This snare drum is very well-preserved mainly because of the fact that there were only two previous owners before I purchased the drum. The shell is very clean and the DeLuxe plated hardware is also in very good-plus condition. All that was needed was a light dusting. I did clean out the tension rod threads just because I am picky. There are not many of these 6.5 x 14s around, maybe 4 or 5 that I know of.Read More
--So why is the bottom re-ring shorter than the top re-ring? I have an idea. I seem to remember that older RK toms had 3 reinforcement rings, one on each end and the third one in the middle. Just a theory.Read More
The 4” x 14” size in an all wood, solid mahogany shell is exceedingly rare in the ‘Super Ludwig’ Model. We have seen only one other example of this drum in many years of collecting and playing vintage drums.Read More
Fred Gretsch still owns the Leedy name, and several years ago I asked Fred Gretsch if we could do some special Leedy USA drums using Craviotto solid shells. I liked the idea because Leedy was one of the companies that used solid shells for their snares at various times, and I thought it would be great to do some solid shell snares made in the USA with the Leedy name, but with Johnny Craviotto's incredible shells.Read More
As of this writing there are now five known Duplex engraved Black Jewel snare drums. The previous four Black Jewels are on pages 36-43 in my book: VINTAGE SNARE DRUMS, THE CUROTTO COLLECTION VOL. I. There is another way to look at this Black Jewel situation. Of the five Black Jewels only two actually have the name “Black Jewel” engraved on the shell so one could argue that there are only two Black Jewels in existence at this time, the one on pgs. 36-37 in my book and the drum in this article. Noted drum historian and black/engraved snare drum expert John Aldridge is of the opinion that the “un-named” drums are also Black Jewels so I am going with John’s evaluation. I have included a photo of the other 4 Black Jewels.Read More
This snare drum was sold to me a Radio King. As I started to get into the restoration I noticed that there are no extension brackets or any drilling for extension brackets.Read More
Here’s another very weird snare drum that has been in my restoration queue for some time. This drum reminds me of those Desert *Rat Buggies that are put together with all sorts of non-matching, weird parts, rusty body parts and who knows what else.Read More
All these years I had thought that the hardware was the DeLuxe (copper plated/gold lacquer) plating but as I began this restoration I discovered that the hardware is gold plated.Read More
This drum was born on June 25, 2009. The hardware was chrome plated but could have been brushed nickel. A gentleman approached DW with an idea about a new type of plating called titanium electroplating. I have seen photos of this type of electroplating on custom cars.Read More
Here’s the latest snare drum to enter into the collection. This drum was willed to me by a good friend who had passed away a few years ago. My friend’s wife was ready to sell some of his snare drums and she told me that her husband had specified that I was to be contacted in order to help her sell the drums. The drum in this article was originally found in “as is” condition in an antique store many years ago by my friend’s mother. The drum is in 100 % original factory condition.Read More
F. BARON was a music store located in Paris, which existed in the 30/40 years. Very little information exists, but they created a brand "CONTINENTAL Paris New York", drums and snare drum which are so rare.Read More
with this snare, only two tuning knobs are necessary to adjust the tension, one by a head ! The internal chromatic system is very complex but works perfectly, and allows you to change tone while playingRead More
Here’s another snare drum fresh from the 2015 Chicago Vintage Drum Show and now in the “Bun E. Carlos wing” of the Curotto Collection. I got this one from Bun E. Carlos.Read More
Here’s the latest snare drum to enter the collection. I got this drum from Emmanuel Giraudon who owns Oldrums in France (www.oldrums.fr).Read More
By Mike Curotto
1935-36 LUDWIG & LUDWIG 6.5 x 14 SILVER ANNIVERSARY BLACK BEAUTY
Here’s another snare that I was able to add to the collection...fresh from the 2015 Chicago Vintage Drum Show. I got this drum from Joe Luoma, he had one to spare so we sealed the deal over the phone 3 weeks prior to the Show and culminated the deal at the Show. Thanks goes to Joe for helping me to add another cool and very rare drum to my collection. Joe’s drums are always pristine so this was an easy cleaning.
The “sparse” later 1930s 10 pt. floral engraving pattern is clean and in good shape. The black nickel is also in good condition with some normal “freckling” that is to be expected on an 80 year old drum. I just gave the shell a minor cleaning with some lemon oil and all is good.
Around 1932 Ludwig changed their Artgold (bright copper plating /gold lacquer) DeLuxe hardware option to Classic Gold (brass plating/ yellow gold lacquer). The Classic Gold on this snare drum was in very good condition and only needed a basic cleaning. The threads on the tension rods needed the most cleaning. One side of one of the tapped Imperial lugs was stripped but my good friend Al Schneider, The Drum Doctor, did his magic with a 12-24 Heli-Coil and as I’ve mentioned before, do not let stripped “Anniversary” lugs be a deal killer, there is a fix, a 12-24 Heli-Coil is the correct fix.
