"A drum is a woman" - Duke Ellington
Drummers of every background and taste usually have a holy grail that they're searching for.
For some it's the Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum. For others,
It's the Slingerland maple steam bent shell Gene Krupa snare.
Others collect drums of specific companies only. There are some collectors who collect only drums of one specific color regardless of company manufacturer.
But for me the Holy grail has been the Rogers Dynasonic wood snare drum.
I'm not sure how I got hooked on this particular drum. Perhaps it's because some of my favorite
drummers played the drum, notably Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson.
In any case, I've been extremely fortunate to be able to own and play a number of these fine instruments.
It must be mentioned here that not everyone agrees that these drums are fine instruments. They are finicky and there are as many people who swear at them,but still who swear by them.
What follows are a number of beautiful examples of these
drums. All of them have "stories". Some are parts of complete kits. Others are "orphans".
My Vintage Dynasonic Snare Drum Collection
The drums featured on this page are currently for exhibit only.
However, if you would like to discuss purchasing any of
these drums, please send
me an email and we'll talk.
I believe that this is one of the largest single collections of
wood Dynasonic snare drums in the world - enjoy!
Dynasonic : Red Wine Ripple : Early 1960's
A wood Dynasonic in Red Wine ripple wrap. This is an early Dyno with brass
lugs. The signature on this drum tells it all - ;Louis Bellson was a giant of a human being and a supremely gifted musician. When I talked to him about this drum, he
shifted the whole conversation to a drum tour he did with Buddy Rich in Japan in
the 60's. Louis was playing a wood Dyno and so was Buddy, except Buddy became
enraptured with Louie's snare drum and asked him for it. To my knowledge, Louie
never gave up that drum.
Dynasonic : Green Sparkle : Mid 1960's
A wood Dynasonic in green sparkle. A 60's model with beavertail lugs. This drum
is part of a complete kit that includes a 20 inch kick drum, 8x12 hanging tom, and
14 x 14 floor tom, It was purchased from a collector in Toronto, Canada. It's
a warm, responsive snare that really "sings" when pushed. A very fine example of
a wood Dyno.
Dynasonic : Silver Sparkle : Mid 1960's
A wood Dynasonic in silver sparkle. Another 60's model with beavertail lugs. This
Drum is extremely clean and the "crushed glass" effect in the finish really stands out. This drum is also part of a complete kit and it is clearly the finest drum
in the lot as far as the finish goes.
Dynasonic : Blue Sparkle : Mid 1960's
A wood Dynasonic in blue sparkle. A 60's model with beavertail lugs that also shows the "crushed glass" finish to great effect. This drum too is part of a complete Kit. Again, the tone and
response is quite exceptional.
Dynasonic : Red Sparkle : Mid 1960's
beautiful red sparkle wood Dynasonic. This drum still has
it's original heads on it. It is part of a complete kit
that is a mix of beavertail and bread and butter Lugs. The
previous owner had traded it in for a newer kit.
Dynasonic : Grey Slate : Early 1960's
An early wood Dyno with bread and butter lugs wrapped in a rare grey slate
Finish. This is a beautiful drum. Again, very responsive.
Dynasonic : White Marine Pearl : Mid 1960's
A wood Dyno wrapped in white marine pearl. This Dyno is also part of a complete
Kit. If the serial number is any indication this drum was one of the later Dynasonic's.
Dynasonic : Silver : Mid 1960's
Yet another silver wood Dynasonic. It was in pieces and had to be almost rebuilt from the ground up. It
was hidden on the top shelf behind various other drum accessoies. It took some
work, but the end result is quite satisfying. Another great sounding drum.
Dynasonic : Natural Finish : Mid 1970's
A "Big R" wood Dynasonic. This is a 6 by 14 in a natural finish. These later
Dyno's are not as coveted as the earlier models. Rogers, as a company, was beginning
its long slow slide into oblivion. Nevertheless, the company did make some fine
instruments in the 70's. This is one of them
OTHER TOP-RATED SNARE DRUMS IN
Rogers : Black Onyx
The Rogers Powertone snare drum was the workhorse of the
Rogers drum line. Many kits came with this snare drum as standard issue. This particular drum is wrapped in a black
onyx finish. It is part of a double bass drum kit with a single hanging tom and a single floor tom. There were 3 onyx
finishes, red, blue, and black. Black Onyx is the rarest of the three.
Gretsch : Marine Pearl
Known as the Aristocrat of snare drums, this Gretsch Gladstone is wrapped in
White marine pearl, also known as Oriental Pearl. Billy Gladstone was a show
drummer and inventor who came up with the two-way or three-way tuning
that graced every Gretsch Gladstone drum.
Premier : Grey Shimmer
A Premier wood snare in Grey shimmer wrap. This model was known as the Royal
Ace in Premier catalogs. It's part of a complete kit that includes an 8 x 14 "pancake" tom. This drum was purchased as NOS, (new old stock) from a drum
store in the upper Midwest. These drums were fine instruments. The wraps were
beautiful and the chrome work was second to none. I don't believe the Evans heads
that came with this drum were as good as the Remo heads of the time.
