Brian Hill - Drums of War - video.

This video was sent to us by Michael Outlaw of Outlaw Drums: On the Ropes with Brian Hill. Brian talks about Charles W Bonner, civil war drummer, and William S. Tompkins, drum maker. Brian is an expert in drum history. He is full of interesting anecdotes and facts on historical drums. If you love history, you need to check this video out. Brian Hill explains why he is so passionate about the drums he brings to the Museum Series On The Ropes.p

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Late 1960s Beverley Drums

This month I’m looking at the rather lovely Beverley drums of the late 1960’s / early 1970’s. Originating from the North Yorkshire town of Beverley, ownership of the company changed hands a few times between their appearance on the market in the 1930’s and  their demise in 1979. These drums really do represent some of the finest sounding English drums, in my opinion,  the nicer drums  produced  between 1968 and the early 1970’s.

The 1969 catalogue marketed Beverley drums as ‘The Sound Of Success’ although they were viewed in the UK as lower quality in comparison to other brands. The shells, however, were produced in the Premier factory in Leicester (UK) and were 3 ply birch or 3 ply mahogany with beech reinforcement hoops (identical to the Premier drums of that era).

They differed from Premier drums in many ways, most notably the lugs; rather than one piece, all drums featured single lugs top and bottom in a design not dissimilar to the American market leaders. The finishes of the drums were different too, with the black Oyster the closest in comparison to Ludwig’s famous ‘Beatles’ kit of the same period. Other finishes included nice glitters (Champagne, Blue, Red) and some very subtle shimmers (red, blue).  All drums were fitted with triple flange hoops, the bass drums having disappearing spurs and disappearing shell-to-shell tom mounts. The badges were silver circles with a blue ‘b’ in the centre.

The configurations in the 1969 catalogue are as follows;

‘Galaxy 21’ set – 22x17, 13x9, 16x16 with Cosmic 21 snare; ‘Galaxy 650’ set – 22x17, 13x9, 16x16 with wooden 6050 snare; ‘Panorama 21’ set – 22x17, 12x8, 13x9, 16x16 with Cosmic  21 snare; ‘Panorama  22’ with 2 bass drums and wooden snare.

Bass drums were available from 18” up to 24”, so we do see some variations in kit configurations, which are a little rarer to have survived in good condition.

Overlooked mainly in UK at the time the drums gained the most popularity in the USA and Holland. Some argue that they were a cheaper alternative to Ludwig drums, whilst looking (and sounding) very similar. These drums always surprise me when they come through my shop, in a good way. Big, warm tones from the bass drum and floor tom, especially the African mahogany shells. The birch shelled kits are a good too, accurate in tone with good projection. The bass drums on these sets never fail to impress me - a 22” Beverley bass drum sounds like a 24” with your eyes closed!

While some never doubted them, there is a  growing respect for Beverley drums in the UK and any kits I have in stock don’t stick around long. The most Recent went to a customer in Switzerland who says this:

“I just love my 60s Beverly Blue Label kit.  It has a vintage feel but a big deep resonant sound that really punches if you want it to, but is subtle enough for quiet performance situations.  I feel right at home on this kit playing rock, blues or country.  Its old-school for sure, but some things never go out of style” HJ

The ‘Cosmic 21’ snare drums that came with these kits are worth a mention on their own, so I’ll cover those next month.

I found this link online to some Beverley kits in use...

Red Sparkle Ludwig Club Dates

To all the vintage drum lovers wherever you are, true love is a wonderful thing. I have a sweetheart of a drum kit to show you this month. It is Valentines red, sweeter than candy, and you're sure to fall in love with it. Ludwig introduced the Club Date series way back in the 1940s. The more modern Club Dates are from 1959-1970. Ludwig has recently re-introduced Club Dates, and has opened the door for a whole new generation of Club Date players. My Club Dates are truly a great set of drums. They look and sound great. The story I have about this sweet drum set is pretty cool, and I'll share it after I tell you more about this set.

These drums have a beautiful red sparkle finish as you can see in the photos. The sizes are typical for this era Club Dates. The bass drum is 20"X14", the floor tom is 14"X14", and the mounted tom is 12"X8". The snare with this set is a matching Pioneer 14"X5". Acrolite snares were offered with this kit beginning in 1966. There is cymbal mount on the bass drum that is factory placed near the batter head side pointing toward the floor tom. Also the small brass cowbell was featured with the set. They are light weight three ply shells with reinforcement rings. The unique characteristic about these drums is the center shell mounted "bowtie" lugs. Dual tension is achieved by long tension rods. The shells are painted white inside and have Keystone badges. The floor tom has "clipper" legs. The legs are straight and the holders are spring loaded with a push button adjustment. The mounted tom is attached to the bass drum by the "old faithful" rail type single tom holder.

Now the story. I was talking to a fellow drummer who told me he had just bought a new Tama drum set. I asked him what he had done with his old set? He said, "they are really old, in pretty bad shape, and they are beginner Ludwigs." I of course inquired about the "old, bad shape, Ludwigs." He told me I could come over and see if I wanted them. I asked him if right now would be too soon. If possible, go the minute you hear about a set, because things can happen so quickly and you will lose your chance.

He had let them get in very poor shape. They had no resonant heads or hardware, also missing were the front hoop and rods on the bass drum. A screw driver was employed as a bass drum leg. 30 years of dirt and grime was coating everything. I asked him," how much will you give me to take them away". He was mildy amused, and then said, I'll take $50.00 for them". Without haggling I gladly paid and loaded them up.

I spent a good bit of time and money putting them back in shape, but they are worth it. I even got some flat base hardware with the deal.My friend, Butch Braddy, drum dealer at a popular Georgia music store chain was asked to provide some authentic vintage drums to be featured in a movie. Savannah, Georgia  has become a favorite spot for many movie makers to shoot films. Butch and I provided the drum sets for the movie about the CBGB Club in New York where many famous bands made their debut. This set is in the film. I haven't actually seen the film yet, but I did watch the trailer, and can't wait to see these Club Dates in their starring role.

Keep looking for those great vintage drum deals.