It all happened in the heart of New York City because of
a Broadway show. In 2003 there was a revival of the Rodgers
and Hammerstein musical "Flower Drum Song." David
Henry Hwang, who had won a Tony award for his play "M.
Butterfly" was brought in to doctor the script. David
approached the show's drummer, Ray Grappone, about giving
drum lessons to his seven year old son, Noah. "I don't
teach," said Ray, "but try Larry Spivack. He's very
good with kids."
arranged for Noah and David to visit his studio, which was
not far from Times Square. Noah picked up one of Larry's toys,
a cymbal-crashing clown about the size of a can opener.
"Wouldn't it be great to build a giant one?" asked
"If you study with me, maybe we can," Larry told
"Dad," said Noah, "I want to study with Larry."
Noah came back for the first lesson with Larry, he was determined
to build the "Cymbal Guy." So, over the next couple
of months they did. The very first one was made from an old
Camco hi-hat, 2 cymbal stands, shelf brackets, wooden 2 by
4's and some pieces that Noah's mother Kathryn found at a
they decided to mount the entire apparatus on one hi-hat stand.
A provisional patent for this prototype was filed in October
2004. The official US Patent and Trademark classification
for this type of instrument is "rigid vibrators."
2005 Larry and Noah hired Glen Ayers to build a metal prototype.
Glen did but also came up with a much improved design using
9 pieces of steel and 12 nuts and bolts.
Percussionists Jonathan Gleich and James Mack were the first
players to use CYMBAL GUY live. The event was an orchestra
concert to celebrate the release of "Star Wars: Episode
3 - Revenge of the Sith" in May 2005. Not enough players
had been hired to play John Williams' orchestrations, so Jonathan
and James used CYMBAL GUY while playing snare drum and timpani.
October 2005 the provisional patent application was amended
to include the new design and Larry, Noah and Glen filed as
co-inventors. On February 12, 2008, US Patent No. 7,329,810
B2 was issued, eight days before Noah's 12th birthday.