over Brass Ludwig Supraphonic or Ludalloy Shell?
question of whether or not a drum has a brass shell
is a very popular in the drumming community. This
article should help you get that answer.
start by saying most popular drum manufacturers prior
to 1960 were using brass for their shells. I say "Most"
not all! I did have a 60's Sonor that was steel, a
60's Ajax that was steel etc..
is my drum shell brass? Well, you can do some tests
to make that determination. Firstly and the most common
method is the Magnet Test.
do this correctly you will need a low grade magnet.
For me a skinny flat refrigerator magnet works best.
If it sticks or gives some noticeable resistance then
your drum is NOT brass, it is steel. You can do this
test on the hoops, lugs and strainer as well to see
if they are brass or steel.
it does not stick then it can be brass, aluminum,
or some metal combination that Ludwig used called
discuss Ludwig a little bit since that is the most
asked question about the Ludwig Supraphonic. Is my
Supra brass? Here is a little chart to answer some
general rules when looking at a supra
no serial number
pits at all
on the shell
know, I know, you have a (fill in the blank)
drum that is brass, but... We all know there are anomalies
and situations that do not apply to the general rules
of vintage drums! Let's get past that.
is also well documented that if you have a Supra with
a cut down Blue and Olive badge that the drum is more
then likely brass.
I did mention other tests to definitively make that
determination, because there are 70's brass Supras
and the rumor is that they were special order or endorser
drums. They can also be chromed shells that were ordered
instead of the Black Beauty shell, which was brass.
test called the Cutting Test will
require a steady hand and a little more work. You
will need to take off the head and one lug and look
at the hole that the lug sits in. Now, take a very
sharp knife and or metal type cutting tool and very,
very carefully scrape the metal on the inside of the
hole. I say scrape, but more like take a fine cutting
sample. You will know right away if you see brass.
have never done this before and only can mention what
I have heard, so this would be a last resort.
test is the Weight Test. The brass
shell Supras weigh more then the Ludalloy version.
How much I do not know for sure, but I have seen and
heard the brass drums are around 8-9 lbs or so and
the Ludalloy versions are 5-6 lbs or so.
then that in some cases Ludwig Stamped a " B"
in some shells and a " BR ", I have never
seen the stamp and have heard of it on the inside
of the shell, by the strainer and just recently someone
emailed me because they had a " B " stamped
above the tone control.
with all of that said the reason the brass drums are
so popular and sought after is because they are worth
more money. Since the vintage drum market goes up
and down, I have seen some sell as low as $600 and
at one time they usually went for about $1000.
just want to finish with a re-iteration of the statement
that there are drum anomalies in the vintage community
that do not fit the criteria above that could be brass.
This is not an exact science!
" B " stamp behind the tone control
Courtesy: Lenny Sanchez from Kyle Tx