1966 Rogers Holiday: Love it or leave it?

doomtown

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Apologies if I'm posting this thread in the wrong place. I've been lurking for ages and just signed up for an account today to ask the burning question in the subject line. DFO folx, help decide my life!

In 1998, I bought a used 1966 Rogers Holiday 20/16/12/12 and Powertone 14" snare from my buddy in one of the great midwest emo bands. I was tired of playing borrowed/frankenstein kits and my band at the time was about to leave on tour. Cut to 22 years later, it's still the one and only true kit I've ever owned, it's been with me in 10+ bands, schlepped on half a dozen tours, recorded on about as many albums and various singles and cassette releases, stolen once or twice, involved in at least one car accident, lived in 5 states, and played by plenty of drummers much better than me along the way.

Here's the kit in my current practice space (Nord Electro 4D not pictured, but that's what the Vox is for):

jdt-rogers-mozzapi.jpg


jdt-rogers-louismill.jpg


The kit was not perfect when I bought it. The bottom hoops on the toms and the reso head/hoop on the kick had all been removed. There was pitted chrome, cracks in the hoop lug openings, busted collets, misthreaded lugs, broken springs in the Rogers hi-hat stand. One of the re-rings in the snare started separating, leading to a wicked buzzing sound, which I've filled with cotton balls but never truly fixed. Someone had removed the Rogers tom mount hardware and added Slingerland spade-style mounts, then simply covered the holes on the kick and toms with big black vinyl stickers:

jdt-rogers-volks.jpg

(touring to SXSW in a VW bus in 2000, couldn't bring the cases because they took up too much space)

I'm not a gear head by any stretch of the imagination. It never occurred to me that I should try to rehab the kit to factory condition. I just wanted to play, and it was a versatile kit for the range of post-punk to art rock to americana bands I've been in over the years. People have offered cash for the kit at a few points and I always said no because I didn't want to deal with replacing it. I had the impression it could be worth upwards of $2,500 if the condition was right, but I've never had it appraised.

This morning, I was browsing CL and saw this Leedy kit. The guy lives 2 miles away so I drove over to check it out. Kit looks great. He said it just got a refurb and rewrap from Precision (in blue marine pearl, not WMP as stated in the ad), so I guess it's not technically 100% factory, but it's beautiful inside and out. $1,500 doesn't seem like a steal, but I could probably swing it -- if I got rid of the Rogers.

I know Rogers WMP kits are considered rare, but it sounds like SlingerLeedy has its fans as well. Ultimately, I don't consider collectibility my #1 criterion. The Rogers sounds fine, hard to tune (always sounds too high) and annoying to break down because you have to use a drum key for everything, but it's the only kit I've ever owned. Most drummers on DFO seem to spend years test driving kits until they find the one(s) they love. I've played the same kit for 22 years and never tried anything else, and I can't afford more than one kit (both in terms of money and space).

So, denizens of DFO, what would you do?

Should I stick with the Rogers Holiday? Should I take a leap of faith and buy the Leedy [or Gretsch, Ludwig, Slingerland, insert name here] and try to sell the Rogers as-is? Whether or not I sell the Rogers, should I try to fix it up or just leave it as-is? If I wanted to fix it up, would you say it's a DIY project for a relative newcomer (I'm a decent handyman as a homeowner, but no craftsman) or is outsourcing it to someplace like Precision a decent option?
 

doomtown

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Couple more photos:
drew peabody.jpg

Recording in a recital hall at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore in 2002

jdt-rogers-tracking.jpg

Tracking at home in 2009

jdt-rogers-blackcat01.jpg

Playing at the Black Cat in Washington, DC in 2011
 

Tama CW

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A 1966 Rogers is probably on the "to die for list" of many drummers. They don't get much better than that for vintage sound. Value-wise with kick and tom being altered, snare with some ply issues, maybe in the $800-$1000 range. A great sounding kit can make up for "some" of the cosmetic issues. Without any modifications, all original Rogers parts maybe that would be a $1500-$2000 kit. But it's not what you have. And no amount of fixing it up will get you there. Don't do anything further to it other than to clean it up with soap and water / dawn / windex. Sounds like you are at the end of your rope here with the Rogers....but don't expect that the next kit will make you any happier once you'd have 6 months to acclimate to it.

