My Aching Back, By: Tara Maioriello

My Aching Back

By: Tara Maioriello

The marching band and drum corps activities have been around for many, many years. Just like drums have evolved during that time period, so have the drum carriers. From the simple T-Bar, to the vest carrier, to the tubular carrier, drum harnesses have grown and changed throughout the years. One thing that has remained relatively unchanged, is the back bar. The back bar has been a straight piece of material that rests across the upper back that connects the two shoulder bars. While it serves its purpose and has its place, it could surely be improved upon. Enter, the Randall May ABS.

ABS stands for Articulating Back Support. The ABS carrier is the first of its kind to enable correct posture. It works by dispersing the weight of the drum more evenly reducing player fatigue. This takes all the pressure off of the neck and shoulders, and evenly distributes it through the back – which is a much stronger set of muscles than the neck or the shoulders. This allows for the player to wear the drum for longer periods of time with less pain and more comfort. The articulating design provides a customized fit so the player has complete control of the drum during complex body movement. The unique design allows free movement of the shoulder blades and scapula. This is an important feature because of the intense drill writing now in demand on the field and in the gym.


Simply marching and drumming is no longer the norm – now, to participate in marching activities, you have to be able to run, dance, and flip across the floor or field. The level of flexibility the player needs to perform these complex moves could be inhibited by the carrier they are wearing. Now, with the addition of the ABS carrier, the player has full range of motion in their arms. In addition to free range of motion, the ABS carrier also provides the necessary compactness of drum – to – body, which is essential for intense spinning motion or fast turns. Previously, when a player had a fast turn, the drum would lift away from the player’s body, thereby pulling the player around with centripetal force. This can lead to a flaw in the drill, and even worse personal injury. Now, by utilizing the ABS, the drum stays flush against the player’s body therefore enabling the player to be in control of all body movements. This allows drill and choreography to be sharp and precise, while keeping the player safe.


By bringing together the Articulating Back Support with the contour hinge lineup of carriers Yamaha already offers, an unbeatable combination was put in place. Having a carrier that offers a total customized fit to the player, and enables proper posture, is a sure recipe for a successful season in the gym or on the field.