Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Ludwig Super Sensitive 4 in 1 Snare Drum

From 1929 to 1935, the Ludwig Drum Company offered a snare drum it called the Super Sensitive. The drum had a metal shell, tube lugs, and two separate snare strainers. One stretched across the bottom head, but the other pressed up against the batter head. Ludwig called this device, " the sensitive mechanism." The drum was a success and in 1932 Ludwig even offered an engraved black shell as a buyers option. By 1935 however, the drum was dropped from production.

It wasn't until 1961 that Ludwig reintroduced the beauty you see pictured here. Ludwig called the drum the Super Sensitive 4 in 1. The 4 in 1 designation referred to the 4 sets of snare wires that were offered. These included an 18 strand wire, a 10 strand wire, all gut, and a 6 wire, 4 gut set.The drum has a heavy brass shell and has 10 self aligning Imperial lugs. The dual snare strainers can be controlled by a single lever and the individual snare wires can be adjusted from either side. But the internal "snare mechanism" from the earlier model was dropped.

Ludwig advertised this drum as "having more exclusive features than any other." Indeed, the whole idea here was to offer a drum that could be used in jazz, in classical, and even in rock situations. The drum came in two sizes, 5 x 14 and 6 1/2 x 14. The 5 x 14 listed for 120.00 dollars, the 6 1/2 for 124.00. Ludwig stated that " the drum was supplied in glistening chrome plate only."

As the decade of the 60's wore on, the drum changed somewhat. The brass shell was dropped and replaced with one made of metal. Ludwig called the metal Ludalloy. The snare strainer guards were changed and even more snare wire options were offered. The 1967 Ludwig catalog shows 6 different snare units offered. The 1973 Ludwig catalog shows 8 different snare units available. Each could be quickly changed and each snare wire strand could be adjusted individually. In addition, the drum came supplied with a specially designed "thermolene" plastic head.

To my knowledge, the Super Sensitive wasn't associated with, or endorsed by, any particular drummer. The Ludwig Supraphonic 400 was the drum of choice for most Ludwig players. Nevertheless, the Ludwig Super Sensitive is an excellent playing drum that offers a drummer a whole world of tonal possibilities.

As a brief historical footnote, William F. Ludwig II presented Ringo Starr with a gold plated Super Sensitive Snare Drum during the Beatles fall tour of the US in 1964.

I believe Ringo still has that drum.

1 comment:

  1. hi, i want to buy a supersentive 66 i saw on a pawnshop, do you think it's a lud alloy one? i hope so...