DW "Buddy Rich" Drum Set

This is a Drum Workshop set that I purchased March of 1983 that was custom built for Buddy Rich in August 1982. He used it for the beginning of the 1983 tour and played them until he had the heart attack when he was in Ann Arbor Michigan. It was ordered and built to his specifications through Joe Cusatis at the modern drum shop in NYC. He wanted the Slingerland TDR throw off on the snare, He wanted Pearl spurs and a Ludwig rail/banana mount for the tom tom. He also wanted Ludwig cymbal holders for the bass drum. The rest of the set is DW but is wrapped in Ludwig white marine pearl. It has the BR on the front bass drum head and "Buddy Rich Fragile" on the cases.

Read More

The WWII Collection

"Here are a couple of pics of the World War II collection. The L&L is completely restored. The 1st version WFL (with the rolling bomber snare) werepurchased new, played for a year at home and put in the closet for 70+ years - they still have the original Calf heads on them. I am the 2nd owner. A BDP Rollin Bomber kit with a very rare 10" off set lug tom. I am the second owner as well. At the show I will also have a 1st version (Cecil Stupe design) WFL internal tune kit in WMP that I am restoring."

Read More

Father to Son: T.S. Monk ‘Keeps it in the Family’

T.S. Monk, son of virtuoso jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, has carved out his own niche as a respectable and identifiable voice in bop drumming circles.  But, he never forgot where he came from.

T.S. had the good fortune of soaking in all the musical vibes surrounding him at home. From receiving his first drumset from Max Roach to listening to his father, Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Art Blakey upstairs in his living room, there was no escaping it – he was presented with the ‘gift’ at an early age.

Read More

A "Seasoned" 1970s Zildjian Cymbal

Asa Lane, a drumming colleague of ours and employee of Fork's Drum Closet here in Nashville, posted this story to Facebook today. Too interesting not to share. What are your thoughts? Have you ever done this? What was the outcome?

-NSMD Staff


Back in October of 2013, I "seasoned" this 1970's brilliant finish A. Zildjian & CIE Constantinople 20" ride with black walnut sap, and buried under 2 feet of Pure Michigan soil out in the woods behind my folks house for 7 months.

I put it in the ground with it having a lot of brightness, a good bell, but was more of a gongish crash-ride type sound. It just wouldn't open up for crashing, nor did it have quite the definition to make a successful ride cymbal.

After 7 months, and being smack in the middle of the frost line (42") during one of Michigan's coldest winters in quite some time, the cymbal changed in nature in the following ways:

  • Wide open crash-ability. The cymbal now has a gorgeous feel to it when crashed on. Still has minor stick definition, though. I can only imagine that the shifting soil throughout the freezing/thawing periods messed with the metal somehow, and opened it up.
  • Due to the cymbal in essence being an "A" Zildjian with a brilliant finish (first series to have a brilliant, I believe), it originally had a nice glassy overtone to it. This also unfortunately included annoying highs that were a bit piercing. The annoying highs are still there, but definitely have reduced noticeably. The glassy aspect though, still is pretty much still there, but actually is kinda pleasant.

After wiping the cymbal down with a rag (no cleaning) and throwing it on a kit, I know this cymbal will make a great crash, with a cool bell. Nothing life changing, but definitely a useful cymbal.

Plus, it's 100% Pure Michigan. :o)


My Pilgrimage to Meet Bun E

by Bryan Herrman

My favorite drummer is Bun E Carlos. As a high school freshman in 1978, the album Cheap Trick Live at Budokan was the biggest thing I’d ever heard – and Bun E Carlos was the coolest drummer I’d ever seen. Bun E shaped my playing style, and as a kid from a small, rural town in western Kansas, I traveled the world through Bun E and the music of Cheap Trick.

Fast forward more than 35 years. In June, I’ll turn 50. My wife has been asking what I’d like for my birthday. It’s a special milestone. It deserves a special gift. After thinking about it for several months, it hit me square between the eyes one late Saturday evening as I was chatting on a vintage drum facebook page – “I want a Bun E Carlos drum kit from Cheap Trick. I wonder if he’d consider selling me one?” Never hurts to ask, right? So, at about 11pm, I shot Bun E a private message on facebook. I explained the situation, how much his music has meant to me over the years, and asked if he’d consider selling me one of his Ludwig kits. To my surprise (and delight), he responded almost immediately. He said he had a Mod Orange Ludwig Classic Maple that was stage played with Cheap Trick! Mod Orange – my favorite Ludwig color (I have a ’67 and ’69 Super Classic in Mod Orange).

