- A cocktail drum
typically looks like a tall floor tom 14" to 16" diameter
by 16" to 25" height on shell mounted legs. There are usually
snares mounted underneath the top head for a "snare sound"
and a modified pedal to strike the bottom head for a "bass drum
sound". They often have a shell mounted cymbal arm and occasionally
a side mounted tom-tom or set of bongos for a very compact set up.
There are also several variations which include single headed drums
with or without snares, snare drums mounted directly attop a regular,
small bass drum, a snare drum mounted to a floor-tom with the underneath
bass drum beater, etc.
appears that the basic cocktail style kit was first created in the
40's with the Carlton Combination. The Carlton consisted of a 20"
tom mounted upright on legs with a side mounted snare and upward
striking pedal. It also had a tuning pedal like a timpani. During
the 50s and 60s most major drum manufacturers went with the cocktail
drum trend but the fad seemed to die out entirely by the end of
the 60s. On the early 90s Yamaha added a cocktail set to their catalog
and old cocktail drums began resurfacing inspiring custom drum makers
to create their own versions of the instrument.
are compact, light weight, and they look GREAT! They are marvelous
for confined stage areas and easy traveling. They also offer an
opportunity to use a more spare set that can be appropriate for
more subtle musical situations.
All of the major
drum companies have made cocktail drums over the years. Carlton,
Slingerland, Ludwig, Rogers, Gretsch, and Vespe all joined the Cocktail
Drum craze(?) at one time or another.
have begun making Cocktail Drums in recent years. Kits are available
from some larger manufacturers like Yamaha and Remo and several
custom drum makers are now offering cocktail sets.
The best source
for Cocktail Drums is through vintage drum dealers on the internet.
Occasionaly you may find one in an old music shop or flea market
but that is much less likely. Cocktail Drums are also available
new from Yamaha and Remo as well as many custom drum manufacturers.
generally sound like a bass drum and a snare drum. Because of their
small size the bass drum is often higher pitched and much quiter
than a larger bass drum. Also, on the single drum models there is
quite a bit of intereaction between the two heads (IE: Hitting the
bottom head rattles the snares. Strinking the snare side resonates
the bottom head. With some experementation using different heads,tunings,
and mufflings it is likely you can find a sound you like. [CLICK
range from $75 to $1000 (with $1000 being VERY HIGH) depending on
many factors. Model, age, condition, accessories, and hardware all
contribute to the value of the instrument. Remember that some models
are rare making them more valuable for their COLLECTABILITY not
necessarily their PLAYABILITY. Many are valuable for their add-ons
such as custom hardware, reversable pedals, cymbal stand attachments,
extra toms, snares, and bongos. Also be aware that single headed
drums are generally much less valuable than double headed drums.