Here's a quickfire Q/A section which hopefully will answer a few common questions. Needless to say there is more detail scattered throughout the website but I've tried a quick summary here for ease. Remember these are only my opinions and other people may have other ideas / ways of doing things!

Q. Why do Supraphonics flake chrome off the shells?
A. You can't chrome plate aluminium shells effectively, the metals involved are too dissimilar and a galvanic reaction is the result. Anodizing or powder coating is the answer as seen by the tidy finish on the acrolites which is long lasting and doesn't react. See my pitted Supra in the projects section and galvanic reactions in reference section of the website for more details.

Q. Is there anything that will stop the pitting?
A. You can't stop the reactive properties of the metals but you can slow the process down. Keep the drum away from moisture as much as possible and use a good car chrome cleaner with built in wax as a moisture barrier.

Q. Are there differences between the new Supras and older ones?
A. There are some minor mechanical changes to do with the new shell being undersized and the hoop thickness being increased. See new vs old Supraphonic in the reference section of the website for more details.

Q. What is the difference with the hammered shells?
A. It dries out the ring a bit. Personally I've never subscribed to that because you can always muffle a ringy snare but not make a dry one more ringy.

Q. What is a seamless spun shell?
A. Most shells are basically a flat sheet rolled into a circle and the edges are joined together. This creates a slight deadspot in the shell sonically. Supra shells are a one piece blank spun in a machine and squeezed into shape with rollers which means the material is constant all the way round. A Sonor video showing a similar process is below:

Q. If I tap the top hoop of my Supra / Super Sensitive with a stick I can hear a rattling noise coming from inside the drum?
A. It's a common problem with these drums. The springs inside the lugs which hold the threaded inserts are resonating and rattling against the lug. A good idea is to remove all the lugs and put in some wadding to deaden them as shown below:
Wadding Inside A Supra Lug Prevents Spring Rattle

Q. One of the lugs has a stripped thread and won't tighten back up, now what?
A. I personally tap these M5 (since I'm in Europe and these are easy screw sizes to get) as shown below:
M5 Tap To Make Old Stripped Lugs Reusable

Q. How do I remove dents from a dropped drum?
A. Strip the drum to a shell only. Carefully cut a block of wood (or make a tool) which follows the inner contour of the good part of the shell. Hammer the drum from the inside out.

Q. Can an out of round drum be repaired?
A. Yes, strip the drum to a shell and lean a brand new head on it noting which sides are too long and stick out. Put the shell on a thick carpet and face the longer side up vertically. Place your palms over the top of the shell and VERY carefully bounce a bit of bodyweight on the shell. Recheck with the new head to see if you are heading in the right direction. Once the head floats with no force you are done. Usually a couple of goes is all that's needed.

Q. Why is my P83 / P85 strainer stuck almost solid?
A. It's usually caused by an impact bending the back plate. Strip the strainer down, straighten the backplate as necessary and put a small bit of grease on it where the strainer front slides on.

Q. Why does the strainer back off tension when I'm hitting hard?
A. Another common problem with these drums. The 60's P83 strainer was superior in my opinion because it used a steel metal front with a brass threaded receiver for the tension control threaded rod. The 70's drums were fitted with a P85 which used a soft casting which was directly threaded. Pot metal castings aren't really very durable for that purpose. The harder surface will wear the softer one so the steel thread on the tension control wins out whilst the casting gets worn and sloppy. More details can be found on the Supra Vs Super Sensitive page in the reference section.

Q. Supra or Super Sensitive?
A. Personally I like the Super Sensitives, the longer wires give slightly better ghost notes and a touch more presence and crack on full strokes. It's pretty subtle though. Also you don't get the tension backing off the snare wires like the Supras on hard playing. The downside is the mechanisms stick out and are prone to knocks, especially if the guards are missing. See my Supra Vs Super Sensitive page in the reference section for more details.

Q. No matter how hard I fiddle with the wire tension or tune the heads my Super Sensitive snare wires are buzzing like crazy... why?
A. Stretched wires or more likely bent mechanisms are the answer. See my Super Sensitive mechanism help page in the reference section for more details.

Q. Why does my friend's '64 acrolite sound a little bit more ringy and open than a later model?
A. I have a theory that the chrome over brass hoops as fitted upto 1965 are responsible since I have personally checked the shell thickness on early drums and they are made the same as the drums that followed. See my hoop experiment page in the experimental section for details.

Q. Why am I loosing tension on the rods facing my snare hand when rimshotting on my Supra?
A. Firstly check any lug inserts for excessive wear, they should be a free but snug fit on the tension rod thread. Rimshots make the hoop momentarily deflect downwards and this takes the tension off the rods for that short time enabling them to unwind. A die cast hoop will not bend as easily and may provide a cure. I did just that on my Super Sensitive and left the bottom hoop as standard to avoid drying out the drum too much. Rimshot volume is also increased. The other point is that Supras / Super Sensitives are 10 lug drums, this means the tension force on the top head is divided ten ways. Six or eight lug drums will hold their tuning better at lower settings due to sharing the tension force between six or eight points instead of ten. This obviously means the force applied to each tension point is higher on a six lug snare than either an eight or ten lug snare drum at any given tuning, the result of which is the tension rod is less likely to slip and turn. My six lug 1920's Heavyweight brass snare can hold it's tuning faultlessly even after 10 hours of solid hard playing, something any Supra or Super Sensitive I've played hard could not dream of doing without lug locks! I haven't yet tried these but TIGHTSCREWS look promising. If all else fails you could always add a nut and washer on the troublesome tension rods, tune the head right and then lock the nuts down in drastic cases to get through gigs! Infact Ludwig themselves had a similar idea on the big Coliseum rock type snare drums:

A thumbscrew on a tension rod was Ludwig's solution.

I've come to the conclusion that unless high tension is required on the batter head "less is more" when it comes to lugs!

Q. 60's or 70's acrolite?
A. There's not much to choose sonically assuming they have the same hoops. I reckon the 60's model has a more attractive shell finish and a better strainer but on the downside the baseball bat muffler is pretty useless for hard playing. You could either fit a 70's muffler or just have the BB muffler set off and use a small thin o ring. The 70's acrolites seem cheaper to buy and will sound just as good.

Q. What's the difference between a 1920's Ludwig & Ludwig Universal and 2 piece heavyweight shell?
A.The Universal shell is a rolled brass sheet whereas the heavyweight shell is spun in two parts and joined at the middle bead. Both sound good but sonically the Heavyweight is the one to have out of the two in my opinion!

Q. Can modern hoops and heads be fitted to these old drums?
A. No problem at all and in addition these old Ludwig drums use the same threads as a Supra meaning modern tension rods and lug screws will work if you are stuck for parts! I used 1950's WFL nickel over brass hoops on my 1920's drum to keep it an all brass layout with a matching finish to the shell.