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A "HOLY GRAIL" SNARE DRUM IS LOCATED FOR MIKE CUROTTO

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#1
curotto

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Hello fellow Forumites,
 
Well, one of my “Holy Grail” snare drums was finally located and has entered the Curotto Collection. This is the only one that I have ever seen or heard of. The only reference that I am aware of is on page 4 of the 1934 Slingerland Drum Company catalog. The DUALL “RADIO” MODEL All Metal Drum was offered in a “5 x 14 or 6.5 x 14 shell depth, chromium or nickel plate finish, engraved black metal shell with chromium fittings or engraved black metal shell with Art Gold fittings.”  The drum that I was fortunate to locate is catalog No. 43, "engraved black metal shell with Art Gold fittings". This drum was found on a shelf in a middle school art classroom. The seller’s girlfriend alerted the seller who then made the deal with the school. The seller had originally contacted my good friend and fellow collector Steve Maxwell who then contacted me. Steve was gracious enough to allow me to contact the seller personally and the rest is history. So special thanks goes out to Steve Maxwell, to the seller Steven Gouty, to Mark Cooper (more on Mark later) and to Dave Brown of the UK who was cheering me on all the way through this deal. A final twist to this story is the fact that only three weeks earlier at the 2013 Chicago Vintage Show, Mark Cooper, Dave Brown and I were all wishing out loud how cool it would be if an engraved/Art Gold DUALL showed up at The Chicago Show! 
 
1932-34 SLINGERLAND 5 x 14 ENGRAVED/ART GOLD DUALL “RADIO” MODEL
 
THE SHELL:
So much for the good news...the shell was completely painted in white enamel, white lacquer or white something that took about two hours out of my life to strip. I was able to completely strip all of the white paint off of the shell and after a thorough cleaning and polishing I took the shell to Brian at Avenue Plating for a final lacquer clear coat. There were a few minor dents but nothing that I couldn’t take care of myself. The white paint actually protected the black nickel and the engraving. The shell is the lighter weight brass shell that Slingerland used on their 1928-32 nickel plated Artist Models and Artist Model Black Beauties, probably similar to the 1930s single piece shells that Ludwig & Ludwig used but definitely lighter than the 1919-29 L & L heavier two-piece brass shells.
 
I found a pair of calf heads that sat high enough on the shell so all of us can see the full engraving pattern.   
 
THE HARDWARE:
A lot going on here. The drum was missing 16 tension rods/washers, 16 collar hooks, the extension lever/thumbscrew, some assorted DUALL mechanism parts, the DUALL wires and the Harold Todd tone control. The existing double-flanged rims, 10 tube lugs and DUALL mechanism were pretty rough in that the Art Gold was almost all gone. I had a Todd tone control in my parts stash that I almost sold a few weeks earlier. Enter my good friend and fellow collector Mark Cooper of Cooper’s Vintage Drums. Mark was kind enough (I know I’ll pay for this someday) to sell me an intact Gold Sparkle/Art Gold DUALL Model that I was able to use as a “donor” drum for this important project. In order to make my drum function properly I had to do a little swapping out of the DUALL mechanisms. A few of these parts needed special attention so my machinist/welder Abe Abello of Weld-Tec was able to do the final tweaking and he was able to save the original parts. Abe is worth his weight in gold! The DUALL stamp is located in an unusual place at the bottom of one of the snare guards and the usual “manufacturer’s cartouche” markings on the snare guards are “6” and “66”. The Art Gold hardware from the "donor" drum needed a little cleaning and restoring but everything turned out great and all of the Art Gold hardware still looks age-appropriate.     
 
SOME OBSERVATIONS:
1. The engraving pattern on this DUALL Model is more ornate than the engraving pattern Slingerland used on their earlier Artist Model Black Beauties. This is in contrast to Ludwig & Ludwig’s more sparse 6 + 4 flower engraving pattern that they were using as they were winding down the production of their Black Beauty Models of the same era.
2. It is interesting that Slingerland called this drum the “Radio” Model even before the Broadcaster and Radio King Models were introduced.
3. The DUALL mechanism on this metal drum is different from the wood DUALLs that I own (and have seen) in that there is no internal connecting rod running across the diameter of the shell. The DUALL mechanism simply engages/disengages the wires from the lever side but not as much from the butt side. This has become a mystery for me (and some friends) as we have tried to figure out how the DUALL mechanism on this drum differs (works) from the wood shell DUALL Models. You can clearly see at the butt plate side that there is no upper linkage but only the lower external DUALL mechanism. The hole above the butt side mechanism does not line up with that mechanism so this tells me that it is the factory air hole which is in the exact same place as my nickel plated 10 lug Artist Model of the same era (see photo). What I need here is an example of a DUALL “RADIO” MODEL All Metal Drum so I can physically see what's going on. I am asking anyone out there that has this model to please contact me.  
 
In the meantime, the mystery continues...
 
Enjoy!
 
Mike Curotto
 
 

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#2
curotto

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More....

 

 

Mike Curotto

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#3
JDZ

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Congrats, Mike! Very cool drum.

 

Boy, I'd be sweating bullets removing that paint from the shell! I remember Tony D. showed me a black beauty once, that was painted in a gloss blue enamel. He told me he had a trade offer and I told him he should take it as the black may come off with it. Fortunately, he didn't listen and the drum came out perfect.

 

Dave


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#4
skinsman

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Nice score and really nice resto!


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#5
curotto

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Congrats, Mike! Very cool drum.

 

Boy, I'd be sweating bullets removing that paint from the shell! I remember Tony D. showed me a black beauty once, that was painted in a gloss blue enamel. He told me he had a trade offer and I told him he should take it as the black may come off with it. Fortunately, he didn't listen and the drum came out perfect.

