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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."

crash cymbal puppet toyLarry 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 Noah.

"If you study with me, maybe we can," Larry told him.

"Dad," said Noah, "I want to study with Larry."



Camco hi-hatWhen 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 hardware store.



early CymbalGuyNext, 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."

(See our video: THE early CYMBAL GUY)




Cymbal Guy prototypeIn 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.


The Cymbal GuyIn 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.