Monday, August 11, 2014

The Super Ludwig Black Beauty Snare Drum

Perhaps the title to this latest entry in my blog is incorrect. There is quite a bit of disagreement about what constitutes a  Black Beauty Snare Drum. Some feel that only those snare drums that were made with engraved brass shells between 1923 and 1925 can be called a Black Beauty.  Interestingly enough, the Ludwig catalog of the time refers to these drums as the Deluxe model. Others feel that any engraved brass shell snare drum that was made between 1923 and 1934 is a Black Beauty. And it wasn't until  1932 that Ludwig started referring to the engraved models as Black Beauties. To further complicate matters, Ludwig, for a short time, produced a gold plated engraved model which they called the Triumphal.

All of which brings us to the stunningly beautiful snare drum you see pictured here.  It looks like the Super Ludwig model that is offered in Ludwig catalogs from the early 30's. But this drum has an engraved shell with the correct "six leaf and four pedal" floral pattern found on the Black Beauty.  I don't believe that the Super Ludwig model had any engraving on it at all. On the other hand,  a black nickel plated shell is usually associated with the Black Beauty. This drum has a chrome over brass shell. Ludwig did offer a black chrome option, so perhaps this is it.

In any case, the condition of this drum is astounding. Everything, and I mean everything, on this Beauty is original and in working order. She has calf skin heads. There are no dents, holes, or scratches on the shell. The engraving is pristine. All the snare wires  work properly. And the original drum key came attached. I recently displayed the drum at the Chicago Drum Show and several collectors literally stopped dead in their tracks when they saw her.

And how did I acquire her? A musician friend told me about an old snare drum that had been sitting in a closet not 10 miles from my house. The drum had been sitting there untouched for 30 years----- until I showed up at the doorstep.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to own her. My poor photography doesn't do her justice. She's beautiful.