The essence of the gabber sound is a distorted 909 bass drum, which is overdriven to the point where it becomes a square wave and makes a recognizably melodic tone.
Gabber originated in Rotterdam, Holland; many consider Rotterdam Termination Source's Poing (1992) to be the archetypal gabber track. The record shop Midtown in the Nieuwe Binnenweg of Rotterdam is one of the shrines of Gabber music. The typical Gabber track was 160 to 180 BPM (beats per minute). Fans dressed in Australian and Cavello track suits, Nike sport shoes, bomber jackets and have shaven heads. The girls could keep a small tail. A gabber party would usually last 24 hours. It peaked for a year or two and was commercialized and almost disappeared, many feel because of its commercialization. After living in the underground for a couple of years, in 2002 the style became more popular again in the Netherlands.
The style started in the late 1980s, became popular because of Happy hardcore that also caused it to become a lot less popular with the old crowd.
The commercial organisation ID&T helped a lot in making the music popular by organising parties and selling merchandise.
The term originated in the Netherlands, and is derived from the Jiddish word gabber meaning friend. The story is one of these gabbers wanted to enter a club in Amsterdam, where the bouncer said, "No gabber, you can't come in here."