Monday, December 20, 2010

Slingerland Radio King Snare Drum

I think it's probably pretty safe to say that, at one time, the Slingerland Radio King Snare Drum, was the most popular snare drum in the world. Gene Krupa played Slingerland Drums his entire carreer and many other drum stars of the 30's and 40's such as Buddy Rich, Dave Tough, Ben Pollack, Ray McKinley and Barrett Deems played and endorsed these drums.

The 1930's-60's Radio King was made of either metal or solid wood. The solid wood models, which are highly prized, came in two sizes, 5 x 14 and 6 1/2 x 14. It came with the Krupa strainer and double flanged hoops. The top hoop was engraved with the words, "Slingerland Radio King". The drum was offered with either nickel or chrome plating. By the late 1940's, the drum was actually referred to as the Gene Krupa Radio King, such was the influence of this Chicago drummer.

Throughout the 50's and 60's, Slingerland continued to offer the Radio King. The metal model was made of brass, as were the hoops, which were now known as stick saver hoops. The name of the drum changed to the Super Gene Krupa Snare Drum and other models, playing off the Radio King name, were added to the catalog. The Gene Krupa Sound King, the Concert King, and the Super Sound King were made to entice drummers everywhere. These models achieved various degrees of sales success.

The pictured drum is from the 1950's. A few Drum Historians and Collectors believe that these drums from the 50's and early 60's were the finest drums that Slingerland ever made. This drum is also covered in a White Marine Pearl Wrap which was Krupa's favorite finish.

Slingerland is still in existence---now owned by Gibson Guitars. But this drum is from a time that is long passed and will never return.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, about 10 yeas ago I bought a couple really old WMP Radio king tom toms at a flea market, they had the old cast iron hoops and all, anyway, I also bought a 10" Zildjain cymbal that this guy had so I am assuming it went with what ever set the toms went with. Anyhow, there is a signature on the cymbal but I cannot make it out, were there any drummers you can think of, say from the 50's to the 70's who's last name ended with a B? or had a B in it? its the only letter I can really make out and even then, I am not to sure its even a