The Leedy kit may have similar issues that your kit has....trading one set of problems for yet another. How many extra holes were in that Leedy kit before it was plugged and re-wrapped? Rogers have a strong vintage following, especially the swivo-matic kits made from 1963-1967. Leedy-Slingerland following is probably far less in demand - not that they can't be worth a lot of money. I like that Leedy kit. Nice sizes and probably worth in the range of the asking price. With the re-wrap and possible bearing edge "adjustments" it's no longer a high end collectible kit....just a nice player....and may not even sound like a vintage Leedy any more. And worth considerably less than an unaltered orig kit in very good condition.
 

Rich K.

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Yes to the above. White marine is a favorite of many drummers, but not by any means "rare."
With the extra holes and wear and tear on your set, it would not be worth a ton, and will not be easy to sell.
A recovered Slingerland era Leedy is not a $1500 set.
If it were me, I'd keep the Rogers and do a major cleanup. If you don't feel like it or have the time, most areas have a vintage drum geek that would do it for a relatively small fee.
Since it has extra holes already, I don't think it would be bad to send it to a place like Precision to have it spruced up and refinished, but that would be costly.

You could also just keep it and look for a second set. There are a ton of nice sets out there for under a grand.
 

el_37

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22 years is to much history- don’t ever sell. You will regret it. Keep it and scrounge the cash for another set.

Can’t think of one person who sold off their original serious instrument who did not regret it.
 

JDZ

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Yes to the above. White marine is a favorite of many drummers, but not by any means "rare."
With the extra holes and wear and tear on your set, it would not be worth a ton, and will not be easy to sell.
A recovered Slingerland era Leedy is not a $1500 set.
If it were me, I'd keep the Rogers and do a major cleanup. If you don't feel like it or have the time, most areas have a vintage drum geek that would do it for a relatively small fee.
Since it has extra holes already, I don't think it would be bad to send it to a place like Precision to have it spruced up and refinished, but that would be costly.

You could also just keep it and look for a second set. There are a ton of nice sets out there for under a grand.
I agree, Rich.
If it comes down to which set sounds better, I'd keep the Rogers.
Dave
 

Topsy Turvy

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I’m not one who considers his first set of drums to be precious, although I do understand those who do. To me, I want something that is going to inspire and work for me.

I would pass on the Leedy kit. What you have is potentially better, in terms of sound, durability, etc.. However, it seems like you are saying that this kit isn’t inspiring you in the way you want it to. So...I have a different take.

What about spending some money and getting your current kit spruced up? You could send it to Precision Drum and have new wrap put on, the extra holes plugged, the edges recut so they are back to original specs, etc.. It would feel and look like a new kit, which could really inspire you.

I have a 1967 Rogers kit that I purchased last November. It isn’t perfect, but it sounds fantastic. And this is coming from a long time vintage Ludwig guy.
 

doomtown

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Thanks, gang. You have no idea how much it helps to read these takes. There's a lot of personal history in this kit, and it's definitely a huge risk to part ways in favor of an unknown quantity in the Leedy.

I'm reminded of when I sold my 1969 Volvo 145 in a fit of pique because I couldn't get a few of the parts I needed to make it whole. Looking back on it now, given that it's impossible to even find a 69 body to work on, I'm feeling encouraged to stick with the Rogers and apply some of my hard-learned maintenance skills to the task of cleaning it up, as Topsy Turvy points out. There's a lot of stuff I didn't bother to do when I was a young buck, but perhaps there's a second life in this kit now that I've got the luxury of time and nostalgia on my side.
 

deegeebee

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What about spending some money and getting your current kit spruced up? You could send it to Precision Drum and have new wrap put on, the extra holes plugged, the edges recut so they are back to original specs, etc.. It would feel and look like a new kit, which could really inspire you.
Sage advice.

Great kit and great stories, thanks for sharing. No way you will not regret parting with it, for nostalgia alone. But sounds like you are starting to itch for something new. I would seriously look into a full precision refit. Would leave you with a kit in perfect working and sounding order, without any of the foibles that are wearing on you, but with all the memories and stories that are more valueable to you than the kit will ever be.
 

airborneSFC

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Keep the Rogers and maybe have it sorted by Precision or similar. If you want something new there are loads of kits on Reverb or similar.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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Imo, keep the Rogers, its your history. Give it some love. Have Precision fix the ply separation issue, and have them check the edges, you mentioned tuning issues. As far as re-wrapping, plugging extra holes, that's up to you...if it were me, I'd leave that, its part of its history.
 

