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A set of three Tour Timps recently serviced and modernised for a customer.
I invented Tour Timps as a very compact, portable and affordable alternative to normal timpani or Kettle Drums.
Pedal Timpani are very bulky and expensive and I felt that for amateur, semi-professional and educational uses there was a clear need for a radical new design of timpani. Tour Timps have everything you need from a pedal timpani: chromatic foot pedal tuning, a tuning gauge to indicate what pitch has been set, normal size timpani heads (from 18″ to 40″!) and a good resonant tone. I always compare Tour Timps vs normal timpani with Upright Pianos vs Concert Grand Pianos: a Grand is the correct instrument for professional musicians, but an upright piano is a fine instrument for homes, schools and smaller concerts, and Tour Timps are equivalent to Upright Pianos.
Tour Timps won awards and praise from press and customers and very soon I went from being an unemployed musician and inventor to running a timpani business with customers around the world. I made about 100 on my own in London then teamed up with a friend in USA who financed an expansion and tooling up for volume production. After various problems things went well and we manufactured nearly 1,000 before an idiot at the spinning company in Texas managed to break the massive, hugely expensive and virtually indestructible production die which made the shells and the hoops. At this point my partner decided that he would take his long-awaited retirement and we ceased all production, but we are negotiating with other people to try to re-start production. The number of enquiries from around the world is bigger than ever, so clearly there is a keen market for them.
Used Tour Timps do occasionally appear for sale, e.g. on eBay, but often fetch higher prices than we charged for new ones!