Roy Knapp’s Trap Set

Roy Knapp’s Trap Set

knappsetPAS Hall of Fame member Roy C. Knapp, known as the ‘Dean of Percussion’ by his many students, had an illustrious career as a performer and teacher in the Chicago area. His better-known students included Gene Krupa, Dave Tough, George Wettling, Baby Dodds, Sid Catlett, and Louie Bellson. Knapp’s performing career spanned 1910 to 1961. In addition to performing in theaters, television, and with the Minneapolis Symphony, Knapp spent much of his career performing on WLS radio in Chicago, where he played on the ‘trap’ set that is now in the PAS Museum.

The foundation drums of Knapp’s set, which mostly dates from the 1920s, are a single-tension 12 x 24 wooden-shell bass drum and a 6 x 14 wooden-shell snare. The snare has eight tube lugs and is one of the earliest models produced by the WFL Company. The set includes four Chinese tom-toms (ranging in size from 3 x 6 to 9 x 12), a pair of copper-shell timbales, a ‘snowshoe’ pedal, and numerous woodblocks, cowbells, temple blocks, triangles, and cymbals.

The temple blocks and smaller Chinese toms are ornately decorated and painted. The set also features a unique, double bass drum pedal that allowed Knapp to play just the bass drum or both the bass drum and the vertically attached cymbal. One bass drum pedal is an original 1909 Ludwig & Ludwig pedal, while the other is a modified 1924 Ludwig & Ludwig model.

The ‘snowshoe’ Charleston cymbal pedal is a forerunner of the modern hi-hat. It features two pieces of wood shaped like snowshoes, hinged at the heel. Between these wooden ‘shoes’ are two cymbals that face each other. The performer’s foot is inserted in a strap on the top shoe and used to tap the two cymbals together.