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.

Premier 2000 snare drum

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Premier 2000 snare drum in the shop, for many reasons, but mostly because the drums we’ve been offered have had the chrome hanging off them! Whilst with some snare drums the appearance is secondary to sound, and the battered drums have a bit of vintage Mojo going on (eg. Ludwig Supraphonic 400) when it comes to the Premier 2000 i find that players like them as cosmetically perfect as possible.

The 2000 snare drum, was Premier’s flagship snare drum throughout the 1970’s. It was actually introduced in the late 1960’s, the very first incarnation featuring a chrome over brass shell (possibly surplus shells from the Royal Ace line). The majority that we see are chrome over aluminium with some of the later drums in the 1980’s being chrome over steel. You can read more of the history of this snare drum in my article for Not So Modern Drummer.

So this late 70’s / early 80’s drum that has just arrived at the shop is in excellent condition; it has a couple of scratches to the shell and one small dent. The chrome on all the hardware is absolutely faultless, which is really great to see. Die cast hoops are in great shape, note that the tension rods on this drum are square head. It even has the original Premier ‘double 12’ wires intact, and fitted with a new Remo Emperor it tunes up great.

There’s a sound file of the snare drum being played here and a short video about it on the Nick Hopkin Drums You Tube channel.

The drum is available in our shop to try, there are more images and details about it on www.Nickhopkindrums.com. We offer worldwide shipping on all drums.

 

Slingerland Radio King snare drum – a brief history

Ask many drummers what the ultimate snare drum is, the Holy Grail, the ‘must have’, and you’ll hear the words Radio King. This snare drum has been a best seller since it was introduced and remains highly popular among players and collectors worldwide.

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I’ll attempt to give a quick history of the drum as well as outline its main features. This snare drum was in production over 4 decades, so as you can imagine there are too many models to discuss here, but hopefully this article will serve as an introduction and you can go and explore a little more.

The Radio King first appeared in the 1936 Slingerland catalogue alongside an announcement that Gene Krupa was their new endorsee. It was a solid shell snare drum, which many believe to be the ultimate when it comes to sound and playability (most modern drums are ply, with the exception of a few custom companies).

The earliest models featured streamlined lugs without inserts, the rods tensioning directly into the lugs, and brass hoops engraved with ‘Slingerland Radio King’. Offered as a metal or wood shell, it is the wood shell drums that are hailed as a timeless classic. By 1938 the lugs had inserts (nicknamed ‘cigar lugs’) and the Gene Krupa model was Slingerland’s bestselling snare drum.

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The solid maple shell featured reinforcement hoops and was fitted with nickel plated hardware, a three point strainer and extended brackets at both strainer and butt end, which the snare wire end plates themselves screwed directly into. All drums were fitted with a two pad muffler, with each pad washer stamped ‘Slingerland, Chicago ILL’.  The felt colour was yellow, red or green. Around 1942 felt pad washers were eliminated and the felt colour became grey. The size of knurled adjustment knob became slightly larger too.

During 1940-42 The Super Radio King was introduced with ‘super lugs’ (referred to as ‘small beavertail’) replacing the cigar shaped lugs and the ‘super strainer’ was introduced (referred to as the clamshell strainer). This strainer was more delicate than the three point, and many don’t like it for that reason, although it remained on drums up until the early 1960’s.

 

Around 1955 the Sound King hardware was introduced with a more modern look and Slingerland stick saver hoops (which curved inwards) were fitted as standard. Radio king remained stamped in hoops until around 1956 and both the three point and clam shell strainer were offered.

radio king blue glitter interior

In the early 1960’s solid shell snares became the artist model. By 1962 the clam shell throw was replaced by the zoomatic and between 1963 and 1966 the Radio King name reappeared on snares. By 1970 the artist model was 3 ply and the Radio King cob had been replaced by the Krupa sound king.

Artist models appeared over the years, such as the Ray McKinley model featuring a wooden hoop with pearl inlays and countersunk claws on the batter side, metal full flanged hoop snare side. The Buddy rich model featured a 3 point strainer and simple butt end and bottom hoop.Slingerland1939 cat

I’ve probably missed loads of information out, but you can read all this in more detail on the web.

Although most companies made solid shell drums in the 20’s and 30’s, most turned to plywood. Slingerland claimed in the 1950’s that they were the only company still manufacturing solid shell snare drums. “Each solid snare shell is hand turned for exact sizing to a perfect circle. It is the strongest and most durable shell made. Makes for easier playing, greater sensitivity of snares and easily controlled power and volume”.

Over the years, the Radio King Snare drum was offered in depths of 5,5.5,6,7 and 8. The Shell interiors are usually pretty rough, and separation/ splits in the reinforcement hoop are common. But these drums sound incredible. You can take a battered Radio King that cosmetically looks well past its time, place it on a snare stand and the magic happens. Most name players have one in their collection for studio work, and these drums provide the backbeat for many classic records in every genre.

In his book on Slingerland drums, Rob Cook states that collectors tend to refer to all solid shell Slingerland snare drums as Radio Kings and to not consider any drum a Radio King, unless it has a one piece as opposed to plied shell. What really distinguished the Radio King models from other Slingerland drums though, he states, were the Radio King Brackets, which drew the tension of the snare wires outward rather than upward. Rob says that the presence of these support brackets on both the strainer and butt plate is a better way to identify a Radio King, as this was part of the basis for the patent.

Rogers Dynasonic

Rogers Dynasonic

Another classic snare drum just arrived – Rogers Dynasonic.
This snare drum is a late 60’s script badge model, with chrome over brass shell and original snare frame (snares can be tensioned as tightly as wanted without having to pull the snares against the head so hard they choke the sound).
In beautiful condition and sounds amazing. Click for more details