looking for advise to setup 50s Ludwig pipe band Bass and snare for early elementary


New Member
Jun 23, 2022
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Hello All,

I am setting up my Snare and Bass for an Orff Elementary classroom. I've got some pretty killer vintage equipment that I think matches these needs ideally, but I need to set them up. To give a sonic context, in performance they would be paired with quality rosewood xylophones and aluminum metallophones, with about 20 or so 2nd graders singing on a 10 ft ceiling stage overlooking a cafetorium. Understand that this equipment will all be well cared for.

I have a 1950's 26" skinny pipe band mahogany Ludwig Bass Drum. My intention is to go with standard old school White Smooth Ambassador heads on it and a felt strip across each head, struck with a BD1 Vic Firth mallet. I feel fairly confident this will have the presence I am looking for, but thoughts on this setup?

For my snare I've got a few different ideas for setups.

I'm sitting on a single tension wood hoop w/ claws deep marching snare (came with the pipe band bass), and I can also get my hands on a standard metal flange hooped Ludwig pioneer mahogany 6.5 snare on the cheap that matches the bass too.

I could:

1: Set up the deep snare single tension with narrow felt strip under white coated ambassador

2: Set up the Pioneer snare as is with white coated ambassador (has built in felt damper)

3: Take the wood hoops off the deep snare and put them on the Pioneer, reusing the claws.

I am leaning towards option 3 for a few reasons. I love the idea of the matching hoop look of the bass and snare, the thinner snare should be more suitable to the space and being able to set the tension of each head is nice. but I am not sure how much tension I can put on these old style snare hoops without stressing/damaging them. I am a drum dial person. is 75 to high tension to leave these hoops at all the time? Think I could torque it up to 78? 80?

I'll admit, switching to the wood hoops on the Pioneer is an entirely aesthetic decision on my part...but aesthetics matter. Provided it isn't at the expense of usability.


Team DFO
Staff member
Aug 5, 2005
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Hills of Southern Indiana, Nutopia
I love the concept. Very cool on all fronts.
Have you thought about the deep snare serving as a tom? Throw off the snare and it would add a deeper tone to the music.