After a few messages about the details, and hoping to not overstep my boundaries, I asked Bun E if I could pick it up in person so I could shake his hand and thank him for all the years of great music. He kindly obliged, and so began my pilgrimage to meet Da’King. A week later, my wife, son and I piled in our Jeep and headed from Kansas City to Rockford, Illinois. Seven hours-one minute, 481.2 miles on GPS. We listened to Cheap Trick ALL the way. We arrived at Bun E’s home at 10am the next morning. I pulled up to the “Bun E Hut,” and knocked on the door. I heard a friendly voice from inside, “C’mon in, Bryan.”

In a moment, I was standing with Bun E Carlos and shaking his hand. He was so friendly, that it was like we’d known each for years – just two drum guys talking drums. He couldn’t have been more accommodating, spending over an hour giving us a tour of his incredible vintage drum collection before we ever looked at the kit I was there to buy. He even let me play his practice kit, and showed me a few “tricks” in his equipment set-up.

Finally, we switched our attention to the kit I was picking up: a 2004 Ludwig Classic Maple in Mod Orange wraps.  24+12+13+16. It’s a beautiful kit with a vintage vibe. The interiors were all signed and dated by Bun E when he picked them up in 2004. He also signed my son’s guitar, and the front head of the bass drum with a note, “Bryan – enjoy playing my drums.” Being the genuinely good guy I found him to be, he even helped us pack and load the kit into the Jeep.

While the kit I purchased is not vintage, this trip was all about nostalgia – a Cheap Trick road trip, the tour of Bun E’s vintage kits, sharing pictures of all my vintage kits, lots of good talk about great old drums. Best of all, I got to experience this incredible journey with my wife and 17-year-old, classic-rockloving son. It’s an experience we will never forget. Sometimes your heroes turn out to not be what you expected, but Bun E Carlos proves that good guys can finish first. He’s a stand-up individual, and couldn’t have shown more hospitality. My pilgrimage to see Bun E certainly exceeded my expectations, and I made a vintage-drum friend along the way. What a great way to celebrate 50!


Bryan Herrman is a hobby vintage-drum collector, restorer, and re-seller. He focuses primarily on Ludwig, Gretsch, Slingerland, and Rogers kits from the 50’s & 60’s, and his favorite finishes are Ludwig’s Mod Orange and Psychedelic Red. He is the founder of the facebook page, VINTAGE DRUMMERS. You can see his collection of vintage drums & accessories on Pinterest at SUNDOG VINTAGE DRUMS. Bryan has been playing drums for nearly 40 years, starting at age 10, and his first kit was a sparkle blue 1967 Ludwig Club Date. He is the drummer for SUNDOG, Kansas City’s only masked surf/spy/sci-fy band.


1923 Conn Engraved Snare Drum

Hi All,

This is my first article on NSMD. I’m a drummer in Chicago and happened upon what turns out to be quite a cool drum.

Here’s the story: I was checking out a local vintage clothing/thrift shop in my neighborhood a few months ago. I saw this beat up looking old metal drum sitting on a corner shelf. At first I thought it was possibly an old antique toy drum for a child, but up close I saw that it was a Conn. I was more interested but was still thinking to myself if it was a Ludwig or something maybe I’d buy it (I didn’t know too much about Conns.) Then I noticed all the cool engravings including one that read “Frank Biggs 1923.”

So, I thought I better at least google Frank Biggs. It turns out Biggs was a popular jazz drummer in Chicago in the 1920s onward..He is credited as writing “That’s When I’ll Come Back To You”  recorded by Louie Armstrong’s Hot Seven. There are some articles and announcements of him playing at different Chicago Jazz hotspots, etc... including a great ad for Conn from 1922 with his photo in it (maybe that’s the drum?)

So, the jazz buff in me wanted that drum just for the cool story behind it. It’s always cool to find out where an old instrument came from. I went right back and bought it for not a whole lot of money. My initial thoughts were to restore it, play it, and bring it back to life.

On to the drum itself, this past week I contacted Adrian Kirchler, Harry Canangy, and Mike Curotto. All of whom shared their expertise with helping me further identify this drum. Turns out it’s a custom made, custom engraved gold plated Conn Victor Model.  A real “gem” as Adrian called it, a one of a kind. And while it’s not a Leedy, Ludwig or Slingerland, it’s really a neat piece with a cool connection to early Chicago jazz.  Maybe not the best idea to take out on various gigs?