Of-the-era calf heads (note the tone control stamp on the top head) and James Snappi wires rounded out this simple cleaning.
Silver Anniversary Black Beauties are extremely rare, there are only 5 known at this writing and every one is different but I do realize that there is always the possibility that there are others out there. Be sure to weigh-in if you see or hear of another Silver Anniversary Black Beauty out there in vintage drum land.
Here’s a list of the 5 known Silver Anniversary Models:
- 5 x 14 gold plated Standard Model (Joe Luoma Collection)
- 5 x 14 gold plated Super-Ludwig Model (Joe Luoma Collection)
- 6.5 x 14 chrome plated Standard Model (Bun E. Carlos Collection)
- 4. 5 x 14 chrome plated Super-Sensitive Model (Mike Curotto Collection)
- 6.5 x 14 Classic Gold Standard Model (Mike Curotto Collection)
By Mike Curotto
Here's another one cleaned up and entered into the collection. I got this snare drum at the 2011 Chicago Show from our good friend and fellow collector, Mark Cooper of Cooper's Vintage Drums.
1934-35 SLINGERLAND 6.5 x 14 SPARKLING GREEN/ARTGOLD *BROADCASTER MODEL
*The Broadcaster Model was very short-lived so for those of you that may not be familiar with this model here is a short history and background data regarding the Slingerland Broadcaster Model. The following is from Rob Cook's Slingerland Book (first edition): "The Broadcaster was evidently a forerunner of the Radio King, the strainer is a very early Radio King style strainer and the lugs do not have inserts. (The tension rods thread directly into the lugs.) The muffler was the single-pad style Harold R. Dodd muffler." Thanks again to Rob Cook. I have also read that Slingerland was legally forced to discontinue using the word "Broadcaster" (with a "c") as the Fred Gretsch Co. had been using the name "Broadkaster" (with a "k") on their drums way before Slingerland and therefore the court ruled in favor of Gretsch that Slingerland's Broadcaster was too close sounding/looking to Gretsch's Broadkaster.
The Shell: The Sparkling Green wrap was in pretty good shape with very few of those black "cancer" spots that usually show up on these older Green Sparkle drums. I was able to get a few layers of age off of the wrap with my Maguire's cleaning/polishing regime and the Sparkling Green finish came back to life. The solid maple shell interior was also in good shape and only needed a very light cleaning. The cloud badge was tight and weathered the last 75+ years pretty well.
The Hardware: I'll call it Slingerland Artgold but the hardware finish on this snare drum really resembles the Ludwig & Ludwig Classic Gold (brass plating with gold lacquer) finish that L&L used on their early-mid 1930s Black Beauties. There was a lot of Artgold present but an equal amount of age and tarnish. I haven't figured out how to duplicate the Classic Gold finish yet so the decision was to leave the hardware as is and just do a simple cleaning with a light coat of gold lacquer to seal everything to prevent any further tarnishing. The 16 tension rods were not correct so I went to my stash and found the correct tension rods but these had to be brass plated, antiqued and lacquered. Thanks again to Les and Brian Hadnagy of Avenue Plating for the brass plating and antiquing. The threaded snare gates have the letter "A" stamped on the inside (not seen) part of the rim and gates. This is called a "manufacturer's cartouche", thanks to Slingerland expert Dr. Carl Wenk for that information. I'd love to know if those type of markings are under the riveted snare gates, feel free to send photos. The Slingerland Broadcaster engraving on the top rim is pretty faint but it is there. All in all, the "carpet matches the curtains" pretty well on this drum.
Of-the-era calf heads and extension wires rounded out this cleaning/restoration.
I love the Rose Pearl description by L&L: "Rose 'Pearl' is a red hot finish for red hot drummers. It has the zipp (sic), and the Pep, and is just what the collegiate chap has been looking for. Rose 'Pearl' looks best with DeLuxe rods....Prepare for that better job by getting a set of new Ludwig 'Pearl' drums.Read More
By Mike Curotto
This snare drum was a gift to me from my good friend and fellow drum collector Bun E. Carlos. We had done a couple of big deals at the 2012 and 2013 Chicago Vintage Drum Shows so as a thank you Bun gifted me this drum.
1925-32 LUDWIG & LUDWIG 6.5 x 15 BLACK EBONIZED/INLAY SUPER-LUDWIG BAND MODEL
The Black Ebonized finish (1925-1939) was originally a special order but in later catalogs it was offered at no extra cost. The finish shows its age but is all there and cleaned up nicely with a product called Naphtha. I just learned about this product from a friend who does a lot of custom woodworking. I am happy with the outcome as this product did not harm the finish. The Black Ebonized finish is also high-lighted with two “decorative” faux inlay decals that surround the shell. The solid mahogany shell interior is in good shape and is factory-marked ”BLACK”. The brass oval badge is clean with a tight grommet. There is no tone control, definitely pre-1933.
