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Ludwig Supraphonic: Vintage Vs. New

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RickP

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Bun Carlos said:
I have had one of each and the newer one did not sound as good to me as the old one. Not even close!
Opposite for me, I A/B'd new and old and preferred new. The new one seemed to "breathe" a bit more?

I found the same thing.
 

Ginteegint

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I'm obviously years late on this post but came across it and felt compelled to chime in. If you look at any vintage Supra (in person or on Google) there are varying degrees of lug splay, some more pronounced than others, on almost all examples. I own and/or have owned a wide range of Ludwig snares, ranging in time period from the 20's to the current era and I've seen it first hand. So regardless of changes in actual shell diameter, hoop diameter, alloy composition or weight of both shell and hoops from vintage to new, lug splay has been around on Ludwig snares for a very, very long time, and clearly without detrimentally affecting the sound. What does negatively impact the sound of new Ludwig snares (inarguably imho) are the ludicrous rubber gaskets which I know many people have touched on already, including earlier in this thread. I turned a first gen, rubber gasket 6.5 Supra into a vintage Supra killer (or at the vary least an equal peer) just by removing the lug gaskets, replacing the plastic tension rod washers with metal ones, and putting on a 20 strand set of "German" wire snares. I'm not saying doing these things as a formula will turn any new Ludwig snare into the best of the vintage ones (I got very, and happily lucky on that particular drum), but I will say it will make any modern Ludwig snare sound instantly and substantially better, lug splay be damned! ;)

I recently got inspired by Udo Masshoff's beautiful drum designs and drum making craftsmanship and decided to replace the rubber gaskets on my new 6.5 hammered shell Acrophonic with red felt, hand cut replacements. This picture is from my first run, before I cleaned up the cuts more, but it shows the idea. Aside from personally loving the way it looks aesthetically, it removes metal on metal contact between the lug and shell without choking the resonance of the shell.
IMG_E8969.jpg
IMG_E8969.jpg

IMG_E8969.jpg
 

JazzDrumGuy

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As to the splay issue, my older Supra's ('65 6.5x14, '69 5x14, 70's 6.5x14) don't have splay issues. My few newer BB's (in the last 5 years) do, or at least did. To solve it, I swapped out the regular triple flanged Ludwig hoops for generic hoops, or die casts, or even Yahama-type wood hoops, and the problem of the splay is no longer. It seems the shells aren't small, but the rims are too big......

I just like the mojo of the older ones but the newer ones are nice too (Supras and BB's).
 

happyshump

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I have a modern 402 and I removed all of the rubbers from under the lugs. I put an Inde strainer which doesn't line up properly because the holes aren't centred. Part of the strainer is up against the centre bead. An easy fix. And I put on 42 strand wires. The drum sounds awful. Rings like crazy and has to be cranked. It sounds terrible if I try to tune it in the medium range, which is how I tune all my snares. It sounds really thin as well. I don't know what to do with it. I'm certainly not using it. I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to get the thing to sound right.
 

jptrickster

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Ive had have some very nice 60s Keystones and 70s B/o. The new ones pale in comparison as far as overal build/fit out ,apearance and sound.
 

CAMDRUMS

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I had a newer one that seemed to have splay issues. I could never get a good sound out of it and unloaded it.
 

e.g.

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I'm obviously years late on this post but came across it and felt compelled to chime in. If you look at any vintage Supra (in person or on Google) there are varying degrees of lug splay, some more pronounced than others, on almost all examples. I own and/or have owned a wide range of Ludwig snares, ranging in time period from the 20's to the current era and I've seen it first hand. So regardless of changes in actual shell diameter, hoop diameter, alloy composition or weight of both shell and hoops from vintage to new, lug splay has been around on Ludwig snares for a very, very long time, and clearly without detrimentally affecting the sound. What does negatively impact the sound of new Ludwig snares (inarguably imho) are the ludicrous rubber gaskets which I know many people have touched on already, including earlier in this thread. I turned a first gen, rubber gasket 6.5 Supra into a vintage Supra killer (or at the vary least an equal peer) just by removing the lug gaskets, replacing the plastic tension rod washers with metal ones, and putting on a 20 strand set of "German" wire snares. I'm not saying doing these things as a formula will turn any new Ludwig snare into the best of the vintage ones (I got very, and happily lucky on that particular drum), but I will say it will make any modern Ludwig snare sound instantly and substantially better, lug splay be damned! ;)

