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Registered: 03-2008
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Rogers Prototype


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Copyright (c) 2008, John Cermenaro
3/7/2008, 6:41 pm Link to this post  
 
JohnC 1984 Profile
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Rogers R&D 1980-84
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Rogers Prototype


1982: Dave Gorden & I hand built these drums to test a bearing edge idea. They were painted Red Wine lacquer, extra coats, extra buffing. This set went to Rod Morgenstein (notice it's a left handed configuration).

The flying bass drum had spacers under the lugs so we could put a 22" head on a 20" shell. Supposed to have a timpany effect. I don't think it made it any further off the drawing board than what you see here.

The white kit behind Rod's is the one one I banged on during lunch every day or to test out stuff I was working on. This picture was taken in the "Sound Room," which was a large room in one of the R&D buildings (we had two of Leo's original buildings plus the covered alley way in between them). There were obviously some players working in R&D, and we dealt with Steve Grom in Quality Assurance a lot, so with Steve we started a band called "The Researchers." We made one recording called "Hooked On Surf" that Dr. Demento played on his radio program. (Steve knew him so he and I went to his house. Interesting experience.)

- John Cermenaro
3/8/2008, 4:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to JohnC 1984   Send PM to JohnC 1984
 
musicbybj Profile
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Re: Rogers Prototype


That is a stunning drum set and you know I love red. Do you have a copy of the recording?

Jack
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Last edited by musicbybj, 3/8/2008, 4:39 pm


---
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" Les Brown
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JohnC 1984 Profile
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Rogers R&D 1980-84
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Rogers Prototype


I do have a copy of The Researchers recording somewhere. If I can locate it, I'll get it posted.

- JohnC
3/8/2008, 5:04 pm Link to this post Send Email to JohnC 1984   Send PM to JohnC 1984
 
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Re: Rogers Prototype


The Researchers! I love it! JohnC, it must have been fun to go to work to play...
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Re: Rogers Prototype


When you're "testing stuff" - what do you use for a base? I believe everything on a drum contributes to the final sound, or note, that the drum makes.

What would be some of the things you tried out? Different materials for hoops, lugs, different bearing edges, different woods, interior coatings, the way the drum is mounted to a stand?

When you're testing, do you play the drum and record it or did all the engineers sit in the room and listen? Who makes the final decision? Did you have drummers test stuff in different playing situations and different styles of music then offer feedback?

Were all the people who designed the drums drummers or engineers (or both) attracted to making music?

I have to admit I'm intrigued - why do some designs work and others don't and how you decide something won't work, besides an obvious one, like a terrible sound.

This is too cool, having someone who took part in making these drums hanging out with us - THANK YOU JOHNC.
3/8/2008, 5:32 pm Link to this post Send Email to mainedrummer   Send PM to mainedrummer
 
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Re: Rogers Prototype


Great questions MD! I noticed the shells appear to be a bit deeper. I also like MD was wondering about how this infromation was gathered. Was there an instrument{s} to measure tones, loudness, pitches, and notes for drum confiquirations ect? Was wondering about woods/plys used as well. How can well tell these drums if we find them? I use to listen to the Dr Demento show and it brings back some Sun night memories. Thanx

---
....... I BUY ROGERS DRUMS! PM ME!......
3/8/2008, 6:55 pm Link to this post Send Email to Rogersoholic   Send PM to Rogersoholic
 
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Rogers R&D 1980-84
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Rogers Prototype


Research and testing is a big topic.
I'll share a couple of my personal experiences.

