Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Premier Hi-Fi Snare Drum

Almost every drum manufacturer in the 1960's, except for perhaps the Fibes Drum Company, offered the aspiring drummer a choice in snare drums. Wood and metal shells came in various sizes with, in some cases, different hardware and hoops. The hope was to provide a drum for everyone's taste and budget. Every company pushed it's "flagship" snare drum as THE drum to own and play. Rogers had the Dynasonic. Slingerland sold the Radio King. Ludwig offered the Black Beauty. Premier featured the Royal Ace. And Camco bragged about it's Super 99.

But all of these companies also offered snare drums of more modest means. These snare drums were less costly, but no less effective. Rogers had the Powertone, Slingerland sold the Artist model. Ludwig offered the Jazz Festival. Camco displayed the Orchestra Tuxedo. And Premier "pushed" the drum you see pictured here. Indeed, in the 1966 catalog, it is the first snare drum you see advertised after the display of drum kits.

The Premier Hi-Fi snare drum came in a wood or metal shell, and in the case of the metal drum, came in two sizes, 5 1/2 x 14 and 6 1/2 x 14. The wood shelled model was designated the '31', the metal drum was called the '37'. The drum came with one piece die molded hoops and a conventional snare strainer that closely resembled the Ludwig P83 Ludwig snare strainer of the time. Gut snares could be ordered at no extra charge if so desired.

The chrome plating on these drums was something to behold. Called "Diamond Chrome" by Premier, the catalog stated that "It's the plating you can trust." This was no idle boast. The plating was second to none and it has stood the test of time. Many Ludwig and Slingerland snare drums from these times show serious chrome plating deterioration.

This beauty is wrapped in the very rare Aqua Shimmer wrap. Along with Blue Shimmer and Grey Shimmer, these finishes were exclusive to Premier and no other company offered anything remotely close to it. And, as to its sound? No apologies are needed. It's a fine drum that's in no way hindered by its humble origins.