I recently got inspired by Udo Masshoff's beautiful drum designs and drum making craftsmanship and decided to replace the rubber gaskets on my new 6.5 hammered shell Acrophonic with red felt, hand cut replacements. This picture is from my first run, before I cleaned up the cuts more, but it shows the idea. Aside from personally loving the way it looks aesthetically, it removes metal on metal contact between the lug and shell without choking the resonance of the shell.
IMG_E8969.jpg
IMG_E8969.jpg

View attachment 354457
What's wrong with metal to metal contact between the lug and the shell? I have a number of older Ludwig Supraphonics that sound fantastic without the rubber gaskets! The whole drum resonates beautifully, shell, lugs and all, like it's supposed to do!
 

backtodrum

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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.

I agree with you! Way too much over thinking of this stuff!
 

hsosdrum

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What's wrong with metal to metal contact between the lug and the shell? I have a number of older Ludwig Supraphonics that sound fantastic without the rubber gaskets! The whole drum resonates beautifully, shell, lugs and all, like it's supposed to do!
The gaskets aren't there to eliminate metal-to-metal contact, they're there because the tension rod holes on the hoops Ludwig uses are too far away from the shell, which puts the tension rods at a significant outward angle. This places most of the tension on the outer portion of the tension rod holes, which reduces tuning accuracy and can cause the holes in the hoops to enlarge, eventually to the point where the rod can slip through.

To solve this, rather than a) use different hoops with tension rod holes that aren't so far from the shell, or b) redesign their Imperial lug casings with more depth so they also extend further from the shell, Ludwig instead took the "quick-and-dirty" approach and c) simply installs plastic (rubber?) gaskets underneath the lugs, moving the tension rods further away from the shell so they'll be at the proper angle for the hoops.

Many people feel that the presence of 10 large plastic/rubber gaskets that are squeezed tightly against the shell has a significant impact on the resonance of the metal shells Ludwig uses on its snare drums. (Some people even hate the presence of the gaskets on Ludwig's wood-shelled drums.)
 
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donbseattle

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I used to have a 60's pre serial COB super 400. It was really cool. I should not have sold it. Then some years later, like last month, I found one oninie but it is 1967, so it has a serial number. I do not think the serial number changes the sound, My recently acquired one has the baseball bat muffler lever.

As far as the 60's COB's compared to the current new one, the vintage ones are better for one simple scientific reason......................

they're cooler! MOJO is real to the believers. To the non beilevers it is easy to go get a new one that will sound great. Because Ludwig snare drums are cool! see how this is starting to become circular reasoning and logic?
 

jptrickster

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Can’t help but think the black plastic/rubber lug gaskets kill the tone of the shell. They look like the devil as well. 60’s -70’s for me….maybe even large KS badge 80’s /Chicago.
 

Seb77

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On an old drum, all the parts work great together, the thing vibrates as a whole. Current factory Ludwigs don't feel that great to me. A LM400 with 2.3mm hoops is not the same drum to me as an old one with 1.6mm hoops, not to mention COB ones, see above; I would also exchange the plastic straps with cord. I'm not going to talk about gaskets ;)
 

charlesm

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I had both my '66 400 and a 2000s 400 together at one time years ago as my only two snares.

The modern 400 struck me as having a little more pop and fatness on rim shots--due, I'm sure, to its having the slightly thicker hoops.

Other than that, very similar characteristics. Would have been happy with either, but I kept the '66 for sentimental reasons.

I've since also acquired a late-'70s 402. Whenever I try the newer version in stores, the new one strikes me as sounding a bit "wetter" and ringier. The '70s is drier while still having a moderate degree of ring.

They both sound like 402s, but there seems to be more of a difference there between a "classic" and a modern 402 sound.

Again, I'd probably be happy with either as I don't see one being better than the other. Just a certain difference.
 

CAMDRUMS

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I had a newer one with tension rod splay. Could t get a decent sound out of it.
 

charlesm

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I had a newer one with tension rod splay. Could t get a decent sound out of it.
Is this your experience with ALL Supras or just the newer version?

What's an example of a sound you were trying to get out of it that you couldn't achieve?
 

lossforgain

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By now it’s a 7 year debate!

I’ve had old and new. My favorite Supra ever was stamped August 3, 1970 and I think Ludwig was making some fantastic metal snares right around that time. That said, I have a rounded B-O badge drum now and it also sounds fantastic. Last year I sold an almost new 402 that was an excellent drum but not measurably “better” than others I’ve had, and the B-O drum takes care of that sound for me.
 


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