Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Ludwig Piccolo Snare Drum

The Ludwig Drum Company, perhaps more than any of their competitors during the 60's and 70's,did its best to align its drums with the growing youth market. Truth be told, Ludwig had a head start in the marketplace because of its association with Ringo Starr and other drummers from the British invasion. But many American drummers also played the brand. The great Hal Blaine, who played on hundreds of hit records, played and endorsed Ludwig Drums.

The Supraphonic 400 was Ludwig's top selling snare drum. It was offered as standard on many kits at the time. The jazz great, Joe Morello, played the drum. But Ludwig executives continued to dream up other snare drum offerings. After all, the "Now Generation", also known as "Boomers" in later years, were huge in number and they had money to spend. Which brings us to the drum you see pictured here.

The Ludwig Piccolo Snare Drum was sold from 1970 to 1991. This 3 x 13 drum was the metal version of the Jazz combo snare drum. The copy from an early 70's Ludwig catalog describes the drum as follows. "Presenting the PICCOLO snare drum, a new solo soprano percussion voice ideal for today's intricate rhythmic patterns. The all metal shell produces the crisp sound demanded by so many of today's top recording artists."

In this case, the catalog description wasn't simply ad verbiage. This little beauty does produce a very distinctive " crack'. Because of it's size, there's not a lot of heft to the sound, and it's not for everybody. The idea was to offer it as the primary snare in a bop setting. It's best use is perhaps as a secondary snare voice in an expanded kit. Nevertheless, you can't help but notice it when you play it. The drum really sings.

In addition to offering the Piccolo as a stand alone item, Ludwig presented it as part of their Modern Snare Quartet. This package included 4 snare drums that would commonly be used in a concert setting. Along with the Piccolo, the prospective buyer could purchase a 12 x 15 Super Sensitive, a 6 1/2 x 14 Super Sensitive, and a 5 x 14 Super Sensitive Snare drum. All the drums had metal shells and concert stands were included.

To read more about the Ludwig Drum Company and Joe Morello kindly click on the following links.

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