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
The William S. Hart All Gold snare drum, made by Ludwig & Ludwig in 1925, owned by one family since then, is about to see the light of day. Some lucky person is going to be able to buy it and I hope I get to chronicle the story. Donn Bennett is the broker - www.DonnBennett.com . Since William S. Hart started off as a Shakespearean actor, I will quote the Bard with a little bit of a change as I daydream about this drum….. “This is such stuff as dreams are made on”.
This is a 1965 Swingtime Outfit in the not so often seen Wine Red Ripple Pearl.
It’s a bit of a tongue twister to say indeed! I have learned (thanks to many of the Rogers experts online) that this is one of the rarest wraps Rogers produced and was not a particular big seller. To me it seems that most vintage drum companies “Pink” drums did not sell well when they were first introduced to the public all those years ago. And that low number of kits makes for quite a treasure hunt today.
Being the house drummer for Los Angeles’ longest-running (and only) jazz jam at the late Billy Higgins’ non-profit The World Stage means playing music without or without charts, including original music, at the drop of a hat. We have many name and not-so-name high-level players sitting in on a regular basis. This isn’t the type of gig that will make a person rich, but the immense riches to be had just by keeping the rust off my jazz chops is priceless! Or at least I thought so until a short time ago….
This full dress drum set dates back to the mid fifties, and its beautiful "fan" decor is made of painted engravings and inlaid brilliants ... Three ply shell with re rings, rounded bearing edge ... Nickel-plated zamack lugs, polished aluminum hoops and nickel-plated brass rods... Metric sizes GC 60cm (23.6") / CC 35cm (13.8") / Tom 30cm (11.8")... and calf skins.
I've completely restored this drum set which was shown during the exhibition "Roll & Swing, the drum set's birth in France" at the MUPOP french museum.
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.
I saw the pictures on your web site of a nearly complete drum set from the same era. I have an absolutely 100% complete drum set from the 1920's that has the oil painted mountain scene on the bass drum, two sets of spikes, (it was actually used a lot) the foot pedal, the high hat with cymbals, foot pedal and all, the snare and stand, the floor tom and stand, the chicken drum and holder, the wood block and holder, the cow bell and holder, the tambourine and holder, the accessory table with cymbals, cymbal stands, the complete set of turtle shells, etc . . . I can send you pictures if you want. I am willing to sell it all for the right price, though shipping may prove to be difficult. I have been told by many that it may well be the last complete set from that era. My uncle played them a lot. He got them in high school and played in many big bands. He was the drummer in the local Lansing, MI band called Buddy K and played with the Dorsey brothers and many other big bands that often traveled without drummers.