Lucas Aldridge and I finally got our hands on some Felt Tone Heads from Remo and they are the bomb. We put the FiberSkyn on the batter side and the hazy on the front, and used matching regular heads for comparison. Felts have been attached/glued to heads before. The difference here is that the felt is NOT adhered to the head but adhered to the plastic strip which holds it against the head. This plastic strip also continues on around the circumference of the head acting as a very narrow "zero Ring" similar to the Power Stroke heads.
In 1929 Ludwig & Ludwig offered four new snare drum models that can be found in the Fall 1929 Ludwig Drummer Magazine. The new models were the Super-Sensitive, New Era-Sensitive, Super-Power and the Standard-Sensitive Model, the drum in this article. From what I have researched it looks like the Super-Sensitive Model was around from 1929 through 1936, whereas the New Era-Sensitive, Super-Power and Standard-Sensitive Models only lasted for 1-2 years (1929-30). Super-Sensitive Models are very collectible and somewhat rare in certain instances but the other three Sensitive Models are extremely rare and, in my opinion, highly collectible.
I am always trying different heads on my modern and vintage snares, as this adds to the sound palette of each drum. I put a set of the Evans ’56 Calftone heads on my late 1990’s birch Premier Genista 5-piece kit (my primary gigging set-up)…and was not disappointed. It was like playing calfskin, but with a bit more focus, response and attack. I especially loved the low frequencies that came out of my 22” bass drum (EMAD Calftone) and 16” floor tom. I also put a 14” Evans ’56 Calftone on one of my 5 X 14”, 1920’s scroll-engraved Ludwig Black Beauties. I often get uneven responses across an old calfskin head. This was not the case with the Calftone; it was very consistent and sounded quite warm. So overall, I’m really digging these heads.
There are many great examples of Twin Strainer drums left in the world but the parts are extremely hard to find. WFL continued to offer many of the parts as replacements up until the early 50s but most of those drums then were considered dinosaurs compared to the current offerings. Finding the strainers is probably the toughest part as there is a right and left half of each version, chrome or nickel version, and a smaller size version for 5.5x14 drums. The second version of the throw-offs also have very fragile tips and many a drum can be found with the strainer tips broken off. Most of the drums were also outfitted with a 10 strand set of snares for one side and a set of six silk wound snares for the other side. Occasionally I have seen drums with gut snares as an option as well. Many of the twin snares I have come across are missing either one or both sets of snares and they can also be very hard to replace. Lots of things in the drumming world have changed since the late 30s/early 40s but these Twin Strainer drums bring a look, sound and a design that comes from an era of great invention. There are many great examples of Twin Strainer drums left in the world but the parts are extremely hard to find. WFL continued to offer many of the parts as replacements up until the early 50s but most of those drums then were considered dinosaurs compared to the current offerings. Finding the strainers is probably the toughest part as there is a right and left half of each version, chrome or nickel version, and a smaller size version for 5.5x14 drums. The second version of the throw-offs also have very fragile tips and many a drum can be found with the strainer tips broken off. Most of the drums were also outfitted with a 10 strand set of snares for one side and a set of six silk wound snares for the other side. Occasionally I have seen drums with gut snares as an option as well. Many of the twin snares I have come across are missing either one or both sets of snares and they can also be very hard to replace. Lots of things in the drumming world have changed since the late 30s/early 40s but these Twin Strainer drums bring a look, sound and a design that comes from an era of great invention.
My featured drum set this month is a Rogers Big R Londoner 5 set from the 1980s. It has all maple 8 ply shells with clear interiors and no reinforcement rings. These drums were called XP-8 series because of the shells. I copied the following information from a Rogers discussion forum, "XP-8s have 8-ply rock maple shells and were made from 1979 up until the demise of Rogers in 1984. They're excellent quality and comparable to modern day DWs but can be had at a fraction of the cost. The Memriloc hardware is strong and sturdy and ensures that they'll set up exactly the same every time - a real time saver. These sets are battleship tough and built to last. XP-8s are some of the best drums Rogers ever produced."
I will say this: if Buddy could have read music he may have enjoyed staying in one place and making big money while staying in town (NY or LA) and being the house drummer for one of those late night tv shows. But (lucky for us) he had to move his band around a lot to keep it working all the time. This gave everybody, everywhere a chance to hear and enjoy Buddy Rich. (...and then again he probably wouldn’t have had it any other way)
Dyna-Sonic serial number 1171. This drum was offered on the Rogers Drums Group II Facebook page. Condition was utterly deplorable. The shell was covered in grime, many years worth of grime. It displayed the absolute worst in neglect. It was however, fairly complete. The frame, of course was long gone. The tension rods were mostly a mix of unknowns that were themselves thirty to forty years old. The heads on the drum, I am pretty sure, were 70s era Remo. This drum had not been played for decadesDyna-Sonic serial number 1171. This drum was offered on the Rogers Drums Group II Facebook page. Condition was utterly deplorable. The shell was covered in grime, many years worth of grime. It displayed the absolute worst in neglect. It was however, fairly complete. The frame, of course was long gone. The tension rods were mostly a mix of unknowns that were themselves thirty to forty years old. The heads on the drum, I am pretty sure, were 70s era Remo. This drum had not been played for decades
So you think that state-of-the-art rack system you emptied your bank account for firmly puts you among the pinnacle of 22nd Century Drummers, right? After all, it is equipped with a remote cable Hi Hat, so it's the “Latest and Greatest.” Would you believe your great grandfather, the guy you got those drummin' genes from, beat you to the punch by nearly a hundred years?
