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Article

Adams  

James Holland

Dutch manufacturer of percussion instruments. Adams Musical Instruments was established at the end of the 1960s by André Adams at Thorn in the Netherlands. Adams has become one of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world. Its list of products range from lightweight, low-priced pedal timpani designed for schools and bands, through to top of the range professional timpani and concert marimbas. A great deal of thought is given to the adaptability and portability of the instruments, as well as to their quality. For example, playing height of their keyboard instruments is adjustable, and their tubular bells may be adjusted both for height and range. In the contemporary world of percussion these refinements are invaluable for the player. Adams now manufactures timpani, xylophones, marimbas, tubular bells, bell plates, concert bass drums, temple blocks and a range of sticks....

Article

Kolberg  

James Holland

German firm of percussion instrument manufacturers. It was founded near Stuttgart in 1968 by Bernard Kolberg (b Oberschliesen, Upper Silesia, 1942), a percussionist and engineer. The firm has been influential in extending the possibilities of existing instruments and in the development of new ones. It has produced extended-range tubular bells (three octaves), crotales (five octaves), bell plates (five octaves), anvils (four octaves), boobams (three octaves) and other instruments, and a mounted tambourine to facilitate the endless thumb trill; it has also developed a number of technical innovations for pedal timpani....

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...

Article

Rick Mattingly

[LP]

Manufacturer of Latin-American and other percussion instruments, headquartered in Garfield, New Jersey. The company was founded by Martin Cohen (b Bronx, NY, 28 Jan 1939), an engineer with a passion for Latin music who began making bongos in the late 1950s because a government-imposed trade embargo made instruments from Cuba difficult to obtain. In August 1964, Cohen began marketing products under the name Latin Percussion, including bongos, timbales, and cowbells. LP’s fiberglass congas gained a reputation for being louder and more durable than traditional wood congas. During the 1960s, Cohen also made percussion sound effects for Carroll Sound in New York and cowbells for the Rogers Drum Company.

Cohen’s innovative designs include the Vibraslap, which reproduces the sound made by striking a horse jawbone with rattling teeth; the Afuche/Cabassa, which creates the sound of a traditional cabassa made from gourds wrapped with beads; and the Jam Block, which is made from plastic but replicates the sound of a woodblock. Cohen also became known for his photographs of LP products and endorsers....

Article

Leedy  

Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of drum makers. It was established in Indianapolis in 1900 by Ulysses G. Leedy (b Fostoria, OH, 1867; d Indianapolis, IN, 7 Jan 1931) and Samuel L. Cooley as Leedy & Cooley and made “everything for the band and orchestra drummer.” Leedy, a professional musician and drum maker, bought out his partner in 1903 and broadened the firm’s product line to include more than 900 items, among them orchestra bells, vibraphones, and numerous sound effect instruments to accompany silent movies. Most important were the timpani designed by factory superintendent cecil h. Strupe and patented in 1923. They featured a ratchet-and-pawl clutch for locking the foot pedal in position and rods connected to the tensioning screws around the rim. The copper bowls were formed in a hydraulic press rather than spun on a lathe or hand-hammered over molds. Leedy timpani were exported to England during the 1920s, but later only the parts were shipped and the drums themselves were assembled by the Hawkes firm. Subsequently, they became the model for the first English pedal timpani. Leedy was purchased by the C.G. Conn company in ...

Article

Premier  

James Blades

revised by James Holland

English firm of percussion instrument makers, renamed Premier Percussion in 1984. It was founded in London in 1922 by Alberto della Porta (d 1965), a dance band drummer, and his assistant George Smith. Having been bombed during World War II (radar equipment was also produced on the premises), the firm moved to Wigston, Leicestershire, in 1940. On his death, Alberto della Porta was succeeded by his sons Clifford, Raymond and Gerald, who ran the firm until 1983, manufacturing a comprehensive range of percussion instruments, notably pedal timpani and ‘Creative Percussion’ (formerly New Era Educational Percussion Instruments). In 1966 the firm became the first recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. Although they seemed to lack the drive of some of their competitors to update and extend their range of instruments, Premier remained an important manufacturer of percussion instruments at the end of the 20th century. For illustration of Premier instruments, ...

Article

Remo  

James A. Strain

Drumhead and percussion instrument manufacturing company headquartered in Valencia, California. It was founded 1 June 1957, by Remo D. Belli (b 22 June 1927), a professional drummer who was at that time a partner in Drum City with Roy Harte. Remo, Inc., was established to market the first successfully designed synthetic drumhead made of DuPont Mylar. Created by Belli, Harte, Sid Gerwin, and Sam Muchnick, the patented design utilized an aluminum channel in which the Mylar was glued, creating a functional mounting system. By 1977, 50% of all drumheads sold in the world were manufactured by Remo. First located in North Hollywood, the company moved several times to increasingly larger factories during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996 a new 216,000-square-foot facility was built in Valencia, and former facilities were turned into showrooms and the Remo Recreational Music Center in 1998. The company also has production facilities in Taiwan and China....

Article

Cheng Liu and Stewart Carter

Largest Chinese manufacturer of traditional instruments. Located in the Minhang district of Shanghai, the corporation was founded in 1958 through the consolidation of 86 small workshops. Huifang Ren led the company from its inception through 1962; Guozhen Wang has served as its director since 1998. The firm produces more than 60,000 erhus (including about 100 of top professional quality) and 40,000 guzhengs annually, and also makes pipas, ruans, yangqins, Chinese flutes, and a few non-Chinese instruments, notably marimbas. Proprietary subsidiaries of the corporation include Dunhuang Musical Instruments Company, Shanghai Guibao Musical Instruments Company, and Lankao Shanghai Musical Instruments Company in Lankao. The firm has manufactured instruments under the Dunhuang brand since 1962. In 1999 the firm signed a cooperative agreement with the Central Chinese Orchestra in Beijing, under which instruments in that orchestra have gradually been replaced with Dunhuang instruments. The firm also maintains a close relationship with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. Many instruments bearing the Dunhuang brand are exported, particularly through Eason Music in Singapore....

Article

Percival Price

revised by Charles Bodman Rae

Since 1968 the official name of a bellfoundry located in Whitechapel Road, east London. The lineage of the foundry can be traced back to at least 1420. From 1570 its bells have been produced by master bellfounders of the following families: Mot (16th century); Carter, Bartlett and Clifton (17th century); Phelps, Lester, Pack, Chapman and Mears (18th century); Mears, Stainbank and Lawson (19th century); and Hughes (from 1904). From 1865 to 1968 the foundry was known as Mears & Stainbank. It has been principally engaged in making tower bells, both single and in short-range diatonic series: the latter mostly for swinging in the manner of English change-ringing, but some to be rung hanging stationary, as chimes. From the early 19th century or before, it also made musical handbells. At first these were mostly sets of 8 to 12 bells in diatonic series for practising change-ringing; but with the increasing popularity of handbell music in the 20th century (...