Schnellar-style timpani (developed by Hans Schnellar) have been used by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam for decades, and their special design has been released by Adams - and upgraded with modern innovations - to the rest of the world.
When most timpani are tuned, the process is very similar to the tuning method used on snare drums, toms, and many other drums: the tension rods pull the rim down onto the head. Schnellar timpani are very different in this regard - on these instruments, the bowl moves up against the head, while the rods and rim remain stationary.
Adams has retained the majestic quality of this 25" drum with several high-end features:
- Three-Leg base: A unique base with only three legs was developed to enhance the tonal character of the unique tuning system.
- Calfskin Heads: All-natural calfskin has been the preferred material for timpani heads for centuries, and many professional timpanists still hold that opinion.
- Claw Tension System: These claws do not change the tension on the head, which eliminates the need for a counter hoop, which in turn allows for more precise tuning.
- Pointed Bowls: the hand-hammered copper bowls on these instruments are more elongated than traditional timpani, giving them a unique timbre.
- Dresden-style Pedals: these pedals have a clutch-lock mechanism that allows the pedal to be mechanically locked in place when not in use, keeping the pitch of the drums true. In the past this was done with a ratchet involving intermeshing metal teeth, but this is not the case any more. A special split rocker arm system eliminates the extra tension usually found at the high end of each drum's range.