 

Dave

Yep, the L & L and Slingerland black nickel plating is pretty bullet proof...the Leedy Black Elite finish is way more frail...

 

Mike Curotto


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#6
Hop

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WOW! Great story... how did they even know what was sitting up on that shelf under all that paint?

Thanks for sharing the pics too!


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#7
nomsgmusic

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Big Congrats Mike! Now you can feel (again) what some of us mortals feel when we find "that" grail drum. I'll bet it's been a while since you had "that" feeling.

 

Because I think the "soul" of a drum wants to be played, I am pretty "against" the idea of "collecting" or hoarding drums in general (nothing personal.) BUT, I am very glad you are amassing your collection (museum,) documenting, preserving, and curating it as such, as did your wonderful book. You are an asset to the drum community. Thank you! 

 

Thanks as well for the observations on the shell as well, and great work on the restoration (Kudos to Cooper as well!!!) But I have a question, when you are commenting on the lightness of the NOB shell, are you going by feel, actual weight, or a measured thickness?

 

I ask because I have been planning on buying a caliper and measuring the thickness of a couple of NOB shells that I have (a few Ludwigs and a Slingerland) to see if the thickness is the same, or not?

 

My theory has always been that the "weight" associated with the two piece heavy shells comes form the added weight of the overlap and the additional metal on the closed edges (as well as the solder involved.) But I've never tested this theory.

 

Thoughts, opinions?

Congrats, and Thanks again!!!

PLAY THEM in good health!

MSG


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#8
curotto

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WOW! Great story... how did they even know what was sitting up on that shelf under all that paint?

Thanks for sharing the pics too!

The seller probably handled the drum and saw some engraving showing...

 

Mike Curotto


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#9
Michael C

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Holy smokes Mike, what a drum, rarity of rarities! I may have to request a private viewing of this one. Enjoy it!

Michael
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#10
curotto

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Big Congrats Mike! Now you can feel (again) what some of us mortals feel when we find "that" grail drum. I'll bet it's been a while since you had "that" feeling.

 

Because I think the "soul" of a drum wants to be played, I am pretty "against" the idea of "collecting" or hoarding drums in general (nothing personal.) BUT, I am very glad you are amassing your collection (museum,) documenting, preserving, and curating it as such, as did your wonderful book. You are an asset to the drum community. Thank you! 

 

Thanks as well for the observations on the shell as well, and great work on the restoration (Kudos to Cooper as well!!!) But I have a question, when you are commenting on the lightness of the NOB shell, are you going by feel, actual weight, or a measured thickness?

 

I ask because I have been planning on buying a caliper and measuring the thickness of a couple of NOB shells that I have (a few Ludwigs and a Slingerland) to see if the thickness is the same, or not?

 

My theory has always been that the "weight" associated with the two piece heavy shells comes form the added weight of the overlap and the additional metal on the closed edges (as well as the solder involved.) But I've never tested this theory.

 

Thoughts, opinions?

Congrats, and Thanks again!!!

PLAY THEM in good health!

MSG

Thanks for the kind words...no offense taken but I do consider it collecting rather than hoarding...kind of like baseball card collecting e.g. you have all of the '51 Yankees baseball players cards except Yogi Berra's so wouldn't you want to complete that collection by getting YB's card? I like to collect "sets" of snare drums i.e. 4 x 14 6 lug, 8 lug and 10 lug DeLuxes, 5 x 14 6 lug, 8 lug and 10 lug DeLuxes, 6.5 x 14 6 lug, 8 lug and 10 lug DeLuxes, 4 x 15 6 lug, 8 lug and 10 lug DeLuxes, you get the idea...I have close to 560 snare drums so all of them won't get played especially the museum pieces as those are all set up as they would have been 80-100 yrs. ago to wit calf heads, gut/silk wound/James Snappi snares, original hardware etc...and I really don't like the sound of vintage drums as I prefer the sound of modern day drums...I do have about 60 modern day snare drums that get played all of the time.  

 

Mike Curotto


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#11
curotto

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Holy smokes Mike, what a drum, rarity of rarities! I may have to request a private viewing of this one. Enjoy it!

Michael

No problem, you know where I am...

 

Mike Curotto


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#12
SamS

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No words other than WOW! Excellent resto job too.
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#13
TommyWells

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Cool story, too.  Proving that they are still out there. 


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#14
Asher

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Wow! Thanks for sharing the story and the drum with us.


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#15
bcarey13

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another great find....still waiting for book #2.....maybe with this find you can finish it up


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#16
Uunderhill

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Great job of restoring this drum.

 

I would have been worried that citrus strip would have taken

 

some of the original finish off - but it worked out well.

 

 

Now everyone is is going to be checking any drum that's been painted white.

.


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#17
Halldór L

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Wow! Amazing. 

 

I guess it was your destiny to collect these drums Mike. It´s in your name, Curotto = Curator  :occasion5:


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#18
curotto

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Wow! Amazing. 

 

I guess it was your destiny to collect these drums Mike. It´s in your name, Curotto = Curator  :occasion5:

Cool, I like that!

 

Mike Curator Curotto


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#19
Rogersoholic

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Cross that one off the list.. ;) Nice drum, awesome resto


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#20
DanC

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Mike, your expertise, care and luck continue to impress. The drum is indeed a marvel, but the things that had to happen for it to fall into your hands is truly unbelievable. I am amazed that the first person to see it actually knew what it was, and the person he then contacted actually started it on the path to you. Literally a 1-in-a-million set of circumstances...


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