There’s a bulb fixture still in tact, all the lugs, rims, and shell are in great shape, actually.  Also, Frank Biggs signed his name backwards on the inside of one of the heads presumably to illuminate his name through the bulb. It’s still completely legible.

There are some extra mounting holes by the strainer. There’s a higher end Ludwig strainer on the drum. The question Adrian had was whether or not Biggs ordered the drum with the better strainer or had the standard utility model removed and replaced it with the better Ludwig. An interesting thought…

Well, enough words, here are some pics:

Hope you all enjoy the drum. Feel free to email me if you have any more info, fun facts, etc... Jbatchko@hotmail.com. Again I’d like to thank Adrian, Harry, and Mike for their great help. And to Chicago pianist/sleuth Steven Heliotes for finding all the interesting info on Frank Biggs. And thanks, George.

Cheers, Jason


Terry Guinn's Drumiture

  Drummer Terry Guinn has found a special way to combine his two passions - drums and art. He converts drums into furniture and advertising specialty pieces that capture a musician’s career or a fan’s love for  his favorite team, school, or band. Terry's motto is "Save a Drum." He can find a discarded drum and bring it back to life with his unique original art. “I took a drum I found in the gutter and gave it a wonderful new life when I presented it to the San Jose Sharks NHL hockey team’s mascot 'Sharkie.' Check out the pictures  of some of his work in the pictures below, especially the one he did for Neil Peart and the one he did for the Johnny Mercer family.

Saving drums and helping charities with his "Drumiture", Terry is starting to be well known and recognized for his passion and kindness. He is now receiving back what he has given all these years from some great people he has met along the way. One particular piece of drumiture that he is proud of was created for Rod Morgenstein, drummer for the Dixie Dregs and Winger. "Rod sent me his very first two drum sets after we talked at my booth at NAMM in 2013. I worked with him for over a ten month period creating this piece.  He didn't want the integrity of the drums compromised, so we came up with hanging them from a rack so no holes had to be cut for legs or mounts!  He didn't want photos of himself inside them so we put all his major influences inside each different drum. After renting a motor home and driving across the country,  I arrived at his home in Long Island and began to install it. He is calling it his "Museum Piece".  He has his very first cymbal he ever got and is using my piece to display it and all his vintage band and music memorabilia!  He is a very generous and gracious man and it was a honor to create and deliver this for my mentor and now very close friend, Rod Morgenstein."

See more of Terry's unique art at www.drumiture.com


Late 70s Premier Resonators

Somewhere along the way I heard of Premier Resonators... actually it was from master instructor Matt Patella, who was endorsed by Premier and played Resonators back in the day. My research confirmed that these were indeed different... using full inner shells, thereby creating a resonance chamber in each drum. There seemed to be a certain mystique about Resonators, which captured my interest . . . not unlike the mystique surrounding the legendary Vincent motorcycles, also built in England, and also incorporating unique design features which inspired awe and fear in motorcyclists round the world for generations.

I regularly searched eBay for Resonators. They rarely ever appeared, and when they did - shells seriously worn or damaged, rusted lugs and claws, or worse yet, inner shells removed because someone decided the drums would sound better without them. About a year ago I came across a listing for a Resonator floor tom shell, no legs or heads, pitted hoops. But the finish looked nice, not scratched or damaged, and the lugs looked un-pitted and un-rusted. I bought it and then followed up with the seller, learning he owns a secondhand store in Denver (I'm in New Jersey), and among his sources for products were abandoned storage lockers; he buys the contents and gambles that he's going to get adequate sell-able items to cover his costs, and make a few dollars.

Lo and behold, he had the matching bass drum, and two tom-toms, no tom mount, and no tom hoops or tension rods. He told me he wasn't going to sell them on eBay, as shipping my drum was just too much hassle; he was hoping someone would buy them in his store. He ultimately agreed to sell me the shells.

When they arrived, much to my delight, their condition was nearly perfect . . . including the inner shells, completely intact, looking as though they had never been touched. I have no idea why these drums were sitting in a storage locker disassembled and abandoned. My first thought was restoration - but the condition was so nice that "restoration" really wasn't needed. I still don't get it.

There was really very little work to do on these drums. One of the bearing edges of the bass drum had a small dent/crack (looked like someone dropped the bass drum on the edge without the head); needed a little bit of filler, and a lot of patient hand-sanding to get the edge perfectly flat and smooth. The drum finishes needed cleaning and a very little bit of scratch repair. The chrome needed cleaning - some of the finest quality castings and chrome I've encountered (I am a motorcycle store owner, and I get to see a lot of chrome - Premier's is outstanding).

