Monday, September 26, 2011

Rogers Swiv-O-matic Hardware

William Ludwig Jr. spent the later years of his life, proudly celebrating the legacy of his drum company. For a number of years, he made an appearance at the Chicago Vintage Drum Show talking about Ludwig Drums and the company's rich history. One moment in particular sticks in my mind and it's directly related to the topic I'm addressing today.

During his visit to the show, Bill would host a question and answer symposium. At one point, a fellow drummer asked Bill which competing Drum Company, during the 60's heyday, caused him the most concern. Without hesitating, he said that Rogers, "scared the dickens out of him."

The Rogers Drum Company was aggressive in promotion, marketing, and innovation. The picture here is a copy of the 2nd page of the Rogers 1962 catalog. The Rogers Swiv-O-Matic hardware was truly revolutionary for the time. The uni ball idea allowed the drummer to place his hanging toms in almost any imaginable position. In addition, the hardware was tough and durable. In the 50's, the rail consolette, or the Ray McKinley tom holder as Slingerland called it, was the holder of choice. Indeed, Ludwig, Slingerland, and Gretsch all used the rail. It made its first appearance in 1947 and it was solid, but very limited, particularly concerning height and angle. The Swiv-o-Matic tom holder changed the playing field dramatically.

Soon, other companies began to change their hardware. Slingerland adopted the uni ball idea and came up with the Set-O-Matic holder. Fibes used the concept almost exclusively. Even Camco shipped some kits with the Rogers hardware attached. On the other hand, Ludwig and Gretsch continued with the rail, continuously improving it.

In the 70's and 80's, as rock music became louder, drum companies were forced to adapt. Rogers changed to their Memriloc hardware. It was beefier and much, much heavier. Slingerland followed suit with their Magnum hardware. Even Ludwig began selling sets with their Modular series hardware.

But it's the Swiv-O-Matic hardware that caught the fancy of drummers so many years ago, even drummers who didn't play Rogers Drums. The link below shows Keith Moon with his Pictures of Lily Premier kit and the Rogers Swiv-O-Matic hardware.

And here's the great Buddy Rich.

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