Help me ID Grateful Dead snare drum

JazzDrumGuy

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So I am jammin' some vintage Dead and came across a video for Venata, OR, on 8/27/72. I love the Dead and can't get enough, especially 60's - early 70's dead. Just saw Dead & Co. a few weeks ago back-to-back and my spirit is still energized!

Anyway, the Europe '72 album (spring '72) has an amazing drum sound and a killer fat snare sound. I've understood it was a 5x14 Supra (unsure if COA or COB). However, in this video from Aug. '72, I see a Rogers kit in their version of butcher block(?) and what looks like a 12/13/16/22. I didn't even know Billy ever played Rogers!

However, what really got my attention was his snare - it appears to be a rare brass lacquered Super (or Supra?).....can anyone confirm what it is? Looks like it has imperial lugs and a bronze-y tint to it.....thank you! PS: What is that Rogers kit? PPS: Great show, btw.


Bill1.jpg
Bill3.jpg
 

tdcrjeff

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There's a great book called "Grateful Dead Gear" that goes into all sort of details about guitars, amps, PA equipment, recording equipment, keyboards, and... basically zero info about drums. Hey, drums are equipment too, aren't they? Billy and Mickey played Ludwig and Rogers (and Slingerland?) in the early days, then pretty much only Sonor in the late 70s through the 90s, I think.

Can't help with your question, not sure what that snare is.

On Europe '72, there used to be some great vids that Beat Club uploaded themselves but they seem to be gone. There is at least this:

 

tdcrjeff

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Drums of ’72

It’s surprisingly difficult to find definitive information about the gear Bill Kreutzmann used at specific shows on the 1972 Europen tour. Judging from grainy photos and YouTube videos of the shows, internet forums, and a healthy amount of squinting, it looks like a Franken-kit. The footage from the performance on Germany’s Beat-Club TV program on April 21,1972—during which most of the band was tripping—has great production, though it’s not clear enough to see detailed badges or lugs. It looks like he’s using a Ludwig kick drum (14×22), Gretsch toms (8×12 and 9×13, and a 16×16 floor), and a Rogers Dynasonic snare. Some have said that he used a five-piece Sonor rosewood kit on the tour; that’s not what it looks like in most footage, but it’s hard to say for sure. “Cymbal Set-Ups of Famous Drummers,” a promo guide printed by Zildjian, likely in the mid-’70s, lists Kreutzmann’s cymbals as Avedis Zildjians: 14″ Rock hi-hats, 18″ crash on the left side, 21″ Rock in the ride position, and 16″ crash/ride on the right. (Though in Europe ’72 footage, that right crash/ride looks more like an 18″ or 20″.) Crispy is the first word that comes to mind to describe the overall drum sound. The toms are powerful but melodic, since Kreutzmann tuned them more like a jazz drummer might. And his ride cymbal has a crystalline articulation that calls to mind K Constantinoples.
 

drumtimejohn

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Well, I have the same exact Butcher Block set and now I just need the 401 (if that’s what it is). It’s probably a Supra under glare. I’m definitely using the GD ‘72 bit to market the set if/when I choose to sell it.
 
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RIDDIM

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He had a 5x14 Dynasonic when I saw them in 1972. It sounds like he used that drum from the recording of American Beauty through Europe '72, if not longer. I hear a certain crispness and snap associated with that drum; you can hear it on Cold Blood recordings of the time as well.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Well, I "liked" each of your replies - thanks to all! I've heard he had a Dynasonic and I thought he had Sonor rosewoods but I too have seen many pics with mish mash setups. That snare sure looks like a golden Supra (ie: lacquered 401) to me.

For the latest tour and last year and I think Fare Thee Well, Billy has rosewood Sonors with black hardware/die casts - 3 up, 1 down, and I think a 22". Plenty of recent videos to figure that kit out, but not much from the "good old days".

As for that '67 BOP kit, some guy on eBay was selling it (supposedly!) a few years back and wanted only $1200 or so, but he could not prove any provenance other than it was his dad's kit, he knew Bill or was neighbors or some sort of roadie, etc., and I think even had that same picture as one of the photos - he was a bit squirrely and it didn't add up, either, so I passed.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Of course, digging around the WWW, I found this:

More video from 8/27/72:

Sonor 1975 kit:

Europe '72 LP insert has pics of a dark Slingy snare? I don't have that LP - anyone?
 

fishaa

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My good friend owns Billy’s Recording Custom kit. Might be up for sale soon, actually.
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Tanabata

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I always thought that was some sort of bronze or brass supra at Veneta. He gets his great pop and crack on all his snare drums in the early days of the Dead, and yes, often a chrome Dynasonic. The Rogers concert tom kit in the Dead movie sounds great, and it's some kind of 6.5x14 Ludwig snare drum.

That Veneta concert, and the entire Europe '72 tour are blessed with a great drum sound, so, there's that too. And Billy just has a great touch. As someone mentioned, that early sound is very "jazz", and Billy was deep into Elvin.

The Europe '72 kit sounds so amazing, and probably mostly was the Gretsch toms with the Ludwig bd. You can hear them quick change a bass drum on at least one concert.. so, who knows what they carried and had tuned up and ready to go.

1976... it's a Ludwig kit. I think the rosewood Phonic kits (Bill & Mick) came in in 1977 and stayed onstage for over a decade. Billy often had a Tama Kingbeat snare then (steel shell), sort of like a super sensitive. On "acoustic" sets, they used an 18" phonic bd, which you can see in the Radio City 1980 videos.

With the Yamaha kit, I think he used a black Noble&Cooley snare....... and has been Horizons for the whole run with Dead&Co, I think.

My good friend owns Billy’s Recording Custom kit. Might be up for sale soon, actually.
View attachment 401049
Would love to score that kit, any kit Billy played.
 

Kcmcc

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I thought Billy was playing Noble & Cooley these days? Has he gone back to Sonor?
 

Frank Godiva

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The matching Sonor rosewood inside out gold label phonics showed up in 1975. The story is documented in the gear book. Jerry got a bop Roseweod kit from a shop in Marin. Billy saw em and ordered the bigger kits.
 
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jptrickster

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in '72 he played both the Supra and the Dyna sonic. The fat sounding is the Supra , the tight and crisp the Dyna. One of the Great rock drummers for sure.
 

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