Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Rogers Century Snare Drum

Like all the Drum Companies in the 60's, the Rogers Drum Company offered a variety of snare drums for every taste and budget. The Powertone snare drum was clearly the mainstream choice.(See Blog Aug.10th). But in an effort to increase sales to the concert drummer, Rogers offered up the drum you see pictured here.

The Rogers Century Snare drum was the largest snare drum that ever graced a Rogers catalog. This beauty was 8 inches deep with a 15 inch diameter head. The early 60's catalog describes this drum as a "Perma-Built" snare drum. This was simply a slogan that Rogers used in its catalogs to indicate the strength of its shells. Indeed, the 1956 catalog showed a photo of 5 employees balancing themselves on a Rogers parade drum shell.

The drum came with triple flange hoops, the standard swivomatic snare strainer, the maple/poplar shell with Maple reinforcing rings, 16 self aligning lugs, and 20 strand snappy snares. The drum listed for 95.00 dollars in the mahogany or lacquered version, 105.00 dollars in the Pearl version. For an extra 2.00 dollars, one could opt for gut snares.

The Rogers Century was designed to be played in a concert band or an orchestral setting. It's large size allowed it to be heard in an environment where it had to compete with 100 other musicians playing large scale symphonic pieces. As one can imagine, it's a loud drum, but not particularly sensitive. Sensitivity was up to the player. The cost of the drum put it right in the middle range of Rogers Snare drums. The Rogers Dynasonic was the price leader at a suggested list of 150.00. Today, that doesn't seem like a lot of money, but in 1962 that wasn't peanuts.

As far as I can tell, the Rogers Century was never associated with any particular player or orchestra. I never seen one used in a commercial band. It would seem to be perfect for a loud rock or metal band. I suspect that the issue is one of availability. Also, I don't imagine many have survived over the years. It's not a very collectible drum and I've never seen one at the many vintage drum shows I've attended over the years. I picked this sweetheart up for a song at a drum store in Toronto Canada many years ago.

This drum's time has come and gone. Nevertheless, the Rogers Century Snare Drum still occupies a place in drum history.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Rogers Wood Powertone Snare Drum

Every Drum Company in the 60's had its "workhorse" snare drum. It was usually a drum that was competitively priced and one that was offered as standard equipment on the majority of drum kits one could purchase from a specific company. For the Ludwig Drum Company, that drum was the Ludwig Supraphonic 400 ( See blog dated Jan. 5th). In the case of Slingerland, both the Radio King ( See blog dated Feb 27th.) and the Gene Krupa Sound King ( See blog dated June 29th) shared the limelight. And in the case of the Rogers Drum Company, it was the drum you see pictured here--- the Rogers Powertone Snare Drum.

Both the wood shell model and the metal shell model were featured in Rogers catalogs. Indeed, in the 67-68 catalog, the wood shell Powertone is standard on the Headliner kit, the Cozy Cole Constellation kit, and the Dave Clark Londoner kit. The metal shell is standard on the Rogers Timbale-Twin double bass outfit. The Rogers Dynasonic is also featured, but that's a story for another time.

The wood shell model came in two sizes, 5 x 14 and 6 1/2 x 14. The finish choices were either pearl, lacquer, or mahogany. The drum came with 8 Self aligning lugs and 20 strand wire snappy snares. The pictured Beauty is wrapped in the Black Onyx Pearl wrap. This Pearl finish was only available for few years in the 1960's. In addition to Black, Blue Onyx and Red Onyx were also offered. These wraps were exclusive to Rogers and only Slingerland sold anything that was remotely similar. Indeed, the Slingerland Blue Agate pearl wrap does resemble the Rogers Blue Onyx in a side by side comparison.

The shell was a composite of maple and poplar. Early models were 3 ply, but later models were 5 ply. Both had maple reinforcing rings. Originally, the interiors were sprayed with a flat gray sealant. Later models show a light gray speckled treatment.

This drum has skyrocketed in value over the last ten years. But the metal shell model has not kept pace. In any case, the Powertone is extremely versatile and over the years more and more drummers are discovering what a fine snare drum it is.