As a mechanical engineering student, I landed a coop job working in the industrial design dept for Gretsch drums. At the time, Gretsch was owned by Baldwin Piano & Organ company, and Baldwin was headquartered on Gilbert Street in Cincinnati. That's where Gretsch guitar and drum engineering (and marketing) was located. That's where I met Dave Gordon. Anyway, the manager of industrial design, Tom Kimble, gave me a project. I can't recall how the project originated, but it involved pure research on drum sound. Being a piano & organ company, they were always analyzing sound, or should I say notes. So they fixed me up in a little room with an oscilloscope, a chart recorder, a microphone, mallet and drum. There I worked, day after day, trying to capture something scientific and repeatable. Not easy. A drum with two heads doesn't zero in on a "note" like a piano string. I tried various tunings, heads, sizes, blah, blah, blah. At the end of it all, I had a stack of paper 18" high. Whatever conclusions I may have drawn were not useful enough to publish, and to this day I can't recall what those conclusions were. I can tell you that I get suspicious of people who claim they can tell if a drum has one vent or two with their eyes closed. My opinion after having done this kind of testing is that the way to test how drums sound is to play them like drums, not lab rats. If you are comparing drums, set them up in the environment that you like to play in, make sure they have exactly the same kind of heads top and bottom, match the tuning as close as you can, then let it rip. If you are fortunate enough to have access to someone who knows and understands room acoustics, have them test the space with a meter to see if the room has any dead zones, needs bass traps, etc. Where you place your drums in a room can affect how they sound in that room.
Bottom line is, instrumentation does not determine if a drum is good or bad. YOU decide.

At Rogers, we did another test. We bought a 9x13 drum from every major manufacturer. We evaluated its fit and finish, then did a sound test. All the drums looked nice. Ok fine. We pulled the heads off and checked the bearing edges on a granite flat table that machinists use. Unbelievable. None of them were flat. Some of them had gaps you slide nickel through without touching. (That was not something you were going to see on a Rogers drum under our watch.) Next we tested them in our Sound Room. Dave Levine was writing an article for Modern Drummer about this comparison, and I can't recall when or if it got published. I think it turned out to be another exercise in trying to be too scientific. We used ears instead of instruments, ending each session with a bad case of ear fatigue. It's like getting an eye exam, "Can you see the chart better with this one, or this one. How about this one, or this one., This one, or this one. This one, or this one." AHHHHHHH!

As you know, head selection and bearing edges are significant contributors to drum sound.
 
At Rogers, we did experiment with bearing edges. That red kit we built for Rod Morgenstein was exactly that. In 1982, our theory was that if we moved the point of contact to the inside ply of the shell, the bearing edge would contact the flat surface of the head instead of the rounded collar. Would it improve the performance? The conclusion based on the heads we used and the angle of the cut: No, it did not. Again, the variables when experimenting with drum sound are enormous. You just have to try a lot of different things. How much time do you have to work through as many as you can? At Rogers, we ran out of time. The most important fact that is easy to get a consensus on is that the bearing edges on Rogers production drums produce a great sound.

This is turning into a long post, so I'll wrap up with one more perspective, this time on hardware.
As a mechanical engineer, we learned how to mathematically calculate structural integrity and ability to bear various loads under various conditions. This is what I was trained to do. When you apply this science to tom holders and cymbal stands, it's laughable. Drum hardware is so fantastically over designed that science is meaningless. Look at a Memriloc tom holder. Do you think that any amount of stress you put on it from playing a drum is going to cause it to fail? You could run over it with a bus and still use it on your next gig. I quickly learned that people buy drum hardware based on what it looks like, not the results of an engineer's analysis using free body diagrams. I like to tell people that when I got out of college and started working, I could feel the calculus leaving my body. It was a great feeling.

I guarantee that someone reading my comments expressed above will interject, "Yeah, but..." That's the beauty of the instruments we play. Subjective as hell. You want absolutes? Take up the piano.

- John Cermenaro
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mainedrummer Profile
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Re: Rogers Prototype


Thank you JohnC!

So far I've enjoyed reading what you're given us. It is entertaining and educational

I have so often wondered how, or why some people will say they like this type drum so much better than a another drum. Of course we all have our preferences. But I've never been somewhere listening to a band and known the drummer was using this or that type of drum.

Someone once put a link to a video clip they had made and it was two sessions played with the same kit except for the snare. It was spliced together perfectly and it was the only way I've ever heard the difference between two different snares. There was a difference, but it wasn't that big of a difference.

I notice it when a drummer's set sounds really good or when it really sounds bad but most of the time the sets sound just OK. That is different if I'm at a drum clinic but when I'm listening to a band I tend to listen to what he or she is playing.

Thanks again for your comments. You said a lot when you mentioned what could happen if you make your hobby your profession. I played full time for about 10 years and by the time it ended, I was glad to be able to play for fun and not just the money again. Everything is subjective . . .

Last edited by mainedrummer, 3/9/2008, 7:55 am
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Re: Rogers Prototype


JohnC, so great to get validation on what we already thought we knew: it's all in the ears.
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