Ralph Pace

Ralph C. Pace, born January 24, 1925, in White Plains, NY, was an American drummer, author, educator and inventor, best known for his book, Variations of Drumming, and for his invention and patent of the first practice pad drumset called "Set the Pace."

Ralph was a self-taught drummer who came from a musical family. His father, Frank, was a piano tuner and played mandolin, his Uncle Nick was a guitar player and older brother Dominick, played clarinet. Pace joined the US Army in 1942 and gained musical experience as a drummer in the military band playing in Germany and France.

Upon his return to New York at the end of World War II, Ralph began to tour with the Marshall Young Band. Life on the road was not for him so he returned to New York and began to play with different combos. He also began teaching private students. Ralph Pace had a profound effect on several of his young students -- Skip Hadden became a professor at Berkley School of Music and Andy Newmark is a renowned studio musician.

Pace wrote 11 drum method books, teaching thousands of drums students who never actually came through the doors of his teaching studio. His books instructed and challenged drummers from beginners to the most advanced musicians. In 1947, at the age of 22, he wrote his first drum instruction book, Variations of Drumming. One of his mentors, Louis Bellson, was so impressed with the book that he posed for the cover of another one of Ralph's books, Cymbal Coordination. Variation of Drumming was the standard curriculm for many years at Berkley School of Music, Julliard, and Manhattan School of Music as well as other noted schools of music.

In the mid-60s, inspiration struck again and Ralph invented and patented "Set the Pace" -- a silent set of drums made of wood and rubber. His invention of these practice pads earned the respect and appreciation of many parents who asked themselves why they ever bought their child a drum set for Christmas. Pace worked tirelessly, handcrafting and filling each order in the basement of his four unit apartment house. Professionals and amateurs alike now had a mobile and quiet means of practicing and perfecting their skills. Joe Morello, Jim Chapin, Mel Lewis and Butch Miles are among the famous drummers who endorsed his practice pads.

Ralph's son, Ralph Pace, Jr., is also a drummer and is featured on the cover of Pace's Rock and Roll volumes.

Ralph Pace died on June 9, 2006.