Greeting Vintage Drum Lovers!
This month’s installment of Vintage Happiness is on a drum that has a great history as well as a bright future. About 2 years ago, my youngest brother made the rank of Chief in the US Navy. I wanted to congratulate him for his commitment to our great country in a special way, as he is also a drummer. And what better way than with a drum that was once owned by the United States Navy.
This drum is a late 40’s WFL 6.5 x 15 No. 3 Special Concert Size Snare Drum.
“A special sized drum recommended for large military concert bands because of its unusual volume and carrying power” The drum is nickel over brass and as you can see in the pictures, has been put to good use by the US Navy. My first reaction was that this drum had seen a good amount of time near salt water. And since it was a Navy drum it made sense. Years of salty air will tarnish any instrument in my opinion.
When I received the drum the gut wires were still on it, but I knew this drum was really going to take a beating between my brother and me, so I opted for a replacement throw off similar to a Ludwig P-83 and slapped some Puresound snare wires on.
Remo Vintage Ambassador on the batter side & clear on the snare side and this drum is a cannon! This snare being 15” in diameter really packs more of an incredible crack! It also retains its fatness and depth at the same time.
Inside the drum shell wall is written DON Concert Drum Jan 1952 and the WFL badge is the earlier version showing the Damen Avenue address and William F Ludwig Founder written around the vent hole. The crimped snare beds and tube lugs add even more nostalgia to an already cool and unique drum.
My brother is leaving for deployment to Japan for the next 3 years at the end of this month and has returned this drum to me take care of while he is there. Not a problem. This drum is now one of my favorite snare drums and I’m already using in my regular snare rotation. It has many years of music still to be played on it.
Until next time, PLAY those drums!