Fall has begun and there is a slight chill in the mornings that will soon have us cold and shivering and wishing for warmer weather again. We had a great time at the Nashville Drum Show this year. I met some new friends and enjoyed talking to old friends as well during the show. The greatest drum builders on the planet were there with their awesome creations. Master drummers gave fantastic seminars. Great vintage drums filled the air with cracking and booming sound. I can't really explain how cool it was, you just need to go see and hear it for yourself. If you missed the Nashville show maybe you can go to another one of the many drum shows around the country. I hope to make it to the Chicago show next year in May. I have never been to it and I hear it is a great show to attend.
The drum set from my collection that I want to feature this month is a 1960s Ludwig Downbeat Set in sparkling pink champagne pearl. Downbeat sets began in 1959. It is one of my all time favorite kits. I really love these drums for many reasons. Their sizes are one reason I love them. These are the size drums Ringo Starr played on the earlier Ed Sullivan shows. The Bass drum is 20"X14", the floor tom is 14"X14" and the mounted tom is 12''X8". Ringo referred to the Downbeat sets he owned as the "mini" kits. I used to have a hard time telling if a kit was a Downbeat set in photos, but I learned to count the bass drum T- rods. The Downbeat set has 8 lugs and the 22"X14" Super Classics have 10 lugs. Another way to tell is to look at the lugs on the mounted tom. The space is greater between the top and bottom lugs on the 12'' tom than the space on the 13" tom. The 13" tom used on the Super Classics has larger lugs, so the space between them is smaller. The badges on this set are Keystones and the interiors are white. I have displayed a 14"X5" 1960s Supraphonic snare with the set. Before 1966, Downbeat kits came with a 14"X4" snare drum with piccolo lugs.
I also love this particular set because of the finish. I had a great friend who had a champagne Ludwig set when we were in high school. I always thought that was such a beautiful drum set. We collectors sometime look for drums that meant something to us when were younger. This is the case with this set. My friend who had the champagne set was killed in an automobile accident during his senior year. I just wish I had been able to get his beautiful Ludwig drums, but I have not been able to trace them down yet. It is something I keep in the back of my mind all the time. Anyway, these remind me of him, so that's another reason I love them. I could add they sound fantastic. For some reason these drums really sing. Their tone reminds me of the Beatle records I grew up listening to.
I bought these drums during the days when I didn't have much money to spend on drums. Not that I'm that much better off now, but when I obtained these I was just beginning my collection and money was very tight. It was at the second Atlanta Drum Show hosted by Billy Jeansome way back at the turn of the century that I got them. I bought this set from Matt Sinyard of Bonzo Drum Co. Look him up, he is one of the very best drum restorers in the country. He really gave me a good deal on them, and I thank him for them every now and then. I just sent him some snare drums to work on and I rubbed it in how I got this sweet set from him. He is a super great guy.
Until next time, don't worry...keep on drumming.