The first Cooperman frame drums ( circa 1976) were 18” bodhrans, mounted with goatskin drumheads. Pat Cooperman Sr. had a friend, Tom Callinan, who had purchased a bodhran during a visit to Ireland, but the drum head had torn from shell during the flight back ( likely due to plane cabin's the low humidity).
Tom asked Pat, who had just recently opened a rope drum building workshop in Centerbrook Connecticut, to replace the drum head. Pat was certain there was a better way to secure the head to the shell than simply tacking it with upholstery nails, so he rebuilt the shell by carving a groove into it, and then securing the drum head into the groove with wooden flesh hoop.
This re-imagining of the head mounting system exemplifies Cooperman’s ongoing approach to design innovation combined with a solid sense of practicality and a deep appreciation of the need to adjust drum designs to the evolving expectations of players.
When the line of “ world percussion” frame drums and tambourines was expanded in the early 1990s , Cooperman began working with a number of leading artists to evolve drum designs , initially by developing and patenting a tuning system that did not employ exterior hardware, and by offering synthetic heads on all the traditionally skin-headed models.
Our endorsement program was designed to be a little different from the industry-wide model where well-known artists simply gave their signature stamp of approval to an already existing product. Cooperman’s endorsing artists were asked to collaborate in the design process, to provide direction for the evolution of the drum designs. Cooperman endorsers we’re chosen because of their particularly innovative approach to the drums, both in their performances and in their teaching style.
Our Artist Innovation Series of drums are manifestations of ideas and style of some of leading artists in the frame drum field.
We will take a look at some these drums and feature some of the artists in upcoming blogs.