Snare of the week

Ludwig Jazz Festival

As I regularly get asked for recommendations on snare drums, and advice on getting vintage sounds in the studio,I thought I’d start a weekly column discussing various classic and vintage drums with some accompanying video content.

First up I’m going to take a look at the Ludwig Jazz festival; a timeless classic, this model became Ludwig’s most popular wood shell snare drum of all time. It became the backbeat to Rock n’ Roll alongside the metal shell ‘Supraphonic 400’ and sold in huge quantity in the 1960s due to a certain drummer named Ringo. (Note: Ringo’s drum was a mid-60’s drum but with a 5.5” depth shell – read more here).

Introduced around 1960, this 3-ply 8 lug snare drum evolved from a snare drum that Ludwig were producing in the 1950’s. Ludwig produced the ‘New Swingster Dance Model’ snare which was 14 x 5.5”, later renaming it the ‘Barret Deems Model’ (1956). By 1960 it had been re-named the ‘Jazz festival’ and the shell was half inch shorter at 14×5”.

We have a selection of these wonderful drums in the shop, in a variety of colours and with different features according to age – with and without internal tone control muffler, nickel and chrome hardware options. As I’m sure you’ll agree, these drums sound amazing and remain a firm favourite in the recording studio as a ‘go-to’ drum.

If you are looking to begin your vintage snare collection, or you are looking for a classic vintage sound in the studio, then this would be a great starting point. Here’s a video of some of the Ludwig Jazz Festival snares we have in stock…

 

All the drums featured in our video are available to buy on our website; we accept paypal and all major credit cards and all items ship Worldwide. I hope you found the words and the video helpful in searching for your sound.

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Vintage Drums, what else?!

OK, so I know its been a long time since there has been a blog on the Nick Hopkin Drums website. As the business continues to grow it seems I have less and less time to sit down and write about what I love – Vintage Drums.

That’s not entirely true; last August I launched a vintage drums magazine – Vintage Drums Legendary Sounds – which is gaining momentum and getting great feedback, but all truth told I am spending so much time editing and compiling each issue of that that I’ve let the NHDrums blog slide into the slow lane, with just the occasional post about a particular or peculiar snare drum that has arrived on my doorstep.

What running the magazine has done for me, is open up conversations with loads of drummers worldwide, and start to tap into what’s really happening out there – single handed running a business can be lonely, especially in this digital age, and its easy to become very insular. This past month I’ve been talking on the phone and via email to some really interesting characters, more recently Dave Elitch in LA. I wish we were in the same time zone, so we could physically hang out and talk and play drums, and I may stop calling him at stupid times when he’s still in bed!!! Anyway, Dave is one of those guys who lives and  breathes drums, whether he is playing or teaching and has a huge appreciation for the drums of the past. He recently posted something on his instagram profile which is food for thought, about how technology is advancing so fast that we are losing specific skill sets (not just music) – probably the basis for another whole article – read it here.

Talking to lots of players it’s interesting that most people fall into one of two categories – people with way too many snare drums who couldn’t choose a top three, and people with one or two snares that suit them for everything. Choosing two is hard; What would be your favourite 2 snare drums? I think A black Beauty and something else, although my something else changes every time a batch of snares land at the shop! There are quite often wild card drums, sometimes un-badged or by lesser known brands that sound incredible and would be overlooked by 90% of us. I think I need to start a video series on ‘would be contenders’!

The shop seems quiet at the moment although a steady stream of gear continues to flow in and out at regular intervals. In this fast moving digital age it seems vintage is starting to become ‘hip’, whatever that means. Old stuff is getting cool, and expensive! My mission since opening almost six years ago, has been to share my passion for drums with others and educate younger people where I can. A lot of younger players, are priced out of investing in a vintage snare or kit, at the moment. Talking with Bob Henrit yesterday, he commented that the state of the music industry today means the majority of musicians who would have been ‘pro’ ten years ago are now ‘semi pro’ at best, and/or skint. I still believe that the old ones are the best, so if you are a younger player looking for that sound that you have in your head, or you heard on your favourite record – but are on a super tight budget – give me a call or drop an email and I’ll do my best to advise. There are other good guys out there too, who know what they are talking about, who I can put you in touch with if needed.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Drums! We have some classic snares in store as always and are just negotiating a rather lovely consignment of drums that should be here soon – probably in a month or so, just after the Chicago Drum Show. Watch this space as i endeavor to get a blog up weekly. Back to editing Issue #4 of the magazine now, which  needs to be with the designer in 3 days!