Wanting to stay true to the original design, I acquired new cast hoops for all the toms. Found the proper tom mount on eBay. Considering the design of the Resonators I used clear batters and resonators everywhere so the inner shells are visible. My real concern with the set was whether the drums were round, true, and straight—cast hoops are completely unforgiving, and unlike modern triple-flanged will not conform to a warped drum. To my delight, everything went together perfectly, and the drums tuned with no problem at all.

I really couldn't be happier with my 35-ish year old set (the set is 1979-1981). A comparable modern set would cost much more than I would be willing to spend; for roughly a third of that I wound up with one of the great sets of the 20th century, a set that far exceeds my meager musical skills. And besides that, I had a blast acquiring the set, tracking down and sourcing the parts, repairing, cleaning, assembling, tuning, and bringing the set back to life.

- Stu Segal


The Eggstar Drum


The idea for this drum first came to me many years ago while watching my mom, Lola Rokeach, refinish a table with eggshells. Yes, actual eggshells! The finish looked very striking to me, and I thought that it would look pretty cool on a drum.When I mentioned it to her about a year ago, her response was "Well, bring me a drum." My mom, in addition to raising eight kids, is quite an accomplished artist. She's done everything from sculpture, to painting, to rug making, and oh yes, furniture refinishing. She celebrated her 80th birthday last June. She was pretty confident that the eggshell finish would work on a drum. I wasn't so sure, but I thought that it would be worth a try.

I didn't want to use just any old drum. I had to get something special. I'm a Yamaha endorser, but I didn't want to bug them about doing a custom made one-off that might or might not work anyway. Besides, I was thinking about a single--ply solid shell for this project, and Yamaha has yet to offer one (I hope that they do someday). I did want to get someone involved who knew something about drum finishes.My mom lives just outside of New York City in the small town of Harrington Park, NJ. On one of my recent trips back there, I visited my old friend Neil Richter, also a drummer, also from Harrington Park, NJ. He told me that he had recently reconnected with yet another drummer from Harrington Park, Rob Kampa. Readers of this newsletter may know about Rob from his drum company Magstar, and his work with DrumMaker. Rob is known as one of the best drum craftsmen in the country. I had read rave reviews of Rob's custom drums over the years, in Modern Drummer magazine and on the internet. I also knew Rob when I was a kid.Between Fall of 1969 and Spring of 1970, I played in the percussion section of the Harrington Park School band with Neil and Rob. They were in eighth grade, I was in fifth. Rob, Neil, and another Harrington Park drummer named Mike Murtaugh, who was already in high school by this time, were the best drummers around. I thought that those guys were about the coolest dudes that ever lived. Getting to hang out with them definitely helped plant the seeds of my desire to be a drummer early on.Rob has been living in Nashville for the past few years, but still gets up to New Jersey every once in a while to visit family.

The more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that Rob would be the perfect guy to help make this happen, If he'd be willing. He could even get together with my mom and figure out the woodworking logistics if necessary. Well, Rob and I reconnected on the phone. Once we got to talking about drums, we decided to order a 5.5 x 14 solid shell from Vaughncraft. Vaughncraft sent a shell that was so beautifully figured that it would have been a crime to cover up the wood grain. I loved the shell but had planned to let it go. My wife and two daughters knew how much I hated to let that amazing shell go. They decided to have Rob build it for me as a Christmas present. So Rob built an incredible drum with a beautiful soft gloss finish, ten tube lugs, and a trick strainer. It looks and sounds fantastic. Merry Christmas!But we were still left with the task of finding a shell for the egg drum. We didn't want to order another solid shell. It seemed crazy to ask for one that was crappy-looking so that we could cover it. So we decided to use one of Rob's eight-ply Keller shells that he had already stained black. I had heard great things about Rob's multi-ply drums. This seemed to make the most sense. I had sent Rob some photos of a table that my mom had done her eggshell magic on. After seeing the photos, he suggested that we use black hardware for contrast.He sent the shell up to my mom in New Jersey. I still wasn't sure if the eggshell thing was going to work on a drum. I could tell that Rob was a bit skeptical too. My mom seemed to be the only one who was sure that it would work.She got going on it. Eggshells-- lots of eggshells, Elmer's glue, and ten coats of varnish. I was worried that the eggshells might be easily knocked off, but she told me, "Those eggshells aren't going anywhere."

