Here are two Ludwig & Ludwig Universal 6 lug snares that needed a lot of work but I like a challenge and fancied trying something different. Due to all the modifications the drums had received in the past I built them as players rather than museum pieces. For a start the original P338 strainers were missing and P83's had been crudely bodged in. Next were badly fitted baseball bat mufflers which didn't work and needed modifying. Finally the hoops were steel on this model rather than brass and since all the hoop clips were missing I decided not to use them. When I first opened the box after delivery it was obvious the drums had been sitting around for some time in a neglected state!

Beaten Up Ludwigs As Received! Beaten Up Ludwigs As Received!

Above:This is basically how the drums turned up!

Both shells had various dents and curiously both had received a big impact on the strainer which is circled in above picture. This had not only mangled beyond repair the P83 strainers that had been fitted but had bent in the beading as well by about half an inch at least! This was a bit tricky because the beading is added to stiffen the shell and put up a bit of a fight. The damaged beading can be clearly seen in the photo below along with the original strainer holes and footprint:

Tarnished Shell Tarnished Shell

Tarnished Tube Lug

The above pictures show the extent of the tarnishing and neglect these old drums had seen.

Badly Modified Muffler

Above: Badly modified Baseball Bat muffler as fitted.

1960's BB mufflers had been fitted, however, the problem using BB mufflers is the hole drilled in the shell needs to be fairly accurately placed otherwise the felt pad will be too low or too high! Infact the previous owner had already discovered this too late and drilled an extra hole (arrowed) in one of mufflers to try to lower it.

The drums were stripped to shells and I designed and welded together a tool which is similar in principal to what is used to beat out car panels except it was made specifically for 14 inch drum shells. It worked a treat and I virtually removed every dent from the shells and got them round again, including the centre beading. This was the hardest part to do, it requires a lot of patience and you gradually press out the dent a little section at a time. Not for the faint hearted perhaps but then again I've worked on old cars for years. Removing all the tarnish was done by polishing for hours by hand!

Modified 70's muffler Modified 70's muffler

Above: the muffler issue was solved by making a one off.

The later 70's mufflers are height adjustable and therefore it's no big deal if the muffler hole in the shell is slightly out. I liked the look of the old "Baseball Bat" handle so I combined the two! I drilled out the 70's muffler to accept the 60's parts and hey presto, it looks older and works like a modern muffler. Because the muffler plate is sprung it compensates for the BB spring and as a result the handle stayed put... perfect!

One of the finished drums:

Finished Drum

Finished Drum

Here is one of the finished articles then, a heavily modified 1920's drum looking rather healthier than when it was delivered, (in the words of a good guitarist friend of mine: "F***ing hell!!! Is that the same drum????!"). Fortunately I had a good P83 strainer laying around looking for a home so that was added. With new style heads,snare wires and hoops fitted the result was a drum that had the old classic type of sound and played like a modern version. I put this next to a 70's 14 x 5 Supra for comparison and it was at least as loud and some of my friends actually preferred the tone of this 80(ish) year old hand built brass snare (not as bright and more mellow - typical of a brass shell). If you want to know more about modernising antiques you'll find a page in the reference section. Both those drums now have new owners and are back out performing once again instead of being junked forever!