Pitted chrome is a very common problem on Ludwig Supraphonics. The reason being that an aluminium shell doesn't like being chrome plated, add some moisture into the equation and a galvanic reaction is the result (discussed in more depth on the Galvanic Reactions page in the reference section). If an anodised or powder coated finish had been used by the factory it would have been much better wearing as is illustrated by the acrolites! Using car polish with built in wax will help preserve a good example by keeping the moisture out, however bad examples may look something like:

Pitted Supra!

Above: The chrome is forced up by the corrosion on the aluminium shell and being brittle, snaps off in small flakes.

If you thought that was bad...

Nasty Supra!

Above: The chrome peels off in large lumps in really bad cases!

The example below wasn't much better and was the one that I restored.

Supra As Received!

Above: the project drum as bought... missing 2 lugs, 4 rods, top head and still fitted with a broken bottom head... the shell was badly pitted and the hoops were rusty. The only thing it had going for it at the time was it was inexpensive to buy!

Finished Drum

The finished drum after a complete rebuild.

I wanted to see how cheaply I could tidy up a supra and the finish you see cost about £10 ($15). I sanded the pits smooth, gently feathered the edges back to good chrome and keyed up everything else that was left stuck on (with a heavy duty fine grade sanding disc in a high speed drill), the idea being that if after 35 years what's left after the sanding is still sticking it'll stick even longer with corrosion resistant paint over it. I used special metals primer that can cope with chrome and aluminium as the base coat and corrosion resistant silver hammered paint as the top coat. It was easy to do and the result looks a lot smarter than corroded chrome. Although the most inexpensive method painting isn't sonically the best route so I'll turn to that next.

Close Up Of The Painted Finish

Above: Closer look at the painted finish.

If you don't fancy the hassle of painting the shell here are the other options but they are more costly! Firstly you will need to have the chrome plating removed professionally. From here you could go for a tough finish such as powder coating. This method I reckon is quite durable and lasting, Ludwig themselves adopted this approach on the Black Acrolites. Here's an example as seen on Ebay:

Powder Coated Supra

Above: The powder coat gives a reflective plastic like finish as shown.

Some people worry that adding a coating affects the shell's frequency response which leaves either anodising or polishing the bare aluminium shell. Here's an example of both methods which have been done by other drum enthusiasts:

Polished Supra

Purple Anodised Supra

Above: A polished or anodized Supra makes for a tidy solution. Anodized finishes can be easily scratched so you'd need to take a reasonable amount of care on this conversion.