Ludwig introduced the new Stipelgold finish in their 1926 catalog. “The New Ludwig “STIPELGOLD” finish is a special composition producing a marvelous *“Stippled” effect in a bright golden hue. It is hard and durable, adhering tenaciously to the shell of metal or of wood.” The 1927 catalog introduces the “New Ludwigold Iridescent Display Finish”. It looks like the Stipelgold finish was short-lived, maybe 1-2 years. Aside from the 1926 catalog, the only other reference to the Stipelgold finish is at the bottom of the first page of the 1927 catalog: “LUDWIGOLD or STIPELGOLD at the same price.” So as best as I can tell by researching the 1926, 1927 catalogs and Rob Cook’s DRUM COLORS THE REBEATS COLOR SWATCH BOOK; Stipelgold was only around for one year, 1926.
Selling is a part of what I do. It is bittersweet to sell a kit, but it gives me joy to see someone else get a cool vintage drum set that they really like. I was a little bit sad to let this sweet Ludwig drum set go today. I had owned this 1965 Ludwig Hollywood set for a long time. I had a buyer come over today, and he was trying to get a great drum set to put in a music room he was building. One of my close friends told him to check with me before buying a kit. He called me and asked if I had any drums for sale? I assured him I had several nice drum sets that would be perfect for his new music room. I told him there was nothing wrong with getting a new drum set, and they would work just fine, but a vintage set would be better. What do you guys and gals think, isn't vintage better?
This is my very first Gretsch set and I finally own a kit made in NYC - Brooklyn, as a matter of fact, during the heyday of round badge Gretsch drum manufacturing. This is one of the most beautiful drum sets I have ever seen. The kit can look yellow, gold, red and orange depending on the lighting. I personally think it looks best in plain daylight.
It was not until the mid-2000s that while surfing online I saw a pic of Vince Treanor (Former Doors road manager) pictured with the 14” floor tom that I knew was John’s. It was sometime in early 2016 when I learned that the drum had changed hands and was now in the hands of a new owner. I was able to contact that owner and was happy to find that he was very friendly and even happier when I realized that the drum was not terribly far from me and that I could go see it. Along with the owner, we were able to look at close up pics of John using the drum in the 60s and match up the color striations to authenticate it as the original drum.
Shortly after the launch of the XP8, eight ply, all North American Maple shell ply series of drums in 1979, the reissue of the Rogers wood snare drum brought to us the XP10 series of snare drums. The production list of snare drums from 1965 had over a half a dozen various models. The production list for 1975 had two, Dyna-Sonic and SuperTen being the only offerings from Rogers. Available in 5x14 and 6.5x14. Dyna-Sonic was COB, SuperTen was COS. Rogers had discontinued wood shell snare drums in 1972, primarily due to lack of sales. The late 70's and early 80's, however, wood shell snare drums steadilly gaining in popularity. Into this market, Rogers launched the XP10.
"Slingerland shells reached a new low in the early 1980s when they actually sold drums which were little more than cardboard tubes with pearl covering and some hardware slapped on. The tubes were sturdier than the mailing-tube type, as they were actually made from Sonatube. (Sonatube is used for telescopes and as forms for casting concrete pillars.) The basic material was nevertheless cardboard, and the bearing edges quickly lost their integrity."
I am not a drumset collector but when this drumset was offered to me -- a second time -- I went for it. I usually don’t buy snare drums as an investment, I love to collect them so if they are worth more money in the future that’s a good thing but if the value stays the same or goes down I honestly don’t care as it has always been more important to me to own the snare for the collection rather than worry if the drum will eventually be worth more money. This drumset was purchased as an investment, especially since the snare drum alone is worth as much as I paid for the entire drumset. Don’t misinterpret this, I paid Mike’s asking price and he was happy with our deal.
This snare drum is a 1950s WFL COB No.400. For those unfamiliar, COB is chrome over brass. What makes this drum so special is this drum is the earliest version with the WFL badge. You don’t see many with this badge as very few were produced. It is the first metal snare drum cataloged by the Ludwig Company after the family purchased the name back from Conn in 1955. I have read that this snare drum was seen as early as 1956 but introduced somewhere between 1957 to 1958. It is called the “Super Ludwig” and can be seen in the 1959 catalog included in the pictures below.
There is no badge or brand stamp on this snare, as often on the French snares, which are sometimes difficult to identify. This snare drum appears in Campanella catalog of 1932. The "Paramount" model snare of Campanella was a luxury snare drum in the thirties ! It cost 700 francs en 1932, that is to say 5 months of french average salary of the era or approximatively 500$ nowadays.
