The Ludwig & Ludwig New-Era Sensitive DeLuxe Model is extremely rare. There are only 4 known examples as of this writing. These 4 known examples are all accounted for: The first example is in the University of Mississippi Museum, the second example is in a private collection in the eastern part of this country, the third example resides in my collection and the 4th and most recent example known to exist in now in the Robert Campbell Collection.
I first heard of this drum from my good friend John Aldridge. Aside from being a vintage drum historian, a world class engraver and an all around plethora of knowledge, John is also the drum tech for the previous owner of this drum, Bryan Hitt of REO Speedwagon. The drum was definitely “ridden hard and put up wet” but it was still a diamond in the rough. I already have one of these drums but I couldn’t stand the thought of letting this drum fall by the wayside so the “drum rescuer” in me set out to bring this drum back to life. Robert Campbell buys high end snare drums so I presented the idea of getting this drum restored and getting it into Robert’s collection. It was a pretty easy sell as I truly feel that this drum was worth the effort.
This model never made it to a Ludwig & Ludwig catalog and the only mention of the New-Era Sensitive model is in the Fall 1929 Ludwig Drummer Magazine.
1929-30 LUDWIG & LUDWIG 5 x 14 NEW-ERA SENSITIVE DeLUXE (BLACK BEAUTY) MODEL
The engraving is the 1929-only 10-point flat-top double-leaf floral pattern. The shell was in good shape with no major digs or dents but the original clear coat lacquer was in bad shape so I stripped the original lacquer down to the black nickel. After cleaning and polishing the black nickel I took the shell to Brian at Avenue Plating for a new lacquer clear coat. The shell came out great, looks clean but still looks its age. At some point there was a heater/light fixture right below the factory air hole...all together now 1, 2, 3: “why didn’t the owner of yesteryear simply use the existing air hole?" I was able to use some of my older heater/light fixture parts so the after-market heater/light fixture looks authentic.
Ninety-five percent of the L & L DeLuxe Art Gold lacquer finish was long gone and there was a significant amount of tarnish present so I needed strip the remaining lacquer or what was left of it. There was enough of the original copper plating left to work with but I needed Les at Avenue Plating to clean the tarnish down to the original copper plating. Les came through like a champ and I was then able to polish up the copper and then gold lacquer everything. The hardware turned out great but like the shell, still looks age-appropriate.
Even though this is not one of my personal drums that would have been added to my collection I still felt that this very rare drum needed to be restored for another collector to enjoy.