If you were unaware of the magazine’s existence, all 3 issues are available in traditional print and digital download from this lovely website – Issue 4 is out Monday 11th June – www.vintagedrumslegendarysounds.com

 

Snare of the day

Ludwig Acrolite

Today we are featuring a classic late 1970s Ludwig Acrolite snare drum.

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These snare drums have always been regarded among drummers as a studio favourite. I remember English drummer Bob Henrit (Argent, Kinks) telling me that his go to snare drum in the studio, during the 1960s and 1970s was an Acrolite. He may take other snare drums into the studio, but if the drum sound wasn’t working, he could always reach for his Acrolite and it would sound great. People sometimes talk about these drums like they’ve recently become really popular, but they’ve been loved for decades.

This particular snare that we have at the shop is in original condition. A previous owner has engraved his name in the top hoop, but that doesn’t affect the sound. It still sounds great! More details and images on Nick Hopkin Drums website.

Featured Drum Kit

Ludwig Vistalite ‘Big Beat’

This stunning 1979 ‘Big Beat’ Vistalite has just gone online at Nick Hopkin Drums.

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22×14, 12×8, 13×9, 16×16 and matching snare drum in blue.

This 1979 Vistalite set recently arrived at the shop, and its a real head turner. The shells are in great cosmetic condition, with no issues – no cracks, no splits, no crazing. There are a few minor scratches from use, but hey, this kit is nearly 40 years old.

It’s so nice to see a set like this still complete with the matching snare; all drums have pointy Blue/Olive badges and serial numbers that suggest 1979 to date. The back rods and claws on the bass drum are non-original, and the bass drum hoops are metal with black inlay, but otherwise everything is present and correct. A real stunner to look at, and exactly what you’d expect sound wise from an acrylic kit from the Golden Age of drums. More information and photos on the Nick Hopkin Drums website. This kit is sold with the snare drum and ships worldwide.

Snare of the day

Ludwig LM402

Kicking of the week with a classic snare of the day, the Ludwig LM402.

Ludwig 402 snare drum, 1969-70 available at Nick Hopkin Drums, www.nickhopkindrums.com

This model snare drum made infamous by the late John Henry Bonham, the 6.5″ Ludwig Supraphonic. This drum has become a classic, iconic Rock snare drum. There’s a reason for that; it sounds great! These drums are becoming rarer to source in the UK, I think once in the collection they tend to be a ‘keeper’. This one landed fresh from the USA just before Christmas. Blue/Olive badge with a serial number dating it around 1969/70.

This particular drum even has a vintage Ludwig resonant head and snare wires. Original P85 black face strainer, original hoops, rods…. some wear to the chrome due to substantial use, I’d say. It may not be the most cosmetically perfect snare drum to look at, but it sure sounds good.

More information about this snare drum on the website – all items ship Worldwide.

Are 6 lugs the new 8?

With the rise in popularity of the 6 lug vintage snare drum, we take a quick look at some of these drums that were introduced as a budget student range. The Ludwig Pioneer and Slingerland Deluxe Student model, have equally become go-to snares for many studio players looking for a drum with a different characteristic to conventional 8 and 10 lug snare drums. Once overlooked as being ‘low end’ these drums are fast becomming classic snares worth having in the collection of any working drummer.

Here’s a short video of some of the snare drums we have at Nick Hopkin Drums – They are all tuned to about the same (75 bottom, 75-80 on a drum dial) although age of heads and type of wires do add character. Filmed on an ipad with a simple Zoom iQ5 microphone.

 

Snare of the day

Ludwig Supraphonic 400

This fine Ludwig Supraphonic 400 snare drum arrived at the shop this week with some more gear….

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The most recorded snare drum of all time, this drum has loads of tone; together with the invention  of the plastic drum head, this drum was the sound of Rock & Roll. This particular drum dates around 1976 by the serial number on the Blue/Olive badge. All hardware is original and fully functional. Some chrome pitting on the shell which is common on these drums.

It tunes up and sounds great right across the tuning range. We have more coming soon, but right now this is the only one in stock – don’t miss out! More details here.