It is fun just to hear Fred talk with his thick Kentucky accent. He is a fantastic storyteller with a lot of knowledge about music, musicians, and gear. Fred took us inside the venue to see his iconic drum set. As you know, it is an eclectic set of vintage drums from the 1940s to the present. The drums are dusty, crusty, and beautiful. Scott told me no one is allowed to clean them or monkey with them in any way. Fred didn't want the "Mojo" disturbed. I was able to sit behind them. Fred sits very low on his stool. I did not so much as tap on the heads, but it was tempting to thump the big double bass drums.
The set I am featuring from my drum room is a 1970s Amber Vistalite Pro Beat set from Ludwig. They are strikingly beautiful. The Pro Beat sets have a 24X14 bass drum, 18X16 floor tom, 14X10 and 13X9 mounted toms. Most Pro Beats set have a 16X16 floor tom as well. When I bought this set there was no 16X16 with it. I plan to purchase one to add to this se
The Ludwig Standard drums were introduced in ’68 to compete with the lower value import drums made overseas. The unique thing about Ludwig Standard drums is that its shell was the exact mold found in all classic shells of that time. Consumers were getting quality grade shells offering the Ludwig signature sound. However, the standard series used less expensive hardware cutting the overhead cost. Standard series drums had most essentials belonging to a drum outfit distinctly unique to this line. Everything from utility hardware, shell hardware, finishes and badges. Standard drums were also the first to feature the Granitone sound enhancement coating on the inside of the shell. Standard drums debuted with 3 different configuration styles and 15 finishes.
The drum set I am featuring from my collection this month is a Slingerland Modern Jazz Outfit catalog number 9N. The drum sizes are 20X14, 14X14, 12X8, and a 14X5 Sound King chrome over brass 8 lug snare drum with a "Zoomatic" strainer. All drums have "Rim Shot" rims. I always call these rims "Stick Savers", but I saw that they weren't called that in the late 60s catalog. The interiors are coated with the tan or "chocolate milk" paint used in the late 1960s. The Niles, Illinois badges are black and brass ovals with serial numbers. The awesome feature about these drums is the ultra-cool Gold Satin Flame Pearl wrap. I just love the Satin Flame wraps. The wrap looks so good on these drums. I'm always looking for the "pot of gold" and this sweet drum set is just that.
The floor tom is the real story with this set. I don't know the history concerning this set first hand, so I am going to put forth a guess as to why the floor tom is a matching Slingerland made Leedy drum. We all know that Bud Slingerland bought Leedy from Conn at the same time William F. Ludwig bought the Ludwig brand from Conn. This was in the mid 1950s. I believe someone had purchased this Leedy and Ludwig set in 1954 as a three piece set. That was not uncommon at all in those days. He later went back to the music store, maybe in 1956 and asked if he could purchase a matching floor tom for his set. By this time Slingerland was able to fill the order for the store to sell to the customer.
Ringo used two Oyster Black Pearl Downbeat sets and two Oyster Black Super Classic sets during his Beatles career. One of the Downbeat sets recently made the news when it was sold at auction for 2.2 million dollars. That's a lot of money for a vintage Ludwig drum set. What made it worth so much? Only those who remember what the Beatles and Ringo, in particular, did for the cause of drumming will ever understand.
One reason for buying these drums with the 24" bass drum is because my wife told me I needed to start playing a larger bass drum at my shows. I was so impressed that she even thought about my drums and let alone was interested enough to make a comment about drum sizes. I had in recent years played a lot of 20" bass drums. She said I needed to move up to a 24" or maybe a 26." I finally asked her what prompted her to suggest I play a larger bass drum? Was it to get more "boom" in the music? She replied, "no, it's just that you are getting so fat you look like a bear on a tricycle behind that small bass drum." Good thing she lets me buy drums. I'll let that one slide. Keep looking for those great vintage drumsOne reason for buying these drums with the 24" bass drum is because my wife told me I needed to start playing a larger bass drum at my shows. I was so impressed that she even thought about my drums and let alone was interested enough to make a comment about drum sizes. I had in recent years played a lot of 20" bass drums. She said I needed to move up to a 24" or maybe a 26." I finally asked her what prompted her to suggest I play a larger bass drum? Was it to get more "boom" in the music? She replied, "no, it's just that you are getting so fat you look like a bear on a tricycle behind that small bass drum." Good thing she lets me buy drums. I'll let that one slide. Keep looking for those great vintage drums
Standards have their own unique triangular shaped badge. The interiors of the bass and toms are coated with grey speckled paint, but some Standards have white painted interiors. Standards usually have smooth low mass lugs. If your Standard kit has Classic lugs that might also be correct. Ludwig would use the Classic lugs if they were low on Standard lugs.
Wine Red Ripple was listed as a Rogers wrap from 1960 to 1967. In talking to other collectors I have concluded that these shells were made and wrapped in Ohio and shipped to Fullerton when the plant moved. They were completed and tagged in California and thus became A late blooming Wine Red Ripple set. One thing is for certain, this fine vintage wine will make you high just looking at it.
Galaxy Pearl is a very rare finish, as you know, and the prices reflect that when they come up for sale. This finish was only available for a couple of years, so there is a very limited number of these sets out there. The badges on all these drums are pre-serial number Keystones.