Snare of the day

Corder

Today’s featured snare drum, is a brand very rarely seen here in the UK, Corder.

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In 1979, Jim Corder bought the Fibes drum company. He moved the facilities to Huntsville, Alabama, and rather than continue with the acrylic drums Fibes were famous for, he began producing wood shells. The lugs, strainers, hoops remained Fibes. He sold the company in the early 90’s,  so these drums were produced for just over  a decade, at the most.

 

This is the first one I’ve seen, but we have a full kit coming into the shop very soon. This drum is 6 ply maple in a 14 x 5.5″ in immaculate condition. Everything on this drum is original, and great! It tunes up nicely and sounds phenomenal – great response. More info on the website.

 

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Snare of the day

Still searching for that sound?

Hayman Vibrasonic, late 1960’s

This stunning Hayman Vibrasonic snare drum is one for both the players and collectors out there.

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This drum is wrapped in Silver Ignot and dates to the late 1960’s. The snare strainer and tone control dampener owe a lot to it’s American counterparts of the era. The turret lugs, whilst at a glance looking like Camco, on closer inspection are their own.

The top hoop on this particular drum is non original, but in keeping with the style of the original hoops; all other hardware is original and period correct. The white interior vibrasonic paint is immaculate. The drum tunes up nicely and sounds great at all tuning.

More details and lots of images on Nick Hopkin Drums website, where we offer worldwide shipping at checkout (we accept all major credit cards and paypal).

Hayman ‘Vibrasonic’ snare drum

Today I’m looking at a Hayman ‘Vibrasonic’ snare drum that recently came into the shop as part of a full kit. This snare drum is in lovely condition. It dates to around 1973, by the silver badge and the colour of the drum – ‘Regal Red’. This would have been manufactured towards the end of the Hayman name; Hayman ceased production of drums in 1975, you can read more about that here.

This snare drum is in lovely, original condition. There are no marks or scratches to the red wrap and neither is there any wrap lifting (which was common on hayman drums, especially around the lugs). The chrome is good, the only real exception being on the original snare strainer; despite this, it is fully functional and has the Hayman logo inscribed. All features are original – baseball bat style tone control dampener, 1o lug triple flange hoops, turret style lugs, slot head tension rods.

The white ‘vibrasonic’ shell interior is in great condition, with no crazing. The shell is round and sound, all good. I fitted the drum with new Remo Ambassador heads and the drum tuned up great. There are some sound files of the drum at low / mid tuning & mid/high tuning, both with and without moon gel. It sounds great at both, but for me its sweet spot is at a mid/high tension.

I’ve done a short video feature on this snare drum on my YouTube channel. There are more images and information on the snare drum and the matching drum kit on http://www.nickhopkindrums.com

Camco ‘Studio’ snare drum , 1960’s

OK, so a week or so ago i talked about some vintage snares that may not have crossed your radar before. Today lets take a closer look at one of those snare drums, the Camco ‘studio’ model. I picked this drum up at the Chicago drum show in May this year. I liked it because it was different to everything else we see here in the UK; different to the Ludwig & Slingerland drums too on many levels.

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The drum is a 4 ply shell with fairly fat re-rings and a white interior to the shell. The exterior is finished in a blue/silver ducco, fitted with eight tuxedo lugs and original chrome over brass hoops. The original ‘beer tap’ snare strainer is present and functional, the only non original piece of hardware being a small replacement nut on the snare butt. The drum was made in Oaklawn Illinois in the early-mid 60’s and is in great shape for its wires – it still wears the original snare wires and the shell still has the drum key holder, although the key itself is missing.

This drum has a completely different vibe to it than other snare drums from this era – either American or English, and I cant quite put my finger on why. Some argue that these drums are the best you’ll hear, but I think that’s subjective. That said, this drum really does sound stunning and is in great condition cosmetically for its age. Rare to have one in the UK. Why don’t you come and try it?

There’s a short video about the drum on my YouTube channel; there is also a sound file of this drum being played at different tuning.

Available to try in the shop, also on our website www.nickhopkindrums.com with Worldwide shipping available.

Vintage USA snare drums

We have fresh stock of some stunning vintage American snare drums. Our latest delivery of snares were hand selected by myself at this years Chicago drum show. Alongside our usual stock of some nice Ludwig Supraphonic and Pioneer snare drums, I chose some other brands and models for the shop, simply because they sounded great.

Here’s three great vintage snares to consider, that may not have crossed your radar before.

First up we have a lovely 1960’s Rogers Powertone in stock. This snare features a  chrome over brass shell with 8 lugs and a Rogers ‘Perma tension’ snare throw. There are a few scratches and marks, but genrally in good condition and totally original. It comes fitted with new Remo Ambassador heads.

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These snares have that lovely warm brass sound but with a crispness, a nice open sound. Read more about it here

In contrast, second is this 1960’s Camco ‘Studio’ model. I fell in love this early 1960’s snare drum and had to bring it over to the UK to be enjoyed & loved by a player here.

These drums are fairly rare here, with a small devoted following, but they rank among the best drums ever made. This snare has the Oaklawn badge and Tuxedo lugs, fitted with the original ‘beer tap’ throw and original wires. In a Blue Ducco finsih, it has a few small chips and scratches to the paintwork, but what would you expect – its about 60 years old! Come to the shop and try it for yourself, it really does sound special. We also offer worldwide shipping, with free UK delivery on snares in July (2016). More info here

Finally, we have a Slingerland ‘Deluxe Student’ model. This is a little rarer than most seen in the UK, as it was made in Shelbyville (Slingerland made drums here between 1965-1966).

The drum features a 3 ply shell, but as with all drums from the Shelbyville era, the re-rings are Oak. This little stunner is wrapped in red glitter and is in great condition for its age. A little wear to the chrome, but the Red is bright and the glitter….glitters! More to the point, I just had the dial on this and it tunes up a treat. What an awesome sounding snare drum for only 6 lugs. More info here

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this interesting. I’ll list some more snares this week.

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.

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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.

Feb 10 2016

It’s interesting running this shop, people kind of float on and off my radar. Back on my scene this week is Chris Ellul from UK band The Heavy, who’s been holed up in studios for the past year writing, recording and mixing their new album which comes out in April.

Chris turned up at the shop a few years ago, unannounced, as the band were recording at nearby Rockfield studios. He needed some parts urgently for one of his favourite studio snares, from what I remember. The shop looked very different to now, as I’d recently moved units so there would have been stuff everywhere. There still is, but it’s a little more organised these days. Anyhow, we fixed the snare and had a drum chatter over a cuppa, and since then we’ve seen a fair bit of Chris. He’s really into his vintage drums and so is a massive supporter of what we do here at Nick Hopkin Drums. He’s no badge freak – he plays what sounds good for the song.

Chris tells me that he used his 70’s Gretsch & 70’s Olympic sets on the new album which is released 1st April 2016. He also used a modest selection of vintage Rogers, Slingerland, Premier & Ludwig snare drums.

Check out the new single here – the drums really do sound great. I’m not sure which kit he’s touring, but he’ll have his tatty old Ludwig Supraphonic 400 on stage, with half the chrome hanging off it that sounds awesome – there’s a great story behind that snare drum. Ask him when you see him. Tour dates here