On deciding what vintage kit from my collection to write about for my first NSMD article I asked myself “what kit looks brand new and is practically New Old Stock?” This is one of those kits that you dream of finding and it actually found me. I run an ad on the local Craig’s List looking for vintage drums. One day I get an email from an older gentleman telling me about this kit he may want to sell. He used to play and not so much anymore. After many emails back and forth (and finding out we have much in common). I finally made the hour drive to his home. When I got there I was unbelievably shocked with joy to finally see them. The few pictures he did send me did not do them justice.
No fade, no rust, no pitting, no nothing! Original heads on all the drums except batter heads. Everything pristine and in the original cases sitting there waiting for me. These drums sat in the cases in an attic for close to 40 years in the perfect Southern California conditions. And as it turns out he barely ever played them.
What is a “Superbeat?” It is a configuration when Ludwig offered a 20” kick instead of the 22” for the Super Classic sets. The 20” being the Downbeat bass drum. So you now have 20/13/16. This happens to be my personal favorite combination of sizes as the 60s 20” bass drums are amazingly huge sounding. It also works well for most of the music I play. This combo of sizes appears quite often and
sometimes can be found with special order kits with dual sets of mufflers on the toms & dual spurs on the bass drums like another Superbeat kit I have.
This kit is a matched set. The drums are dated March 9 1965 in the bass drum & tom & March 10 in the floor tom. The Supraphonic snare is dated June 14 1965. The blue is very strong and the chrome is perfect. There really are no flaws on any of the drums. Though the Oyster Blue is not as sought after as the Oyster Black (thank you Ringo!) or as rare as the Oyster Pink, this finish has gained some popularity I’ve seen over the recent years.
Also something to note on the kit is the use of the early 60s hardware on the drums. Since the kit was most likely built in early 65, the Ludwig factory was still using the remaining P-1672 cymbal mounts & FT legs in stock you find on kits from 1964 & earlier. As you would expect, this kit projects with great volume and beautiful tone. The bass drum is very punchy with great bottom end and the toms sing and that practically new Supraphonic cracks! An extremely fun set to play.
(Editor's note: Please say hello and welcome to our newest columnist, Mark Markowitz, drummer for Three Chord Justice and owner of Markowitz Vintage Drums. Thanks, Mark, great stuff and glad to have you aboard! )