Greeting Vintage Drum Lovers and Happy Holidays to all!
For the last article of this great drum year I wanted to write about a very special drum set I recently added to my collection. This incredible find is thanks to the great Steve Maxwell Vintage Drums Chicago.
This is a 1956 WFL model No. 980P Buddy Rich Super Classic set in original Oyster Black Pearl. 22/13/16/5.5x14
This is the earliest known set in existence of the finish made famous by the Beatles Ringo Starr, 8 years before Beatlemania hit in 1964.
This finish first appears into the Ludwig catalog in 1959 where it can be seen on the Las Vegas Stand Up cocktail outfit. In 1956 WFL Drums biggest star endorser was the one and only Buddy Rich.
This is an un-cataloged original finish on a popular set bought by the original owner in Chicago. Steve assisted with the sale from the original owner to a good friend of his. A short time later the friend said the set was "too nice" for his uses so Steve bought them back and sold him a more practical set that could be gigged. That's where I come in. These drums will be played out live and will be very well taken care of. All the drums are the great 3 ply mahogany shells of the era with rounded bearing edges. All the interiors are date stamped in era correct red ink as follows: snare: Aug 19 1956. BD: Aug 19 1956 FT: Aug 18 1956. Tom: Aug 16 1956. An almost matched set built together. The drums are really amazing to see up close. No fade. No rust. All the bass drum T-rods are stamped with the WFL initials which really adds even more class to the clean chrome. The interiors are pristine. Inside photos show how the set arrived from Steve's Chicago store. I was truly in awe at its original condition. This is a time capsule.
An unexpected surprise was the inclusion of most of the original hardware which I was not expecting including the original L arms and bass drum muffler. Some of the pictures were taken outdoors so you can see the color is very strong with almost no fade and very clean. The kit arrived with new coated Emperors all around and what I believe may be the original front head.
So how do they sound?? Steve shipped the drums completely together so I was able to immediately set up the drums and they sang right out of the boxes. There is tone for miles. The toms are full deep warm and big. The floor tom is really amazing. The snare has a thick crack that cuts deep. At the very first gig I played with the kit, my band informed me that this set would be used on the next album. No problem! As you can imagine, I am beyond thrilled to have THIS set in my collection now.
I hope this Holiday Season brings you all good health and some Vintage Happiness!
Until next time, play those drums!