kallen49

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Imo, keep the Rogers, its your history. Give it some love. Have Precision fix the ply separation issue, and have them check the edges, you mentioned tuning issues. As far as re-wrapping, plugging extra holes, that's up to you...if it were me, I'd leave that, its part of its history.
Yes keep the Rogers. (I’ve owned about 15 different kits since 1974 for sure some I regret selling)

Have you ever played a “modern” kit? Search this forum for “Yamaha Stage Custom Birch”.
Many recent threads about how good they are for not much money. (used 4 piece less than $500?)
 

retrosonic

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Doomtown: Why not take all the hardware off, take the stickers off, and give the WMP wrap a good, deep cleaning with Dawn, then polish like a madman with Novus. You might surprised how good that wrap can look if you have never deep cleaned and polished it. Then re-install an original Rogers tom mount on the bass drum and tom tom, and fill the Slingy holes with chrome bolts.
(tip...Home Depot has cheap shiny steel bolts that almost look chrome for like .39 cents each) ) Replace any broken Rogers hardware...there is plenty available. Polish all that great Rogers hardware with metal polish.
You can make it close to when it came out of the factory in 1966. I think this wonderful set deserves it!!
 
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KevinD

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I am of the "Keep the Rogers" mindset. I have a 1968 Holiday and they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

I'm sure the Leedy is a great set with its own cool vibe, but you've had this one for a long time, and as was pointed out above, chances are that Leedy kit will come with some issues of its own.

If you want to restore the rogers, with all original parts it can get pricey, but if you are not hung up on keeping it vintage, the new Rogers distributor is selling some repro parts that cost less (best to check the Rogers owners fb page on that, there are some folks that are way up on the compatibility of the new parts). Additionally, there are a few people that I've seen on fb that fabricate repro parts, or in some cases mods to the original designs, again, cheaper than what you would pay for original Rogers parts.

As far as the "hard to tune" issue... for recording, I have had great luck with Emps on the batters, and ambassadors on the bottom (both coated). It provides some low end throatiness to the sound without killing the tone.
On a gig I once played a 60s Rogers set with clear black dots... also sounded really good, lots of punch.

If you have the resources I would get the Rogers restored (or at least fixed up ) and keep it in reserve for recording. (I've done sessions in a lot of places that use those as the house kit-for good reason) and then ( as suggested above) go out and get a decent Yamaha, Tama, Pearl etc set for touring. There are a bunch out there these days
 

bongomania

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While I agree with the advice to get the Rogers refurbished and keep it, another thought crossed my mind. IF you get fed up with trying to fix it, or if several pieces break, or if the costs look like they’ll be too high... you could give it a “viking funeral”. Set it on fire, and use the burning drumset in a video for your band.
 

Big Beat

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Keep the Rogers, spend a few hundred bucks on cleaning it up and taking care of its problems, and be happy. It sounds to me that most of the issues your set has can be easily taken care of by any qualified drum repairman. I have personally done similar work on several 1960s Rogers sets and can practically visualize that loose re-ring with cotton balls behind it and exactly which clamps I would be using on it, and exactly where to get replacements for cracked collets (Bobby Chaisson's Drum Farm or Al Drew's Music come to mind for sourcing Rogers parts). Don't give up a set you love just because you're momentarily tempted by another. You have a winner there that's worth investing into.
 

retrosonic

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While I agree with the advice to get the Rogers refurbished and keep it, another thought crossed my mind. IF you get fed up with trying to fix it, or if several pieces break, or if the costs look like they’ll be too high... you could give it a “viking funeral”. Set it on fire, and use the burning drumset in a video for your band.



The thought of that really makes me ill. We need to Preserve these kinds of sets for future generations. Why would you think that is a good idea?
 
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owr

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My version of your story is a Noble & Cooley kit I grabbed used for a steal 20 years ago. I have many other kits (different from your situation), but will never sell this one. It's actually held me back from buying a new N&c kit to my specs since I cant justify owning both, not sure how healthy that is, but its my deal I guess.

Only thing I can add that may be of value is to join a bunch of the vintage drum groups on Facebook if you're there, Rogers, Ludwig etc. There are guys on there who do amazing restorations beyond what I thought was possible, it's inspiring and honestly the best part of FB for me these days. Once you see a few of these you'll understand whats possible with a kit like yours.

I also picked up a 60s Rogers kit some years back, there is something special and unique about them.
 

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