I just got this 1928-30 5 x 14 Ludwig & Ludwig “Rainbow Pearl”/DeLuxe Standard Model snare drum from my good friend and fellow collector Donn Bennett of Donn Bennett Drum Studios in Belleview, WA. The drum needed no cleaning or restoring. The solid maple shell interior is clean with a tight grommet/badge and the “finish” is very clean. There is no tone control, tone controls show up in the L & L catalog around 1932 hence the 1928-30 dating. The DeLuxe hardware was restored by Adrian Kirchler of AK Drums in Italy. The only thing I added was of-the-era top and bottom Ludwig & Ludwig calf heads and Ludwig & Ludwig Snappi-type wires.
The real story is in the identification of the finish that is on this drum. I’ll try to explain as best as I can but there are definite inconsistencies that I will site along the way. The finish on this drum (and on the only other drum like this that I have ever seen) has been referred to as “Rainbow Pearl”. I have included a comparison photo of both drums. Ludwig & Ludwig never had a cataloged finish called Rainbow Pearl but they did have the Rainbow Outfit but the drums were finished in Lavender Pearl (1928-35). Leedy introduced Rainbow Pearl in 1930 and it has been suggested that the finish on this drum was taken from the “Leedy side” of the building as Leedy and Ludwig & Ludwig were literally built across the way from each other as they were both owned by the C. G. Conn Co. at that time but the Leedy Rainbow Pearl snare that I own does not look at all like the “Rainbow Pearl” drum in this article. I have also included a comparison photo of the Leedy drum and this drum so the reader can see what I am talking about.
Another theory is that this could be a variation of a “run” of 1928-30 Peacock Pearl. More photos are available on page 153 of The Ludwig Book by Rob Cook, this is a nice presentation of Peacock Pearl I and Peacock Pearl II. Please note that at the top of page 153 Rob lists Peacock Pearl version I (1928-30) and Peacock version II (1930-32) but reverses the the order in the photos; the top photos should be labeled Peacock Pearl II and the bottom photos should be labeled Peacock Pearl I and be aware that the drum in the lower left is the “other” Rainbow Pearl drum that I mentioned earlier. Having fun yet, are you still with me? So what are we going to call this finish...Rainbow Pearl, Peacock Pearl I, a variation of Peacock Pearl I, a one-off run of an un-cataloged finish, a one-off special order, frog in a blender, Walt Disney threw up?
No matter what we call it I have come to really enjoy collecting this finish even though, as my good friend John Aldridge says, “that finish is as ugly as home made soap!” As always I welcome your comments, observations, information AND photos if you own a drum like this or if you have seen or heard of another drum like this one.
Enjoy! Mike Curotto