Then she sent it back to Rob. He put all of the hardware on, and here it is. The drum has eight tube lugs, triple flanged hoops, forty-five degree bearing edges, and a trick strainer. The EGGSTAR has been hatched! It sounds great and looks eggstraordinary! It's got plenty of crack, and it's high in calcium too!I'm eggstatic about it!

-Dave Rokeach


David RokeachDavid Rokeach is a freelance drummer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has played with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Murphy, Rita Moreno, Merl Saunders, Aaron Neville, Patti Labelle,The Rubinoos, The Broadway Show Jersey Boys, Holly Near,and many others. He has been a faculty member at Jazz Camp West, The Stanford Jazz Workshop, Lafayette Summer Music Camp and The Jazzschool in Berekeley. You can visit his website at www.davidrokeach.com.


I Stole Ringo's Drums - and Bonzo's and...

Hello, George. We met briefly in Indianapolis at a vintage drum show. I was a guest of Bill Ludwig at the show. B3 and I have been friends since the 70s when I endorsed the company. Anyway, the case can be closed. I have Ringo's drums. Photo attached.

Sincerely, Robin Reuter-Steele Indianapolis

P.S. - I have Bonzo's set too! P.P.S. - I have Neil's set too. Last one. Anyway, I want to dump this one...it won't fit in the Prius.

Two Rare Leedy Kits

Hey Not-So-Modern-Drummer folks, here's some you don't often see. Check out the attached photos. A Leedy Dreadnaught kit from June 1944. The 1929-30 Leedy kit I got from the original owner. I call it the Frank Gomes Memorial Drum set.  He was a WWII hero who recently passed at 95.

Bob Meyer Cortlandt Manor, NY


John Root's 1930s Leedy Trap Kit

Hey George,

Here's the pictures of my thirties trap kit. It's a Leedy Spartan bass drum and snare. Front head can be illuminated from inside. Horsehair throne. I've assembled the kit over time to make it a true "contraption." Leedy Chinese toms and temple blocks, Ludwig cowbells and bass drum pedal. Leedy & Ludwig hi hat sock cymbal and ching cymbal. I play this kit and it sounds like a "Steamboat Willie" cartoon.

If you've got anymore questions let me know.  Feel free to reverse the images so that no one gets hurt in the view of the pictures. LOL!

John Root Nashville, TN

"Proud Left-Handed Drummer" www.JohnRootDrums.com

Nice 1952 Leedy & Ludwig Kit

From Denzil Woody...

This Leedy and Ludwig kit was purchased in 1952 when I was a sophomore in college. I played them for three years and they have been stored in hard cases since that time.


Drori Mondlak Releases New Album

Performing their original compositions, KLARO! blends the romanticism of European classical and folk music and fuses it with the rhythmic fire and swing of the American jazz tradition together with the harmonic sophistication of contemporary improvised music. The group is co-led by two critically acclaimed international artists - alto saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer, and drummer Drori Mondlak.

From Drori's Press Release:

We dedicate our new CD Small Moments to the beauty of music and its enduring power to move the soul.  After two years of touring and performing the music of our previous CD Joining Forces (2011), our desire was to keep our creative juices flowing. In early 2013 it was time to write new songs, gather our close musical friends, record, and take the new show on the road. And that’s just what we did!

The Musicians: Our long-time collaborator, guitarist Cary DeNigris, once again contributed his virtuosity and originality. A new voice in KLARO!, bassist Ingmar Heller, laid down the groove with great warmth and feeling.

The Drums: I used my beloved WMP Ludwig 1971 Jazzette kit. I added a 16” floor tom. These drums are 3 ply clear maple shells and they sound fantastic...warm and resonant. The snare drum was a 1939 Leedy Broadway Standard - 8” depth, 3 ply maple shell with parallel throw off. The fact that this drum still has the original snare wires gives it that real dry orchestral response and has tremendous sensitivity and articulation. Rim shots produce a beautiful ring from the brass rims and lugs on the shell.

The Cymbals: All Zildjian cymbals from the 50’s. My main ride is a 22” old stamp K, left side ride is a 20” old stamp K, lower right side is a 20” trans stamp A ride/crash, to the right of that is a 16” trans stamp A crash, the hi hats are a pair of 13” old K’s.

The Studio: During our tour in Germany we traveled to Ludwigsburg to record at the great Bauer Studios. This is one of the oldest studios in Germany with an incredible sounding room with great acoustics. We recorded with all four musicians together in one room to create the intimacy and connection of a live performance.

For more information, visit the following links:

http://klaro.bandcamp.com/album/small-moments http://www.drorimondlak.com/ http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Drori_Mondlak.html