Brass vs Bronze

buddman1955

Very well Known Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
1,170
Reaction score
47
Location
South Jersey
A friend of mine just purchased a 6 1/2 x 14 Ludwig snare. Date inside is 592. He thinks it is a bronze snare, however, I disagree because I located
a "B" stamp above the muffler knob. This tells me it is a brass snare. Can some of you vintage guys chime in and give me an answer? How do
you tell the difference between bronze and brass?

The company tells us the drums have different tonal qualitites, but how do you know for sure unless you have both snares side by side to compare?
 

mlayton

Night Creature
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
31,337
Reaction score
1,187
i was thinking the bronze models had a bz where the b was. i cannot verify that though. if its got a b there though, i also would think its a brass model.

mike

edit-well, that may not be right. just found this.....

http://www.drumforum.org/index.php?/topic/11776-ludwig-bronzebrass-identification/
 

atomicdave

DFO Master
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
5,823
Reaction score
173
Location
Delphi, Indiana
the 592 prob does indicate 1992...a Monroe badge? I dont think the brass shells were introduced till just recently (100 aniv badged ones i believe, not postive). I would guess the drum your friend has aquired is bronze...the color of the shell is darker on a bronze.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
22,079
Reaction score
5,767
Location
Illinois
Is it a natural finish or a Black Beauty? If it's a BB then it's probably brass...if it's a natural colored shell then it's probably bronze, if it's chromed then i don't know.

I don't recall Ludwig doing any natural colored brass snares since the late 50's. The early re-issue black beauties were brass and then that was changed to bronze (and later back to brass) but of course those all had the black nickel plating. As I recall the whole point of the natural finished drums that came out in the early 80's was that they were made of bronze...so a brass one wouldn't really fall in line with that. Of course Ludwig has reintroduced brass shells since then but I don't remember there being any in a natural brass finish.

Of course it is Ludwig so you never know. There was an interview with WFL II at around the time they switched the BB to the bronze shell where he said that brass and bronze were basically the same thing so don't worry about it. :wink:
 

plemon1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
Messages
209
Reaction score
1
Location
Kansas City
Is it a natural finish or a Black Beauty? If it's a BB then it's probably brass...if it's a natural colored shell then it's probably bronze, if it's chromed then i don't know.

I don't recall Ludwig doing any natural colored brass snares since the late 50's. The early re-issue black beauties were brass and then that was changed to bronze (and later back to brass) but of course those all had the black nickel plating. As I recall the whole point of the natural finished drums that came out in the early 80's was that they were made of bronze...so a brass one wouldn't really fall in line with that. Of course Ludwig has reintroduced brass shells since then but I don't remember there being any in a natural brass finish.

Of course it is Ludwig so you never know. There was an interview with WFL II at around the time they switched the BB to the bronze shell where he said that brass and bronze were basically the same thing so don't worry about it. :wink:

I had a late 80's hand-hammered bronze snare (late Chicago large keystone badge) and it was stamped B on the inside, and a buddy at the time had a killer mid-70s Black Beauty that was stamped BB. I wished I would have done a side-by-side comparison with those snares, but at the time I did not worry about it.
 

Hop

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 11, 2012
Messages
3,044
Reaction score
1,649
Location
L.A., CA
There are a couple of thousand different formulas in the copper alloy family with over 300 hundred "brass" and over 300 "bronze" alloy formulas. Trying to figure the alloy composition out for a line of snares with as long as a production run as the BB has had is virtually impossible! With economics as a main driving factor you can sure bet that there is a fair amount of variety in Ludwig "brass." I have two modern BB's and they are from different alloy formulas.

Additionally, I have a late 70's/early 80's BB (L417) and a mid-80's hammered bronze (L552KY), which I was curious about the alloy composition. I took them to work and did a PMI test on them and found out exactly what alloy they were made of. I was surprised how different the 417 dwas to most commercial brass, and is actually closer to what is called German silver or Alpaca. Yes, under the black coating my shell is silver in appearance in contrast with the yellow / gold color (or traditional brass) of my LB2009BT. The L552 is consistent with what can be called "commercial" bronze which is in the 90%/10% Cu /Zn* alloy neighborhood.


* as a very rough generalization Bz = Cu + Sn | Br = Cu + Zn .... so that makes the Ludwig "bronze" closer to the brass family

See the attached pictures for the "B" stamp - that is upside down (although this isn't uncommon either)

View attachment 132965

View attachment 132966

View attachment 132967


EDIT.... Oh yea.....
How do you tell the difference between bronze and brass?
The simple way is the slight color variation. Bronze will be more red in hue (higher copper content in Bz),
and brass more yellow (due to the alloying agents).
 

troutstudio

Idealist
Joined
Oct 10, 2007
Messages
4,200
Reaction score
526
Location
South of the border
This is my early 80's 14 x 6 1/2 - I think it's a 552 #2060089. It has only a "B" stamped on it and it's bronze. As these drums get older, they develop green oxidization inside the bearing edge from the copper content.

I have been offered $800 for this drum. I would sell a kidney first. I have other metal snare drums that are very special, but this is the desert island metal shell for me. :notworthy:

file-183.jpg
 

buddman1955

Very well Known Member
Joined
May 19, 2008
Messages
1,170
Reaction score
47
Location
South Jersey
Troutstudio, my friends drum looks exactly like yours, but with a Monroe Keystone badge. Beautiful sounding drum. I'm trying to work a trade with him.

The snare gates on the bottom rim are open. Appears factory.
 


Top