I’m back in the collecting mode! I just got this from Bill Wanser and Scott Colner of Olympic Drums & Percussion in Portland, Oregon. Bill alerted me to this rare model and the deal was done.
Bill Wanser of Olympic Drums & Percussion did such a good job of describing this drum that I will simply go with his description:
“Superb, Early 20th century 4” x 14” solid mahogany shell Super-Ludwig Dance Model snare drum. This is an extremely rare WOOD Shell 4” x 14” ‘Super Ludwig’ snare drum from c.1925-1926 as shown in the attached 1927 Ludwig catalog. This is one of the earliest versions of this popular model snare drum. There are several interesting features on display when viewing this version of the instrument. Even though the rims are the same size as the other size drums of the era (5” x 14” & 6.5” x 14”) the bottom rim engraving of “Super Ludwig” is much smaller. The 10 tube lugs are the non-countersunk version dating the drum to pre 1927. Being a pre 1927 ‘Super’ also means it did not come with snare guards. Another early feature is the individually adjustable snare unit which has 12 strands rather than the later and more common 10 strand version. We have left this drum virtually as found. There is very little wear to the original shell finish and very little wear to the original nickel plating. All hardware is original to the drum with the exception of the extension arm and thumb screw which have been replaced with reproductions. The shell finish shows only slight wear at the edges due to head friction. The shell is perfectly in round so modern heads fit and tune easily on the drum. The body of the shell shows typical crazing of the clear lacquer finish often seen in a drum from the 1920s. There is minimal scratching and no dings or gouges in the shell. The 4” x 14” size in an all wood, solid mahogany shell is exceedingly rare in the ‘Super Ludwig’ Model. We have seen only one other example of this drum in many years of collecting and playing vintage drums. Currently the drum has new plastic heads top and bottom (Remo & Evans) with the original 12 strand individually adjustable gut snares. The instrument sounds great and would serve very well as a sensitive orchestral snare drum or as a collectable.”
A few final notes:
The drum was in great shape and accurately described but I still like to get my hands on the snare drums that I purchase so I cleaned and polished everything my own way; lemon oil for the solid mahogany shell and Cape Cod Polishing Cloths for the hardware. Bill was kind enough to outfit the drum with top and bottom calf heads. I had an era-correct thumbscrew and extension arm in my parts stash so all is good there.
Feel free to weigh-in anytime with your comments, questions or stories.