Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Slingerland Artist Model Snare Drum

Slingerland, like many of the drum manufacturers of the 1960's, tried to offer a drum for every taste and budget. Business was simply booming. It was not unusual for music stores to sell 5 drum kits a day! Drum sticks, cymbals, drum hardware---it all sold quickly and in huge quantities. Naturally, drum company executives reasoned that you were better off presenting as many choices as possible in a given year. Throughout the decade, Slingerland, along with Ludwig, Rogers, Gretsch, Camco, and Premier offered various kits and snare drums in a wide variety of wraps and lacquered finishes. These finishes came and went depending on how well they sold during the year.

The pictured drum was known as the Slingerland Artist Model. It first made its appearance in the 1963 catalog. This beauty has 8 lugs, brass hoops, the famous Slingerland solid maple shell, and the new, at the time, Zoomatic strainer. This strainer replaced the Clamshell strainer that, although beautiful, proved to be problematical. ( See April 21st blog entry). The Zoomatic strainer was simply designed and entirely functional. In fact, the strainer was still used by Slingerland into the mid 1990's.

This drum was originally offered in two sizes, the 5 1/2 x 14 and the 7 x 14. There was also a 10 lug version. The 7 x 14 drum was dropped due to poor sales. For one year, 1968, Slingerland referred to this drum as the Buddy Rich Artist Model. He was the only drummer to have his name associated with this snare drum. Buddy was a Slingerland endorser at the time and company executives took every opportunity they could to use his name to sell their drums. Production of this model ceased in 1979.

The wrap on this drum deserves some mention. The Slingerland catalogs of the day refer to it as Blue Agate Pearl. They also had a White Tiger Pearl, a Red Tiger Pearl, and the rarest of the bunch, a Yellow Tiger Pearl. Of the American Drum companies of the day, only the Rogers Drum Company sold a similar wrap. They called it the Onyx wrap and it came in blue, red and black.

Although not exactly plentiful, these drums can still be found today at vintage shows for very reasonable prices. Perhaps the Artist Model doesn't have the mystique that the Radio King has. Nevertheless, it's a fine drum.


  1. The Solid Maple Shell Artist with the Zoomatic strainer was only made from 1962-1964. From then on only the 3 Ply Shell Artist was made 1965-1979, as well as a 5 ply without the re rings and a 3 ply without re rings as well. Neil Peart's was a 3 Ply Artist made between 1972-1976 due to it's Copper over Wood finish AKA-Copper plated Steel Wrap finish-AKA Copper Cladding. He never used the Solid Maple Shell version at all!

    1. Solid maple shells only through '64? And then only 3-ply shells? Don't think so ... check your catalogs.