Murray Gusseck is considered an innovator in the world of marching percussion. He started his career as a marching member of the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps (SCV) in 1988, aging out in 1992. He played tenors all 5 of those years under Ralph Hardimon, Glen Crosby, and Scott Johnson.

As a member of those SCV drumlines Murray helped start a new trend of drumline parking lot “events” by composing entertaining battery compositions that attracted large audiences outside the normal competition arenas. All of these compositions are currently published in a collection entitled Parking Lot Etudes by Tapspace Publications LLC (Portland, OR), a publishing company Murray co-founded with his friend and partner Jim Casella (current arranger for the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps). He is also co-author of Fresh Perspectives, a standard method book for today’s drumlines. Both of these books can be found at

As a player Murray received many accolades for his tenor playing and for the extreme ability levels of the tenor sections and drumlines he was a part of during his tenure with SCV. As a staff member of the Santa Clara Vanguard, Murray has served as caption head, arranger and currently fills the role of Battery Caption Manager. During his time with Vanguard, SCV has captured the Fred Sanford Percussion Trophy 5 times and the DCI Championship twice. He has taught and arranged percussion music for various high schools and winter percussion ensembles throughout the country, including Amador Valley (CA), Richland Hills (TX), Tunstall Concert Ensemble (VA), Fred C. Beyer High School (CA), James Logan High School (CA), and currently Evergreen High School (WA).

Murray attended San Jose State University where he studied world music systems and drumset with Royal Hartigan and Dan Sabanovich. In 1998 he joined up with schoolmates Nima Rezai and Dan Heflin, and friend Chip Webster, to form “Merge,” ( an eclectic world fusion quartet consisting of Chapman Stick, saxophone, keyboards, and drums. The group has toured and performed in northern and southern California for several years, producing their self-titled CD “Merge.”

Murray proudly endorses Remo drumheads, Vic Firth drumsticks, Pearl drums, and Zildjian cymbals.


 Audio interview with Murray Gusseck
  Conducted by Mark Wessels, Vic Firth's Director of Internet Actitivies, Nov/2004


Murray's stick of choice:
Murray Gusseck (SMG)
With a thick shaft and a medium long taper‚ "M-Dawgs" offer great balance from front to back. The slightly elongated tip provides quick rebound with a bright sound that works well on both snares and tenors. In hickory.
L = 17" | Dia. = .715"
  [enlarge photo]

Check out some of Murray's publications!

available at

Parking Lot Etudes


Parking Lot Etudes contains some of the most unique drumline cadences and 60 second warm-ups ever written for the Santa Clara Vanguard. Gusseck also supplies a foreword to each piece giving some insight to the creation of the work. These are advanced pieces, which are sure to test the boundaries of your rudimental chops!

Included are such popular favorites as:

Martian Mambo
    |  download a sample page  |  listen to the mp3  |
This groundbreaking composition by Murray Gusseck may very well be the most widely known and envied piece in modern drum corps history! This is a recording of the world-champion SCV drumline in Spring of 1991. Join the hundreds of other drummers who have challenged their hands to play Martian Mambo by purchasing the entire score!

    |  download a sample page  |  listen to the mp3  |
A Classic! This was written by Murray Gusseck when he was a member of the 1992 SCV tenor line. It was used as the 60-second, onfield warmup of the renowned 1992 Santa Clara Vanguard drumline.

Electric Wheelchair
    |  download a sample page  |  listen to the mp3  |
This popular cadence of the 1990-92 Santa Clara Vanguard is chock full o' notes!

Fat Mama Dancin'
    |  download a sample page  |  listen to the mp3  |
What the hell was that?? It's the onfield warmup of the 1997 Santa Clara Vanguard drumline. Check out this crazy mix of rhythms, and you'll have to agree that Gusseck is without a doubt, a rhythmic genius.

It's in 4
    |  download a sample page  |  listen to the mp3  |
Just when you figured out how to count in 13/8, It's in 4 will challenge you in good old common time. Using a wide variety of stylistic approaches, It's in 4 was the SCV cadence in 1994 and 1996. This puppy never gets old!

Double Beat 2004     |  listen to the mp3  |

Double Beat 2004 is Murray Gusseck's latest version of the immensely popular pre-show piece played by the SCV drumline. Murray and the guys take it up another notch or two with this extended version that contains new grooves and the same backbeat funkiness that has made this into one of the most popular drumline stand-alone pieces of all time.


Basic Strokes     |  listen to snippets from the mp3  |

Murray Gusseck and Tap Space Publications bring you an entire warm-up sequence in one exercise. Basic Strokes 2004 was played all summer long by the 2004 championship Santa Clara Vanguard drumline. Lasting nearly 6 minutes, the exercise takes the line through a series of paces focusing on two stroke-types, as well as providing the usual rhythmic interest and variety that keep SCV's drumline at the top of their game.


Spanks     |  listen to snippets from the mp3  |

Spanks presents a groove challenge for any drumline. Written and designed by Murray Gusseck for the championship 2004 Santa Clara Vanguard drumline, this exercise is 3 minutes of groove-oriented single and double-stroke patterns that are designed to challenge not only the players' sense of time, but also the finer fulcrum muscles of their hands.


Electric Wheelchair 2003     |  listen to the mp3  |

Electric Wheelchair was written as a street cadence for the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps in 1990 by Murray Gusseck, who was a marching tenor player at the time. Since then it has become a trademark piece for the SCV battery, and one of the most popular cadences of all time. This 2003 version is the most current one used the corps. The original version Electric Wheelchair is also available as part of Tap Space Publications' collection of battery ensemble pieces written by Murray Gusseck, known as Parking Lot Etudes.