Ludwig Pioneer tuning range

cochlea

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I've put new heads on, and have been playing around with the Pioneer snare that came with my vintage Ludwig Super Classic kit. This is my first 6 lug snare and I am pleasantly surprised by how good it sounds in the low to mid tuning range. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised because it's the same shell as the Jazz Festival from that era. The Pioneer, however, doesn't seem to tune up very high. I'm assuming this is a factor of having only 6 lugs. Again, this is my first 6 lug snare so I was wondering what I should (or shouldn't) be expecting? I'd appreciate input from those who have experience with 6-lug vintage snares.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I have bunch of vintage 6 lugger snare drums including a Pioneer, they're usually wonderfully woody & full-bodied drums in the low to medium range, and while they can be tensioned higher, that doesn't seem to be where they're awfully happy, tonewise, as they can start to sound thin if tuned too high, from my experience.
 

cochlea

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I've come across similar comments online stating that it's ideal performance is in the low to mid range, with plenty of body. Perhaps I'll need to switch it out when I need something higher in pitch with a prominent crack.
 

JDA

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Think the ideal tension is in the low and mid range; but as far as, giving it good thrashing; you know rim shots at 80lbs. May be surprised at how ..cool it/they/ sound.
I know I've taken and take my 6.5 6 lug Wiffle (WFL) up into the 'max' volume zone and it sounds like nothing else short of a Stave drum. Very impressive.
The 5" 6 lug (I have one of those too 1962 wood duco Ludwig) I haven't (had the chance) to knock it real hard so don't know)
It's partly the nickle/brass hoop shape (top of hoop to head surface) that just 'begs for it ; )

So I think an 'ideal' performance is very possible.
even in the mid/mid lower/ tune..
has plenty of (sweet sweet 6.5) crack..
the softer, tension is just an added 'comfort thing..
It's comfortable.
 
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Trilock_Gurtu

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I have a bunch of 6 lug snares; MIA, MIE and MIJ. Love them, generally underrated, imo.

One trick. If you want to do a higher tuning, and get more 'crack' from the drum, throw on a pair of die cast hoops. I have a few 60's John Grey 6 lug snares (one COB, and one Birch), they both came with JG die cast hoops. They really help make the drums pop in the higher tuning range.

Enjoy!
 

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Peterk256

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I put an S-Hoop on my 1964/65(?) Pioneer and it now plays like an 8-lug Jazz Festival. It now has plenty of crack and a wide tuning range. It took the hollowness out of the sound. The S-Hoop is stiffer than a regular triple flange hoop. The original hoop was 1.6mm NOB so swapping it for a 2.6mm S-Hoop achieved what I was looking for. Kind of like going from a triple flange to a diecast. Purists will scowl at the idea but I think it is a great inexpensive hack. Try it, you will thank me.
 

cochlea

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I hadn't considered swapping out the triple flange hoops for die-cast or S-hoops. Thanks for the tip!
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I am not a fan of 6 luggers - that is, until I got a Pioneer. I have 2 of them now - both sound great in the mid range. Nice and vintage woody sound. I prefer over Gretsch Dixielands (#2) and Slingy 6 luggers (#3). I normally don't crank them because I can't get a good sound and also, as vintage drums, I don't want to break anything. You could try die casts (like Gretsch) but I don't think it will matter. I think they give more of a muted wood sound whereas Pioneers (both of mine have NOB triple flange hoops) have a more open snare-y sound. The Slingy I had came with original COB S-hoops - didn't really make a difference either in tightening. That shell, though, was a little cracked inside so in the back of my mind, I never wanted to crank it up anyway, but I could never get it sounding like anything other than a cardboard box. Since I have 2 L's and 3 G's, I probably won't pick up another Slingy 6 lugger anytime soon......as much as I love their snares and have numerous 8 luggers....
 

cochlea

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I've been apprehensive about cranking them up, as well, for fear that I might damage something. Pioneers are certainly open and woody. Perhaps I was expecting too much, like when someone here asks how they can get their 18" bass drum to sound like a 22." Maybe I'll have to look into supplementing my kit with something that is more suited for the higher tuning range.
 

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I have one thats good for mid range as well, doesnt want to be cranked up at all.
 

Peterk256

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I hadn't considered swapping out the triple flange hoops for die-cast or S-hoops. Thanks for the tip!
I originally was on the prowl for a diecast hoop but finding a 6 hole version was impossible. I then remembered the S-Hoop concept and found them on eBay, sold by Salt City Drums for about 18 bucks.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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I originally was on the prowl for a diecast hoop but finding a 6 hole version was impossible. I then remembered the S-Hoop concept and found them on eBay, sold by Salt City Drums for about 18 bucks.
This is true. They're hard to find. I'm lucky to have two sets. I've thrown my John Grey die cast hoops on my other 6 lug snares, works very well. I should note, the JG die cast hoops (like vintage Premier ones, which I also have), are more low profile then traditional die cast hoops...helps prevent too much of a boxy effect, imo.
 

JDA

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I like (love) my 6.5 WFL 6 lug (I don't think they were called 'Pioneer" back then (? So much so. I bought another one for a back-up.
1) because the prices are going up 2) as I say a Back up (like I may ever need it)
Nonetheless the one that is to arrive (Nov 6) is one you all probably saw. From Texas and was refreshed by LA Drum Doctors. It sat on ebay. It sat on Ebay..It sat on eBay...I said hold on. "It's mine"
Pics are of my " grandma brown " one. Which I bought at a Pa Vintage Drum Show...(11 years ago I think). Two fellas were walking out at the end of the day. I saw the snare one had under his arm inquired about it. Boom. I owned it. All orig.
The lighter colored one is the eBay drum coming to me doctored by the drum doctors.

I care not a thing about any other snare drum but the 6.5 Wiffle. (or Lud or)
The Drum Doctors drum is on it's way to me. (I got it :
GretschLudSnares+ 002.JPG
s-l1600[1].jpg
s-l1600[1].jpg
)
 
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RyanR

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As mentioned: hoops. I replaced the original hoops with 2.3mm triple-flanged hoops, and the pre-serial Pioneer was 90% of a jazzfest. Hoops are like $10/each.

-Ryan
 

pedro navahas

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I have had a few pioneers, both 5”s and 6 1/2”s
Had a 6 lug Slingerland and currently have a Dixieland.
Could never get the Slingerland to sound good, always boxy. Loved the
6 1/2, should have never sold it.
Had a 68 in bmp with a clear maple interior, that was a great drum! I think the maple ones sound the best.
 

JDA

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Just received (post #16) the Drum Doctors light mod 6.5 WFL.

https://soundcloud.com/jda56/snareman

Allen head screws hold the bowties.
Rubber buffer stop on snare tension knob (don't know if that's an original (repo) or new addition. nice)
Ludwig Weathermaster resonant head. Ludwig 20 strand wires.
Whatever was done to the exterior (umm Orange Burst)
Sweet all-around.

Image0234.jpg
Image0235 (1).jpg Image0237.jpg
 
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Gunnellett

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I have a couple of pioneers. A transition badge WMP with a mahogany interior and a B/O pointy badge with a clear maple interior

The transition badge sounded awesome in a medium/low tuning with the original Playon head. I haven't messed with the tuning as the drum is pulled apart right now for a muffler repair and new heads.

The silver sparkle B/O badge has a clear maple interior and has a wide tuning range. Maybe I got a good one but she doesn't mind tuning up at all and is surprisingly quite loud with a nice crack and sensitivity.

Both snares have original snare wires and hoops.
 

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