The nickel hardware is all original but it definitely needed a good cleaning and polishing. Everything came out great. The Super mechanism works perfectly. The bottom rim has the stamped “Super Ludwig” which puts it after the earlier engraved “Super-Ludwig” models. The original Super wires are intact and work well.
Of-the-era top and bottom calf heads rounded out this restoration. These 6.5 x 15 Super-Ludwig Band Models are classic examples of a great era. Thanks again goes to Bun E. Carlos for gifting me a great drum.
By Mike Curotto
A few years ago I was contacted by drummer/educator Ed Soph who wanted some information about this drum. I told him what I knew and after a few months I was able to purchase the drum from Ed. Over the years I have discovered three versions of the Slingerland DuAll mechanism: 1. A center post very similar to if not a direct copy of the Super-Ludwig center post (usually equipped with a Tone Flange). 2. An interior “pulley” type mechanism instead of a center post (no Tone Flange). 3. No center post and no “pulley” mechanism (no Tone Flange). This snare drum has the “pulley” mechanism
The Shell: Green Sparkle from the 1930s is notorious for having black “cancer” spots. Fortunately this drum is cancer free. The finish had the normal years of accumulated schmutz but everything cleaned up and polished up nicely. The interior of the solid maple shell was very clean with no re-ring separation other than a 2” section, no big deal. The shell has normal bearing edges top (no Tone Flange) and bottom . The cloud badge is very clean with a tight grommet. Lastly, a nice factory pre-assembly artifact was found on the interior of the shell...”Nickle DuAll”.
The Hardware: The nickel hardware was in great shape and was very easy to clean and polish. There were a few errant tension rods but I had the era-correct replacements in my parts stash.
The internal DuAll “pulley” mechanism is clean, well built and looks kind of artsy. The mechanism is smooth, works well but is not as solid as the center pole version that brought on the patent lawsuit by Ludwig & Ludwig. I’ve included interior and exterior photos of this version of the DuAll mechanism. The reader will clearly see the similarities to the already patented L & L Super-Ludwig mechanism of the same era. The manufacturer’s cartouche markings on the snare gates are “L” and “LL”.
The Slingerland Artist DuAll Model was only in production for approximately two years and due to this very limited production run Slingerland DuAlls are extremely rare. As far as my snare drum collection goes, my un-scientific guesstimate based on the number of Slingerland DuAlls I own vs. the number of L & L Super-Ludwigs I own is about 15:1 meaning for every DuAll I own there are 15 Super-Ludwigs that I own. If we look at the more realistic bigger picture out there in the collecting world my guestimate is more like 100:1. That’s just my very un-scientific observation. As always, feel free to weigh-in on the subject as I look forward to your comments and added information.
A nice Frank’s Drum Shop calf batter head, Slingerland slunk head and the original snares rounded out this cleaning/restoration.
Enjoy! Mike Curotto
Here’s a snare drum that I’ve had for a while. A good friend of mine was the original owner and sold the drum to me about 10 years ago at the 2005 Chicago Vintage Drum Show.
This is a very rare, special order Craviotto snare drum that was part of the Steve Maxwell Collection (Steve is the world’s largest Craviotto dealer). Only two were made in 2003; #1 is in my collection and #2 is in Sweden last I heard. The story is that the original owner (and possibly the collector in Sweden) wanted a Craviotto Lake Superior Timeless Timber 700 year old solid birch snare drum in a 6.5 x 13 size. The order was placed with Steve Maxwell. I was told by three very reputable sources, Johnny, Steve Maxwell and Joe Kenny that in the process of bending the planks/boards Johnny broke 26 boards in order to get two perfect shells. Steve Maxwell was kind enough to let me quote the “broken boards story” in his own words: ”The deal with the broken boards was this: It isn't just the fact that it is a 13 that makes it hard, (because Johnny does 13s, 12s and 10s all the time with no issues). The issue was that it is specifically the Timeless Timber that made it almost impossible to bend a 13. The reason is that the Timeless wood is exceedingly hard from being under pressure in the lake for about 100 years. As a result, the 14 was really the smallest diameter that could be rolled without it becoming excessively wasteful due to broken boards.”
2003 6.5x13 CRAVIOTTO/STEVE MAXWELL COLLECTION BIRCH LAKE SUPERIOR TIMELESS TIMBER
The Shell: The solid birch shell has the typical Johnny Craviotto craftsmanship that he is famous for. The interior is signed and dated 2003. After I bought the drum I asked Johnny if he would authorize a new/updated name plate for me. He came through like a champ.
The Hardware: I’m not sure about drum #2 but this drum has nickel plated hardware, die cast rims and a Trick strainer with the Craviotto logo.
The drum has an Evans G1 batter, Craviotto/Remo snare side and Pure Sound 20 strand wires. The drum has a great “pop” to it and is used all the time in my drum studio.
I felt that this very rare Craviotto snare drum should be shared with my friends, fellow collectors and the vintage drum community.
Enjoy! Mike Curotto