Pollard Syndrum

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The Pollard Syndrum was one of the first electronic drums. It was invented by Joe Pollard, a drummer for the Beach Boys and Grass Roots (and also a studio drummer). In 1976, he met Mark Barton, who had designed and built some working prototypes which were previewed to some prominent drummers. Reaction was very enthusiastic, so Joe, Mark and Donald Stone incorporated Pollard Industries and starting selling Syndrums in Culver City, California. There were two models sold at the time, the single drum 177 and the four drum 477. Syndrums were a musical success (the endorsee list was quite lengthy), but a financial failure for the young company. Pollard, Inc. wound up selling its assets to Research Development Systems, Inc. two years later which manufactured the Syndrum CM and a couple of other slightly updated models.

There were 3 major types: The Syndrum 1, the Syndrum TwinDrum, and the Syndrum Quad. The syndrum quad was the most famous. Syndrums were used by such artists as Carmine Appice, Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Hal Blaine, Jeff Porcaro, Keith Moon, Nigel Olsson, Lee Kerslake (Uriah Heep), Sly Dunbar, Roger Taylor (Queen), and many more.

Although the Syndrum was capable of many different sounds, the one favored by most recording artists was a sine wave that pitch-bends down, most famously heard at the beginning of “Good Times Roll”, the opening track of the Cars’ 1978 debut album.

After the Syndrum’s introduction to the marketplace, several companies produced...
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