Rare Hayman Iceberg

Hayman ‘Iceberg’ drum set

The word Rare, in the vintage drums World, is banded around a bit too much for my liking. This set, however, is super rare.

So here she is; Hayman Iceberg 22,12,13,16

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Emerging in 1971, the ‘Iceberg’ was displayed at trade shows but very few were actually manufactured. Sources close to Ivor Arbiter confirm  ‘only a handful’. Of that handful of drum kits produced and I know of only 1 other in Europe in the same condition as this -excellent!

This set is a great example, having come from a collector. It is in great condition with some minor scuffs and scratches from use, the 12 & 13″ toms are still fitted with original Hayman heads! The only thing on this set that isn’t original is the front bass drum hoop.

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Don’t miss out on this, I doubt you’ll see another up for sale anywhere soon! Check out a stack of photos on the website. We will ship this set anywhere in the World, contact us for a price.

A ducco week

OK, I know. It’s been a while since I wrote anything about the shop. We’ve had a busy couple weeks, but now all the drum shows are over for a while we can get back to sharing some stunning vintage drums with you.

This week these 3 ducco delights dropped through our letterbox, and I don’t really want to see any of them leave! They are looking for new stands to sit on and be played and loved though, so take your pic. Which would you play first?

 

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Left to right: Ludwig ‘Barrett Deems‘ model; Geo. Way ‘Studio‘ model; Leedy ‘Broadway‘.

All drums available at Nick Hopkin Drums with International shipping.

Snare of the day

Premier Mayfair, 1927

Today’s featured drum is one of the oldest snare drums in the shop ( i think we have a couple that are a little earlier). The Premier Mayfair made appearances in the 1927 catalogue.

Premier Mayfair snare drum 1927 at Nick Hopkin Drums www.nickhopkindrums.com

This drum features a 14 x 5″ chrome over brass beaded shell. All fittings on this drum are 100% original. The single flange hoops are engraved ‘Premier Mayfair British made’ and come with a full set of original rods and claws.

Complimented with a set of original calf heads, with no issues, and tightly coiled snare wires that are period correct. The snare strainer is original, the only downside being that the lever arm is missing.

Its not often you see a piece of English drum history in a ready to play condition, but we have one in store – its just gone onto the website.

The shell could do with a little clean up, if shiny is your thing; personally I like these drums that are almost a century old, to look vintage!

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 ‘Clamshell’ snare strainer

The Slingerland ‘Super Strainer’ was introduced in 1940 on Radio King snare drums, but is commonly referred to as the ‘clamshell’. It replaced the three point strainer which had featured on all drums until then. It looked great, with its streamlined design and extended throw off lever, but today is disliked by many for its fragility. Its rare to find a Radio King from this era with a complete arm on! However, Slingerland continued to use this strainer on drums up until the late 1950’s, gradually phasing out the three point.

Here’s a late 1950’s Radio Kings with the Clamshell throw off:

Although the extended lever is often missing from earlier drums, most snare throws I’ve come across are still functional without it. Occasionally the bolt holding the arm itself in place has worn out from years of use; the alternative is to replace it with a modern lever, of which we have several in stock. We picked these up when we were in the USA in May and they work a treat. Although they look nothing like the original, they really do work allowing these great drums to be played again.

We have several in stock on our website with worldwide shipping,  as well as a couple of fine Radio King Snare drums. One is late 1950’s in  white pearl with Nickel hardware the other mid 1950’s with chrome hardware in Blue glitter.

Why not come and visit us to try these snares out and check out the Clamshell throw in more detail. We’re open weekdays and weekends.

 

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.

Dream Bliss cymbals

This week we’ve taken stock of a small selection of Dream cymbals at Nick Hopkin Drums. As our focus has mainly been on snare drums over the past 12 months, we have diminished stock of vintage used cymbals; its nice to have a good set of cymbals in store that work well on a vintage kit when trying out drums. Initially I was looking for a set just for this purpose, but when I started going through the cymbals more than one of each size jumped out at me as something a bit special.

So we have a few hand selected Dream Bliss cymbals in the shop for you to try out; The Bliss cymbals are made in the ancient tradition  – hand forged, hand hammered and micro lathed by hand. At low volume these cymbals have a real warmth, with darker undertones coming alive when played at volume.

We took a small selection of cymbals that spoke to us, in standard sizes. Some 22″ ride’s, some 20″ crash/ride’s, 18″ crash/ride’s and some hi hats.

We’d love you to come down to the shop and try these out; they are available to buy online, but as each cymbal is unique we’d recommend playing some first.

View our stock here – 

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

Rare 1950s Premier drum set in marine pearl

It’s not every week that we get a kit come through the shop that makes me swoon. We get lots of classics come through in really nice condition, that sound equally as nice as they look. But when this kit came out of its cases, I wanted it!
I picked it up from the widow of a serious collector, who sadly passed away a few years ago. He had several choice kits in stunning condition, cased in a safe, dry storage facility. But as I took a peek inside the first case, my heart fluttered, this one was that extra bit special. A full 1950s Premier set in original condition complete with a full set of calf heads, what a find!
It’s rare to see full sets in this colour, before the glitters and pearls that most associate with the name Premier. The set is finished in marine pearl, which over time has mellowed to a yellow/peach colour which gives it more charm in my opinion.
The sizes and features on this set are something else too; a 20×14 bass drum undrilled for legs or a tom post. Tone control dampers front and back and a mount for a cymbal arm on the right. A spur mounts from the front hoop to give the drum some stability, when the 12×8 tom is mounted off the opposite hoop via a clamp and L arm. To complete the set there’s a 14×18 floor tom with original leg brackets from that era, a pre-cursor to the spring tension brackets of the 1960s. It’s so rare to see a floor tom in this size and in this condition, what a treat. These three drums are in fantastic original condition with ‘script logo’ badges, and the earlier Art Deco lugs and bass drum rods. The bass drum has 3 small holes near the batter head hoop where the cymbal mount has been moved and the resonant head on the 12 has ripped. Apart from that, this kit is immaculate.
A slightly later, again super rare 16×18 floor tom comes with this set with 1960s lugs and badge. The wrap has faded similarly to the other drums so it’s my opinion that this tom was added within a few years of the set and has been kept together as such, rather than it being added years later.

This set of drums is simply stunning, and in this condition I don’t anticipate another surfacing in the UK anytime soon. There’s the option to purchase the matching Super Ace snare drum with this set, which completes it nicely. Again, in fantastic original condition with original wires.
This set is a must for any collectors of English vintage drums out there or players who are looking for a 20,12,14 bop kit that will turn heads for its style and sound.
More details on this set online at http://www.nickhopkindrums.com

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