Ludwig : "Ringo" Finish
A Ludwig Downbeat piccolo in the "Ringo" finish. This is a great sounding
drum wrapped in the Ludwig Black Oyster Pearl finish. As most of you know, this
was the finish that Ringo Starr made famous. Many piccolo drums tend to
lack bottom. That's not the case with this drum. Sticks, brushes, mallets,--
this drum responds to all of them.
Ludwig : Green Sparkle
A Ludwig concert snare with a standard strainer. This beautiful green sparkle
drum was purchased from a collector in Buffalo, New York. I've played this drum in various settings. It's come through like a champ. The imperial lugs really look
great against the green sparkle.
Ludwig : Super Ludwig 400
Super Ludwig 400 is perhaps the most recorded drum in history.
The early models, like this one, were made of brass. Later
models were constructed of whatever metal was available
at the time. In 1963, the name of the drum was changed to
the Ludwig Supraphonic 400 or simply the “Super 4”.
The list of famous drummers who used this drum is long
and illustrious. It includes Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck),
Buddy Rich, Ed Thigpen, and Hal Blaine. Rock drummers who
played the drum include Dino Danelli (the Young Rascals),
Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix), Charlie Watts (the Rolling
Stones), Jim Densmore (the Doors), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
Note: Bonham played the deeper 6 ½ x 14 model, Danny
Gottlieb (Pat Metheny) and Johnny Badanjek (Mitch Ryder
and the Detroit Wheels).
This list simply scratches the surface of the number of
drummers who played the beloved “Super 4”.
Rogers : Mahogany
Somewhat of an oddity. This is a Rogers 8 x 15 Century snare drum in a mahogany
finish. This is a concert drum that I've had very little occasion to play. Admittedly,
It's not as responsive as a powertone or a dynasonic, but it's a fine drum.
Slingerland : Student Model Radio King
This drum was called a student model Radio King in the Slingerland catalogs.
Unlike the more expensive Gene Krupa Radio King model, this drum was a three
ply shell. It also had stick shredder hoops with clips. Despite it's humble origins,
it's a fine sounding drum with good response.
Slingerland : Blue Agate
A Slingerland artist model in stunning blue agate wrap. These drums get short shrift in the vintage marketplace. It has the standard zoomatic strainer with
Stick saver hoops. It's a fine sounding drum.
Sonor : Wood w/ offset lugs
Sonor wood snare from the mid 60's. This model had offset tear drop lugs.
I don't know what the wrap on this drum is called. It can best be described as
a mahogany or "root beer" finish.
Camco drums have skyrocketed in value over the last few years. In the 60's, the company was a weak
sister compared to Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers, and Gretsch. They made a fine
drum that has stood the test of time. Some famous players, among them Dennis
Wilson of the Beach Boys, played Camco. The company simply didn't have the
promotional heft that the other companies had.
Premier : Royal Ace
Yet another Premier royal Ace, this time in a stunning red sparkle. I remember
the first color picture I saw of Keith Moon of the Who showed him sitting behind
a red sparkle Premier kit. I don't believe he used a Premier snare drum , however.
DRUM SETS IN MY COLLECTION
Ludwig : Super Classic Drum Set
Ludwig Super Classic drum kit was the drum set of choice
of many teenagers in the 1960's. The drums weren't cheap.
A complete kit listed for $465.00 dollars, but aggressive
music dealers usually found a way to discount.
My father bought me this kit in 1964.
As you can see, it's in fine shape—a little yellowing
and a few nicks here and there, but otherwise she's ready
The snare drum is the prize of this kit.
There's nothing special about it....it's not made of brass.
But the sound is another matter. She sounds GREAT. More
than one recording engineer has remarked about it. I play
this snare drum as often as I can. The sound it makes
is such sweet music.
Ludwig : Black Oyster Pearl
kit is wrapped in perhaps the most famous drum finish
of all time---Black Oyster Pearl. This is due totally
to one Ringo Starr, who appeared on Ed Sullivan in the
early 60's playing a kit in this color.
For many years, Ringo used the kit and
has been filmed and photographed many times playing behind
it. This particular model has the transition Ludwig badge,
meaning it was made in 1959-60. It is in remarkable shape
considering its age.
Unfortunately, I only have the 4 x 14
snare drum in Black Oyster. The 5 ½ x 14 wood model
is very collectible, highly desirable, and difficult to
find. Need I also add that it's very expensive!
Camco Drum Kit
Camco Drum Company was originally based out of Oak Lawn
Illinois. The Company was small and didn't have the promotional
muscle of Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers, or Gretsch. The
company went through various owners and eventually ended
up in Los Angeles.
This kit was purchased in Los Angeles
by Maury Baker, a very fine drummer who played with Janis
Joplin, Tim Buckley, Judy Collins and on various studio
The set has the distinctive round lugs
that Camco was known for. The Tom holders were similar
to the Pearl Drum holders of the time. Camco drums have
skyrocketed in value over the years. Many collectors search
for these kits and pay top dollar for them.
Sizes: 22 X 14, 16 X 16, 9 X 13, 8 X
12, 6 ½ X 14 Brass Snare Drum, Walnut Lacquer Finish
for larger photo]