5x15 COBDrum Number 1171
I do not believe collecting is something one sets out to do from the beginning. I believe it is something that develops over time. Perhaps it can be traced back to one drum. I think, for myself, it started sixteen years ago when I purchased my first XP10 Dyna-Sonic. Since then, I have been privileged to acquire some beautiful, and special Rogers Drums. Some drums arrive in unbelievable condition while others are in a condition that cannot be believed. Each one has a story. Some we are able to know. Some are lost to history and the story is forgotten.
Dyna-Sonic serial number 1171. This drum was offered on the Rogers Drums Group II Facebook page. Condition was utterly deplorable. The shell was covered in grime, many years worth of grime. It displayed the absolute worst in neglect. It was however, fairly complete. The frame, of course was long gone. The tension rods were mostly a mix of unknowns that were themselves thirty to forty years old. The heads on the drum, I am pretty sure, were 70s era Remo. This drum had not been played for decades. From what I could see, the original tall Hoops were present. Some hints of rust on the end plates and fasteners. The black background clock face D stamp throw off was on the drum, ss also the very early type black felt dampener. The butt was intact. The first generation Gretsch straight sided shell was not broken, nor did it display evidence someone had attempted to “clean” it. I made contact with the seller, and we came to an agreement on price.
I knew going into this purchase, the $300.00 I gave for the drum would not be the end of the story. Rescues and restorations seldom cease to accrue cost just because the shipper has delivered the drum. I fully expected to find all of the bread and butter lugs to be failures. All were cracked or broken, split, or had the tabs missing. None of them were savable by any of the current reinforcement methods. The shell was so terribly dirty so I dropped it straight into a Dawn/water solution soak along with all of the other bits and parts for several hours. Gently cleaned with a super-soft cotton washcloth and the end result was a beautiful, clean, and shiny shell. After working several dents out using many layers of padding on the outside, and a shaped dolly on the inside, again gently hammering these out and smoothing the shell back to its original form. Similar cleaning treatment was given to the hoops, end caps, throw, dampener, and butt.
For two and a half years, this naked shell occupied a space on my shelves, silently begging for more. At the beginning of last year, I ordered reproduction bread and butter lugs from Jim Petty at JP2 Creations - ten lugs, at the price of 30.00 each. A few months later they arrived and the shell and parts were again cleaned, polished, and made ready for assembly. I used original inserts and swivel nuts. I opted for modern slotted round head stainless steel machine screws for the internal fasteners. These were also used for the pinch plates as well as the internal mounting fasteners for the butt and throw. The pinch plate for the clock face was broken, so I fabricated one from 1/8x1/2 aluminum flat stock that I drilled and tapped to receive the correct size screw, and hand cut the grooves to help secure the strings. It was during this time of reassembly, I made a trade and acquired a first generation Dyna-Sonic snare frame and also a set of original Rogers five hole plate DS wires.
As the drum now lives, it is complete right down to the elastics. This is a fully playable drum that will stand up and deliver at any gig, on any stage. I have a Remo Coated Diplomat on top, with an Ambassador snare side below. It is tuned up as described by Jerry Shields, the Rogers employee who, over the course of the years 1961-1969, tuned the vast majority of all Dyna-Sonic snares that came out of the Covington factory. This is not a “pristine” drum. It has some scars and scratches that will not go away. There is the lingering hint of a hard life. However, there were not that many of these. The number that is mostly thrown about says less than 300. A few were pre-badge drums with typed in “Dyna-Sonic” paper tags.
This is the one hundred and seventy first Dyna-Sonic to wear the badge. I plan to keep it for a long time.