for accommodating expansion of said insert portion to minimize lateral movement of said insert means in both directions in said aperture.

15. A tunable percussion instrument comprising:

a. a shell means for effecting resonance;

b. a tunable head adjacent said shell means;

0. a plurality of apertures in said shell means; said apertures each having an axis that is substantially perpendicular to the sidewalls of said shellmeans;

d. a plurality of insert means inserted within respective apertures in said shell means and effecting frictional engagement with the walls thereof that is sufficient to retain said insert means in a set position without requiring threaded connection or ratchet means, said insert means having respective means for effecting rotation thereof and respective engaging means that are spaced from the centers of said insert means for engaging respective tensioning means at respective points spaced from said centers of said insert means for effecting a change in tension of a tensioning means when said insert means is rotated; said insert means having their central axes substantially coincident with the respective axes of said apertures in said shell means; and

. tensioning means engaging said tunable head and said engaging means of said insert means for altering the tautness of said tunable head in response to rotation of said insert means, said tautness being retained by frictional engagement of the material of said insert means with the walls of said apertures in said shell means.

16. The percussion instrument of claim 15 wherein said engaging means has a longitudinal axis that is substantially parallel with respective said apertures in said shell means and said insert means and is eccentrically spaced from the center of said insert means for changing the distance therefrom to the top of said shell means adjacent said tunable head and wherein said tensioning means has a constant length; and engages said engaging means at one end and said tunable head at the other.

17. The percussion instrument of claim 15 wherein said tunable head comprises a membrane held between two ring means, said ring means fitting concentrically around said shell means and wherein each said tensioning means comprises a member having an upper terminal portion for slipping over the external ring means, whereby tension may be induced by said tensioning means in a concentrated point and spread substantially uniformly over said tunable head for effecting a substantiallg uniform adjustment of tautness.

l The instrument of claim l7 wherem said percussiontype instrument is a tambourine.

19. The instrument of claim 17 wherein said percussion type instrument is a drum.

20. The percussion instrument of claim 15 wherein said insert means includes an exteriorly protruding peg means outside said shell means, said tensioning means comprises an elongated flexible member, and said tensioning means is operatively connected with said peg means to have a greater or lesser portion of its length wrapped around said peg means in response to rotation of said peg means.

i l 0 i i

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US775711 *May 2, 1904Nov 22, 1904Kohler & ChaseDrum.
US2495451 *Sep 27, 1946Jan 24, 1950Gladstone William DTone modifier for drums
US2550249 *Nov 2, 1948Apr 24, 1951Hull Delbert EDrum tuning device
US3215019 *Jul 12, 1963Nov 2, 1965Sloan John A OMechanical banjo head tighteners
US3482479 *Mar 31, 1967Dec 9, 1969Premier Drum Co Ltd TheTightening the heads of single headed instruments
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4402248 *Sep 16, 1981Sep 6, 1983John PearceCymbal drum
US4506586 *May 14, 1984Mar 26, 1985Brewer Lewis EQuick release drum head restraint
US4520709 *Mar 19, 1979Jun 4, 1985Kester Jr Ralph CRimless drum structure with tuning device
US5417136 *Jan 21, 1994May 23, 1995Latin Percussion Inc.Conga rim
US6399864 *Mar 23, 2001Jun 4, 2002Mark A. WillcuttTambourine
USD763953 *Oct 21, 2014Aug 16, 2016Steve KenkmanSingle claw drum display
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/411.00R, D17/22, 984/151, 84/418
International ClassificationG10D13/00, G10D13/02
Cooperative ClassificationG10D13/023
European ClassificationG10D13/02D