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Ludwig Supraphonic: Vintage Vs. New

YaBoyMorg

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Hello
I have been on the search for a blue olive aluminum/ludalloy lm402. While the new snares are in an abundance, it is difficult to get your hands on a 70's snare (for less than $500). So I'm beginning to wonder, is there really a huge difference in sound between the vintage and newer supraphonics? They are made from the same materials and are produced in the same sizes, so I would think that there shouldn't be a huge difference.
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Hop

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Ringofanatic1940 said:
They are made from the same materials and are produced in the same sizes, so I would think that there shouldn't be a huge difference.
BINGO!!!
 

idrum4fun

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This has been hotly debated in numerous threads on numerous forums! The bottom line is that new vs vintage basically sound the same. However, I maintain there is a difference, simply from the undersized shell which places the bearing edge at a different spot on the heads. If the diameters are not the same, then it's really not the same drum. Everyone noticed the amount of tension rod splay from the new drums. Ludwig dealt with this by placing thick rubber gaskets under Supras equipped with Imperial lugs. That's a lot of rubber against the shell, changing the tone! Next, is Ludwig's sourcing of hoops. They are a bit over-sized, adding to the tension rod splay. Plus, and this is just my personal opinion, the hoops have a very "wavy" look to them. Yeah, a cosmetic thing, but I'm not crazy about it. Gibraltar hoops look good, have excellent chrome, and are a better fit for any drum head. OK, I'm done with my ranting on this!!

-Mark
 

tommy1

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I have had one of each and the newer one did not sound as good to me as the old one. Not even close!
 

publius

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The truth, in my opinion, is that there's probably as much difference as there is between any two new ones you pick off the production line. All this talk about rubber gaskets and tone, etc. seems reasonable, but how many of you think you could really hear a difference with a blindfold once the guitar amps started up? I'm as much of a gear-hound as anyone, but time and experienced have compelled me to admit this conclusion.

i WILL say that the 20's black beauties all seem to have something different going on, that is either to your liking or not, but definitely different.
 

Jdrum

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I've got a few new and old ones. I love 402's but I can't say I've found any better sound out of them over the new ones. They sound pretty similar when setup identical. Any differences I chalk up to just being a different drum. I've had newer and older that sound different between the same vintage...just like any drums.
I have an almost brand new blue olive one in the classifieds :) I have too many. Time to downsize.
 

hefty

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I have a 70's 402 and had a 2000's 402 and gave the edge *slightly* to the 70's one. Could have easily been hearing with my eyes though.

I sold the 2000's 402 to a friend and it's his only snare I believe. Sounds fantastic every time I hear him play it.
 

fitzsy

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Don't know but I just got this COB and love it.
 

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samsdrum

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Don't give up, one will eventually come along. If you get a newer one you'll regret not waiting for a 70's version with correct badge, muffler, etc. You might need to get one with a bit of "character" but they are out there. I just picked up a '79 402 and I paid less than $400. It had some issues that I had to fix to get it playable but it cost me maybe another $30 to do so. I had a 2008 model when I bought the older drum. That drum seemed a bit more airy/open sounding and produced more ring. The older drum is not nearly as ringy. I preferred the sound of the older model and sold the newer one.
 

Paradiddle

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I just grabbed an amazingly clean, all original 76 402 for $500. Well worth that much IMO. Sounds great to my ears and a good companion for my 67 LM400.

I'm a gear snob, but I prefer old to new and I'm willing to spend a little money to get a nice one.
 

rondrums51

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I prefer the early 60's ones with a P83 strainer and a ball bat muffler. The strainer was solid as a rock, and I loved the ball bat because you could throw it on and off so quick, without fiddling with a knob.

Ludwig switched over to the P85 strainer at some point, but they lightened it up in the 70's, and the throwoff arm was really flimsy. It would actually bend it you weren't careful with it. I played a 70's Supra for a while back in the day, and it generally felt lighter and less substantial than the old 60's ones. Sound-wise, it had less balls than my old early 60's Supra.

Sorry, I know absolutely nothing about the new ones. But Ludwig sure knows how to make good sounding snare drums.
 

