Slingerland Tom Tom, used by Buddy Rich

Slingerland Tom Tom, used by Buddy Rich

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Description (Brief)

This drum was made by Slingerland in Chicago, Illinois, around 1938-1940. It is a Floor Tom Tom, Radio King Series, tunable, with a wood ply shell covered with a White Marine Pearl finish, chrome plate hoops, 12 key tension self-aligning separate tension lugs, and 3 adjustable legs attached to shell. There is an engraved medallion on the shell:


This drum is from a drumset used by Buddy Rich in 1983-1987. The drumset was put together, restored, and given to Buddy Rich in 1983 by Mr. Joseph MacSweeney, owner of the Eames Drumshell Company of Saugus, Massachusetts.

Bernard "Buddy" Rich (1917-1987) began his professional career as a drummer, tap dancer, and singer with his parents' vaudeville act before the age of two. By the time he was six, "Traps, the Boy Wonder," had performed on Broadway and toured the United States and Australia.

With the demise of the vaudeville circuit and the popularity of the swing era, Buddy became an orchestra musician. His talents as a drummer landed him a job offer with Joe Marsala's band at the Hickory House in New York City in 1937. This led to a long line of high-profile performances with Bunny Berrigan, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Carter. Buddy's playing style was characterized by phenomenal speed, four-way independence, and an uncanny way of driving a big band.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Rich, Bernard "Buddy"
Slingerland Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 19 1/2 in; x 49.53 cm
drum: 18 in x 21 1/4 in x 17 3/4 in; 45.72 cm x 53.975 cm x 45.085 cm
drum head: 1/2 in x 16 1/2 in; 1.27 cm x 41.91 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Cathy and Marie Rich
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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