Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Brown Knock-Off by Ron Peeler Looks Great

Something like finding a brand new 1955 Corvette, Ron Peeler directed me to Jim Krause's "Fifer's Web Page" for a photo of a Brown-like drum that he made. He wrote:

As a former member of Moodus. I had the opportunity to work on some of these old drums. I even made a couple of drums using Keller Shells copying the brown tack pattern and fooled a couple of people. Even turned real Pre-Banned Elephant ivory for the vent hole liner. You can see on of these on Jim Kraise's web site

Ron Peeler
Peeler Fifes


  1. Ahh, the famous Brown knock-off. . . he follows in the footsteps of a long-gone Moodus drummer, Elmer "Grump" Ventres. Grump, aided by a fellow drummer who was also a printer, ans his Brown replicas included a nearly identical paper label. . . it should be noted, though, that neither Peeler nor Ventres intended to mislead the buying public, they sought to provide them good Brown-type replicas because of the scarcity and expense of the real thing.

  2. Ron Peeler wrote recently:

    I used a 18 x 18 5 ply maple Keller Shell. I purchased unglued and undrilled pre-bent maple counter hoops from Cooperman and fitted them to the drum. Snare Strainer from Florence Drums. Calfskin heads from Stern Tannery which I tucked myself. For the tack pattern I used a Eli Brown Drum from Moodus as a pattern. (made 6 copies of the pattern). Snare Gut was from Nutmeg Drum Shoppe. I used 1/4 inch dacron rope from New England Ropes. I figured that is Cooperman used this, I could too. I've heard both good and bad things about Linen rope. Leather ears or pulls were made by Dave Strong, a long time member of the Moodus Corps.

    Ron Peeler

  3. Looks like my drum is getting rather famous. My drum teacher really likes this instrument, too. It's a privilege to own it.

  4. Jim Krause's website is There Jim writes:

    "The drum pictured ... was built by Ron Peeler of the Peeler Fife Co. It is a copy of the drums played by the Moodus Drum and Fife Corps of Moodus, CT. The originals were built by Brown family members, some of which are dated ... before the Civil War. It has calfskin heads, gut snares, and the shell measures 18" by 18".

    "Further exploring the roots and history of traditional fife and drum music, I began to find photocopies of early fife tune books, both British and American. Eventually, I found a copy of "A New, Useful, and Complete System of Drum Beating" by former Drum Major Charles Stewart Ashworth of the U.S. Marine Corps. The book was first published in 1812. I set to work learning the fife tunes that were appended to the back of the book. Then [I]began to wonder how to interpret Ashworth's drum notation. I quickly discovered that the most recent 20th century edition was long out of print. I decided to bring out my own edition. I finished it in the Spring of 2007. In the near future, I hope to bring out a CD of the music in Drum Major Ashworth's book."

    [The book can be purchased at]


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P.R. Winn, Drummaker

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