Velociamator

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I thought the ball bat strainers looked cute,but were worthless otherwise,'cause no fine tuning was possible. I use the Rogers clip-ons anyway. I bought a '79 Supra,61/2 inches deep, with the typical WFL stand for $100.00. That was a while back. It sounds great.
 

BennyK

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Vintage hoops were 1.6 and the COB ones(hoops) have no equal in the modern market . Ludwig wires, same thing.Lugs had a more sophisticated casting. Even the the t-rods were a higher quality alloy. Ludwig batter and snare side heads have, to me, been a perfect match to the drum. They're still available. Strainers were somehow built and stamped better, can't quite put my finger on it . The original blackface was classier looking and clicked smoother, if that makes any sense .

The shell itself is basically the same - somewhat inconsistent on account of the fluctuation in the metallurgical ratio , so the good ones are THE ones and the rest are .... not. Part of Ludwig's mystical charm and attraction I suppose .

I'd take a vintage 400 or 402 anyday . A 67 Impala is not a 2015 Impala . Period . Both have their strengths,with sentimentality being a significant influence in choosing one over the other.
 

RyanR

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I'm tempted to go with the "vintage" crowd more and more.... my 1967 400 is one of my favorite drums ever. I've had other Supra's that I just couldn't pull the same sound out of..... though I'm not paying $800 for a "1970's Ludwig Supraphonic Bonham". ;)

As I like the wide open sound, my reasons (warning: opinions follow!):

Gaskets: Someone did a nice vid not too long ago, showing how the rubber gaskets choke she shell resonance enough to be noticeable on laptop speakers. That's significant. I think the gaskets are ugly. I believe you need to get new shorter screws to get rid of them.

Hoops: As mentioned, the fatter ears of the generic 2.3m hoops are why there's splay. Splay isn't a problem, the weight of the hoops is. Lighter hoops will open the drum up nicely. I did the A vs. B thing on a 6.5" brass snare a while back, so I'm convinced.

Plastic washers: Ew.

Snare wires: Again, A vs. B on the 6.5" brass snare. Modern Ludwig 20 strand wires just aren't as open sounding as those vintage 18 strand wires, but a set of 16-strand "German" wires works real nice.

Butt plate: The die-cast (p-33?) one is ugly.

Strainer: Unlike most I'm not a stickler. I like a simple strainer. P-85 is fine... but I'd sure prefer the P-83, or even a generic "S-9" or whatever the $20 generic strainers are on the "import" drums. The modern P-85 is just so bland.

Bottom line for me is that to "maximize" the drum to get the sound I like, I'd be pulling the whole drum apart and rebuilding it. New screws, new wires, new hoops.... and while I hate being a "strainer guy" the temptation to get a P-83 or P-86 while it was apart would be tempting. ;)

Heads: I *love* Ludwig Weather Masters! Medium coated over WM snare side, so this is a win for a new Supra!

Window shopping online, prices for new 402's has crept up quite a bit, such that Bonham-priced 402's don't seem terribly outlandish. I'd just go vintage if I could score one a bit cheaper.

-Ryan
 

rondrums51

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BennyK said:
Vintage hoops were 1.6 and the COB ones(hoops) have no equal in the modern market . Ludwig wires, same thing.Lugs had a more sophisticated casting. Even the the t-rods were a higher quality alloy. Ludwig batter and snare side heads have, to me, been a perfect match to the drum. They're still available. Strainers were somehow built and stamped better, can't quite put my finger on it . The original blackface was classier looking and clicked smoother, if that makes any sense .

The shell itself is basically the same - somewhat inconsistent on account of the fluctuation in the metallurgical ratio , so the good ones are THE ones and the rest are .... not. Part of Ludwig's mystical charm and attraction I suppose .

I'd take a vintage 400 or 402 anyday . A 67 Impala is not a 2015 Impala . Period . Both have their strengths,with sentimentality being a significant influence in choosing one over the other.
You're right, Benny. Everything is built lighter and cheaper nowadays. The old Supras just "feel" better. Hard to explain.
 


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