I got this snare drum circa 1996 from an estate sale via a local record collector who knew that I collected old snare drums
The old saying “the sun shines on a dog’s butt at least once a day” definitely applies here. I had just been collecting for over a year when this snare drum came my way. I noticed right away that it was an 8 lug, 2-pc., heavy brass shell All Metal Dance Model. I also noticed the white enamel paint on the shell and rims but that did not stop me from purchasing the drum as I was totally confident that I could strip the white enamel and clean that puppy up nicely. Here’s where a little karmic luck entered into my early vintage snare drum collecting hobby. Just before I was going to start stripping the white enamel off of the shell and rims a new VHS tape (remember, 1996) featuring legendary Jazz drummers came out; the first drummer that was featured on that video was Warren “Baby” Dodds who is seen playing a 5 x 14, 8 lug, white enamel version of the drum I had recently purchased. All together now: “step away from the enamel stripper neophyte vintage snare drum collector Mike Curotto”. Needless to say, my drum collecting karma was in the plus-column that day.
The top and bottom calf heads that came with the drum look to be of-the-era. An interesting artifact from yesteryear is on the top head where there are twelve names that are written in very elegant 1920s style script, most likely fellow band members of The White Eagle Orchestra from a long ago great era. I wonder if “Connie” was the drummer given that his/her name is prominently placed on the head and did “M. Filipek“ do a good job of managing the orchestra? Who, what, when and where...? I love dwelling on stuff like this.
The 4 x 14, 2-pc. heavy brass shell is structurally sound with no major dents or extra holes but the white enamel definitely shows its age both on the shell and the rims. I lightly cleaned the white enamel and was happy to leave the 93 + year old mojo alone. The Ludwig stamp is clearly visible under the white enamel in the same panel as the P-338 strainer. The factory air vent is in the upper half of the panel just left of the strainer; I mention this because I have also seen factory air vents on 8 lug All Metal Models in the upper half of the panel just left of the butt plate.
The hardware was all there and the nickel plating cleaned and polished up nicely. Of-the-era gut snares rounded out the cleaning of this snare drum.
I always welcome your comments and related stories.
Mike “Lucky” Curotto