The drums are Big Beat sizes 22" bass, 12" and 13" mounted toms, and a 16" floor tom. The snare was another story. I could tell it was a 1970s Black Beauty. Ludwig re-introduced the Black beauty snare in the late 1970s. They made Supraphonics both 5" and 6.5" and Super Sensitives 5" and 6.5". I don't know how many of each one they made. I'm sure that information is available. If you have one, they are great snares to own and very collectible. The snare was missing parts and the heads were taped up and cloth applied to kill any snare drum sound the poor drum tried to make. I could tell this drum was a diamond in the ruff.
In 1963 the Slingerland Drum Company introduced a new snare drum to their drum line. This snare was cataloged and advertised as the new Modern Artist model. Previously, Slingerland used the Artist model name on their earlier snare drum line from 1928 to approximately 1935. Some of these first models were hand engraved and very ornate. They were made with ten tube lugs and both solid wood and brass shells.
I happened upon this 3x13 Wilson Bros steel(?) snare at a free sale. I searched it and the first hit was an NSMD post . Perfect. The calfskin batter head could be original. The calfskin res head is trash. There’s a snare adjuster but no throw off. The wires are probably functional. There’s probably missing floating lugs but I don't know how many there should be. Except for some dust this is how I got it. You’ve always been a good source of info. What’s your take on this thing? NSMD is my favorite email. I read it cover to cover. Thanks in advance for any any info you can pass my way.
and more information about a Leedy and Ludwig drum set that I have. I have a few pictures I can forward to you that might help. It has a beautiful hand painted windmill scene painted on the bass drum. I believe it is from the 1930s belonging to my grandfather, I have a picture of him sitting at it. Very special.
We are writing to you because we are currently working on a poster about the genesis of drums and drumming and are looking for photos that we may officially use on this poster, which we wanna release December 2019.
So here is one I hope you all can dig and my latest addition to the collection: An immaculate 1952 WFL Porto-Pak Outfit No. 986P in Sparkling Red Pearl with era correct additional floor tom ordered with set. This was an estate sale treasure find!
Well, Mark Cooper comes through again with this excellent example of a Silver Sparkle Model Hollywood Ace Radio King. Mark finds a lot of Radio Kings that are always in very good-excellent condition. This one will be added to the “Mark Cooper” wing of the Curotto Collection.
My name is Caroline Bowers and I am working for the Music and Performing Arts department at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture. We are currently working on researching an object that the museum accessioned in 2007 and we have little information on. I found your website online and was hoping that your network of drum experts may be able to assist us.
Imagine being a young 20-year-old drummer on tour for the first time playing to large audiences that were not familiar with your band, as the record had not come out yet………… and as fate would have it, the song that included your drum solo spot was put into the final cut of the movie known as Woodstock; 3 days of peace love and music.
Here is a wonderful example of a very rare late 30s, Slingerland 5x14 Radio King metal shell snare drum. The shell is heavy brass, one piece, and nickel plated brass. According to Slingerland’s catalogs of this era, this metal shell snare could only be ordered in 5x14 or 6.5x14 sizes The plating options available were either nickel or chromium. Unlike the popular “Krupa" model, there was limited information describing all options that were available when ordering the metal version. Most likely, these metal shells were much like a special order that was requested and specified by the consumer.
This is a repair job I did this year for Stan Head, well known veteran Memphis percussionist and teacher. The Ludwig concert bass drum is from the eighties and the stand is one Stan had custom made for this drum. The problem with the drum was that the ends of the black diamond pearl wrap had shrunk and was coming loose. The wrap was also beginning to bubble. The stand had come apart at one joint and the tilting mechanism needed modification. The wrap shrinkage problem is a fairly well known 80s failure that resulted from the Ludwig plant in Chicago being prohibited from using their glue to secure the wrap.
Here is a wonderful example of a rare, black diamond pearl Rolling Bomber snare drum. This particular snare drum is unique in that most Rolling Bombers produced were ordered with the popular white marine pearl. Black diamond pearl was very uncommon for this time period.
This set is without a doubt the cleanest and nicest "duco" kit I've ever seen. We all know that the hands of time are not kind to these 2 tone paint finishes and every set I've encountered has had numerous paint chipping, flaking, spider webbing etc. Basically killing the appearance. I was truly in awe. So a BIG THANK YOU to Chris Hawthorne at Hawthorne Drum Shop out of Pittsburgh PA for answering my million questions and sending ALL those pics!
White “Crystal” is one of Ludwig & Ludwig’s rarest finishes and was only around for less than two years, 1941-42. The Crystal finish was highly distressed, more like “Crustal”, I mean really beat up... as my good friend John Aldridge would say, “this drum is as ugly as home made soap”.
I hope you’re rockin! Will I see you at the Chicago show this year?
I thought you might like to see this set I just picked up locally. This is how they looked straight out of the cases after being stored since WWII. Don’t let anybody tell you that all of the good ones are gone!
The only drum pattern that was played during the entire 3-4 days was a cadence that our Head Drummer came up with. It was a simple pattern as a way for all the drummers that participated could learn in a short amount of time. The pattern was Flam, Flam, Flam, 7 Stroke Roll-Flam, Flam, Flam, 7 Stroke Roll- Flam, Flam, Flam, 7 Stroke Roll - Flam, Flam, Flam Tap! The drums were covered in that shroud that my mother had sewn, and the snares were turned off. This cadence was played at a very slow tempo [approx. 78 B.P.M.] using 3s sticks. One interesting side note was that only Drummers participated in the funeral. There were no other instruments used during the entire 3-4 days of ceremonies! Quite an honor!
The Bernie Mattison Radio King Model was first introduced in 1936 and had the tapped (no insert) lugs. I’ve dated the drum in this article at 1937-39 because the lugs have inserts. The 1937-39 Slingerland catalogs list this drum as the Band Model Radio King.
The first of these is the best-known drum engraver of our time, John Aldridge. Some years ago, John Aldridge wanted a hand engraved drum. When he discovered he couldn't afford it, John learned how to do it himself, and brought this lost art form back to the drum industry.
These non mass-produced drums sets were made by the company that provided the metal hardware and hardware designs for the big drum companies in the 1900's. Based in Worcester MA, Walberg and Auge is considered to be, "the biggest unknown name in the history of twentieth-century American percussion" Check out the unique mix of hardware. This drum kit was hand built to 'Perfection' by Robert George Bernard (RGB) in December 1968. The shells are the early 60's 6 ply Gretsch Jasper shells with the COOLEST MIX of Gretsch, Ludwig, Rogers and W&A hardware. Whatever RGB had near him when he decided to build a set. So unique and one of a kind.
Sea Green was in the Slingerland catalog from 1928-1938. Mark has dated this drum from 1939 to 1941. Mark has also mentioned this is the only Sea Green Radio King that he has ever seen...there is another...more on that later.
This drum was on EBay about 13-15 years ago. It was an early morning (1 am) ending auction so I waited up for it and sniped it right at the end. The drum was found in a closet at the Long Island Grotto #44 Masonic Lodge in Brooklyn, New York. There was a name pin that came with the drum so I googled Walter T. Morris, Long Island Grotto #44 and made some phone calls but no one was interested in helping me with the history of Walter T. Morris so I’m just reporting what I have in front of me.
As you can imagine, these drums sing! This is by far, my personal favorite era of Ludwig Drums. These are the shells of greatness. These mahogany shells have amazing tone, warmth & projection. Making this set even more special is the fact that the Transition Badge was used for such a short period of time (58-60) and the incredible optional 14x14 floor tom was ordered, as this kit is a born together set. All the drums match perfectly with zero flaws in the wrap.
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