Church Find: 1970s Ludwig Smoky Vistalite "Big Beat" Set w Black Beauty

My friend and fellow musician, Chuck Hutcheson called me about a drum set a church was selling. The church didn't have a drummer anymore and I guess they decided they didn't want one. Maybe if they get a new drummer he can play a nice electric kit and the sound man can turn him down. I know some drummers can play in a church or small venue without blast beating, but I have seen plenty of drummers who only play one way..loud. Anyway, I stopped talking about the drums and stated preaching. I know all the readers of NSMD play with restraint and know when not to play too loud.

Chuck told me the set was crappy looking and would need some work. The set was covered with a blue cabinet wrap. I guess they didn't like Smoky Vistalite and thought blue adhesive paper would look a lot better. Maybe the blue paper matched the carpet. I don't know, it looked terrible. Parts had been removed and the heads were destroyed, painted, covered with tape and just awful. I told Chuck the drums may be good underneath the wrap or they might be scratched up. I told him I was not going to take all that wrap off on the spot, I would just have to make an offer and take a chance.

The drums are Big Beat sizes 22" bass, 12" and 13" mounted toms, and a 16" floor tom. The snare was another story. I could tell it was a 1970s Black Beauty. Ludwig re-introduced the Black beauty snare in the late 1970s. They made Supraphonics both 5" and 6.5" and Super Sensitives 5" and 6.5". I don't know how many of each one they made. I'm sure that information is available. If you have one, they are great snares to own and very collectible. The snare was missing parts and the heads were taped up and cloth applied to kill any snare drum sound the poor drum tried to make. I could tell this drum was a diamond in the ruff.

The deal included stands, cymbals, bells, and all manner of percussion stuff. I made an offer for everything . No, I didn't low ball the church. I don't do that. I believe the Golden Rule, Karma, and whatever you call it when you treat someone like you want to be treated. My offer was decent and it was accepted. Chuck and I loaded up all the drum gear and I went home pretty happy. there's nothing like that great feeling you have when you make a good score.I have done a lot of hard work on these drums but I feel like the results are pretty good.