This particular drum is stamped #1308 which puts it towards the later side of production in 1961.The drum currently belongs to former Rogers employee, Jerry Shields. Jerry was an expert in tuning and setting up these beautiful drums prior to their shipping from the factory. In September of 2016, a group of Rogers enthusiasts set up a Kickstarter campaign to purchase this drum for Jerry’s birthday. We were fortunate to have Jerry share some words on his days with the Rogers Company.
my Rogers Mardi Gras 3ply set c.1960 in 20, 12, 14 and [not shown] 5x14 snare drum. NO cracked lugs. The snare drum shown is by Adrian Kirchler [AK Drums and is the 7x14, 2 piece brass 24k gold plated Bob Meyer model made in 2012.I have Gretsch RB and Camco sets in the coveted jazz sizes, but this is my very favorite kit to play. the toms are so pure in tone. the bass drum so deep and warm. and of course looking at it is pure joy!
The Remo Classic Fit Drumheads feature a slightly narrower flesh hoop and step design to address oversized drums made prior to the mid 60s. They are also ideal for older vintage drums that are out of round with thick overlapping drum coverings.
There are twenty six very famous drummers profiled in this book who span the twentieth century and the entire history of modern drum set drumming: Chico Hamilton, Phil Seamen, Kenny Clark, Davey Tough, Big Sid Catlett, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, shelly Manne, Jake Hanna, Mickey Roker, Billy Higgins, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello, Paul Motion, Dannie Richmond, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Ginger Baker, Jerry Allison, Earl Phillips, Al Jackson JR. and Jim Keltner. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive, educational and very entertaining book, Chet.
Looking for drumheads to fit your vintage kit? Remo listened and has developed the Classic Fit Drumhead for oversized drums made prior to the mid 60’s. The Classic Fit batter drumheads have a slightly narrower flesh hoop and step design yet maintains a standard outside diameter that does not interfere with the counter hoop. Available with Ambassador® Coated, Clear or Fiberskyn® film and sizes 12”, 13”, 14”, 16”, and 18”. Also available in a Snare Side Ambassador® Hazy, sizes 13” and 14”. The Classic Fit Drumheads will give you the classic sound and ease of head replacement you‘ve been looking for.
The set has the 3-ply Jasper shells and flat bearing edges, which were originally designed for calfskin heads. I have read that, starting in 1963, Rogers switched to Keller shells and a new sharper bearing edge. Another cool thing on this set is that both the floor tom and tom have “tall boy” hoops which were also designed for calfskin heads.
I showed Jack MacFeetes a photo of one of the drums from this set and asked him to give me some comments I could use in this article. His comments were; "Five ply, maple birch. Color, Mohave Red, #84. 1976 Catalog shows this color in the Studio Ten Outfit, pg4. This drum made approximately 1978, Top hoop not correct. Memriloc hardware was developed through a collaboration with Dave Donoho and Roy Burns, and Rogers, of course mid 70s. Mounts are rock solid, stand up to the heaviest of hitters. Well made drums even though there were numerous moves during the Big R period, some of them very unnecessary, and quality at times affected by this. The hardware was about the best one could have at the time."
--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.
I literally “sold my yellow Gretsch drums to some guy in Quebec” on eBay. I won’t get down in the weeds, but I have a child with special needs. Like many families in our shoes, we’ve had to hire attorneys to ensure he receives his developmental services. This song came from when I sold most of my vintage drum collection to pay legal fees. At heart, it’s a song about things we have to give up to keep going forward, how sometimes we have to dig a hole before we can fill it.
Message: Hey, Long time....if you have any insight into locating my original snare form my 1940 Ludwig Duco set would be great. I would also love to find toms but I believe they didn't exist until the early 60's. Email me and I'll sen you the pics I have. Best, JR
"This is one of the rarest Leedy sets you'll ever see. This set is from 1958 and consists of 9x13, 16x16, 14x22, 5.5x14 snare drum. Those wonderful mahogany/poplar/mahogany 3 ply shells with rounded bearing edges. And the set is finished in Starlight Sparkle! As some of you may know, SS was a finish in the Gretsch line from the late 50s until circa 1962. It was exclusive to Gretsch, however, I have had one original Slingerland kit in this finish, and now we have this Leedy kit. In all probability, a customer may have requested this finish and the drum shop or Leedy called the finish manufacturer or called Gretsch and asked if they could use it for a kit. Starlight Sparkle is a finish that looks silver/gray until it is under the lights and then it looks lavender. It’s a beautiful finish. I believe Leedy referred to this as "smoky pearl". Harry Cangany did an article about this set for Modern Drummer in Feb 2011. It is one of the rarest finishes for Gretsch and it is insanely rare on any other drum set. The wrap is in great shape and the chrome is nice as well. This is an extremely rare set and it sounds wonderful”
This gold plated drum was produced for Island in the late 1980s. Photos of the gold plated Dyna-sonic and the following text is found in Cook's book. "Apparently only a couple dozen of the RSD-146G gold plated Dyna-sonics were made for Island Music. The retail price was a quite reasonable $495.00, but the poor quality of the plating impeded the sales."