With vintage English drums a common enquiry is ‘are my drums pre-international size’?
Hopefully I can clear up that question for you here. Premier made pre-international sized drums in a 20, 10, 12 and 16 (metric sized shells) on all sets pre-1968. All other Premier drum shells should be standard (international) sized, although there are exceptions (notably larger bass drums that were non-standard sized and fitted with calf heads).
Sometime between 1968 and the early 1970’s all Premier shells became international (standard), and you can generally tell by the badge and kit set up. Typically there was a backlog of pre-international shells in the factory which made it into kit set ups, so many kits between ’68 and ’73 have a mixture of international and pre international shells; some with the earlier 60’s badge and lugs, some with the 70’s badge and fittings, some a mixture of the two! It’s not unusual to have a kit with an international size bass drum and pre international 12 and 16 toms and often with a mixture of badges. It’s worth noting that Pre international 16″ floor toms are always 10 lug, whilst the international drums are 8 lug, so at a glance you can generally tell; the 12″ tom is nearly always Pre international, until the later badges and fittings in the early 70’s. If in doubt, its best to measure the shell’s diameter with the head off:
10″ Diameter,9-5/8″ Actual Dia.
12″ Diameter, 11-7/8″ Actual Dia.
16″ Diameter, 16-5/16″ Actual Dia.
20″ Diameter, 19-5/8″ Actual Dia.
Remo are the only manufacturer of pre-international heads, but now produce quite a range; coated, clear and smooth Ambassador, Pinstripe and Fibreskyn are currently available. They will however make anything to order, in any size, so contact us if you fancy something else or have an unusual size bass drum.
Other 1960’s English drums often require pre-international heads – Dallas (Carlton, President), Olympic, John Grey (Autocrat, Broadway) and some snare drums are slightly under or over 14”. Currently there are no heads available off the shelf for these snare drums, but as mentioned Remo will make heads to fit. It’s worth noting that both Boosey & Hawkes (Ajax, Edgeware, Stratford) never did pre-international sized drums so standard heads will fit these drums.