Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Slingerland Super Sound King Snare Drum

The 60's was a decade of excitement, innovation, and, in the case of Drum companies, profitability. Everything and anything seemed possible. Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers, Camco, Gretsch, Fibes, and Premier--all offered a myriad of drum kits and snare drum choices. And all of them sold their version of " the most sensitive and responsive snare drum in the Drum Industry."

Rogers, for example, sold the Rogers Dynasonic Snare Drum. Ludwig had the Super Sensitive Snare Drum. Camco offered the No 99 Super. And Fibes trumpeted its SFT 690. Slingerland, of course, was not to be out done, particularly since Ludwig, its cross town rival, had the Super Sensitive Model.

The drum you see pictured was Slingerland's answer to the Ludwig Super Sensitive. The Super Sound King Snare Drum came in two sizes, 5 x 14 and 6 1/2 x 14. It has ten lugs. It made its debut in 1967 and it has a very heavy brass shell and the typical " guaranteed for life" brass stick saver hoops. Its real difference from other Slingerland snare drums is the Dual Super Snare Strainer. It was the only Slingerland drum to use this strainer. Each side of the drum had a snare strainer. The drummer could release the snare wires on both sides of the drum simultaneously with one handle, or he could adjust each side separately if he so desired. One knob was used to adjust the tension on the snare wires.

Slingerland, in the 1968 catalog, said the "Super Sound King Snare Drum is the most sensitive and responsive snare drum ever designed." And, as a clear dig at Ludwig, stated, " needs no sound disturbing center bead." The drum listed for 130.00 dollars, which was 30 dollars more than the Gene Krupa Sound King and 38.00 dollars more than a Radio King Snare Drum.

The initial reaction to this drum was somewhat muted and , over the years, the drum has been overshadowed. The Super Sound King never really had a chance. Slingerland ceased production of this model in 1976. As far as I know, this snare drum was never associated with any Slingerland endorsers. Yet, it has all the components that make up the classic Slingerland metal snare drum---the heavy brass shell, the stick saver hoops and the twenty wire snappy snares.

Perhaps Slingerland executives tried to make too much of a good thing. They already were selling one of most sensitive and responsive snare drums in the market at that time--the Slingerland Radio King. The Sound King got "lost in the shuffle."


  1. I just this weekend finished a partial restoration of a 1969 Sound King with a Dual Super. Great sounding snare. I say "partial" because I am actually missing a few original components. I was actually searching the web for parts when I found your blog. I'll post a photo of the drum in progress tonight. Great Blog.