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Ludwig Supraphonic: Vintage Vs. New

charlesm

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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.

I think the question for a lot of people is whether or not newer Supras are measurably *worse*. Some people seem to be of an opinion that, for some reason, the new ones are so far off from vintage models as to be unworthy of any consideration. (Personally, I don't see that or understand that reaction.)
 

lossforgain

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I think the question for a lot of people is whether or not newer Supras are measurably *worse*. Some people seem to be of an opinion that, for some reason, the new ones are so far off from vintage models as to be unworthy of any consideration. (Personally, I don't see that or understand that reaction.)
Agreed, we are saying the same thing (I said better and you said worse, but suggesting the same thing). I have no complaints about the new/modern versions at all. I even don’t mind the gaskets for the most part.
 

Treviso1

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I have several LM402's, one from 1978 that I bought from the original owner, a late 80s, and an early 2000s. All three are pretty great sounding with the 1978 edging out the other two. However, I did have one from 2015-ish that didn't have "that" sound and I sold it. I noticed that it had a noticeably smaller or shallower snare side "bell" flange. The other drums have a wider "bell" flange and this seems to make a big difference in the sound of the drum. I have noticed this in spades with the older Bronze drums vs the newer brass, bronze, and copper shells that Ludwig makes. The shells are made by a different manufacturing company as of 2010's or so than the company that made them for years before that. I recently sold a 1988 Ludwig Black Beauty that had the widest "bell" flange on the bottom bearing edge I have ever seen! Also, the older manufacturer made shells that were not undersized...in fact, many of them had tight fitting heads, but the drums still sounded amazing. The outside diameter is just much wider/bigger too. It reminds me of the early 80s Tama Bell Brass Drums that have tight fitting heads too because the outside diameter is much wider/bigger. That said, the sound isn't affected negatively at all...if anything, they sound MUCH better to my ears. The head definitely do not spine freely on the heads, however, but that sound....Ah...that sound. There's no comparison, IMHO. The new shells simply are different from what came before and for most people, what
came before simply sounds better.



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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.
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IMG_E8969.jpg

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Interesting chat, all this!

To avoid too much direct metal-on-metal contact beteween shell and lug, I fitted small spacers (nylon washers, as I recall); this allowed minimum lug-to-shell contact, allowing greater shell resonance (which I presume we all desire). I've tried this on toms and bass drum, too.
 

kookel

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I hear a difference between new and old as well. I think it is the quality of materials as mentioned above. The old 18 strand wires make a big difference as well.

I even hear subtle differences amongst the older ones.
 

donbseattle

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Not long ago I paid alot for a now discontinued brass Sonor Artist Series drum. With Superfly gold plated lugs. Die Cast brass hoops. I did not like it as much as a COB 60's Luddy I once had. I sold the Sonor to a Sonor guy. Now I somehow have landed two 60's Ludwig snare drums for roughly what I was out on the Boner Sonor. One supraphonic with almost no pitting. Very shiny. One COB supraphonic. Both with black ink 60's dates inside and baseball bat muffies and the cool old "correct" strainers. They look like twins. I am happy! The splay thing bugs me. The mojo thing makes me happy and joyful. Therefore I did well. Talk to your symphonic buddies and ask them what they paid for their oboes and bassoons and cellos and trumpets, etc. Then cough up some dough and get yourself some snare drums you like. Then price a nice vintage Strat or Telecaster or Gibson. Then shut up and pay for your drums. You will never regret it. If drums are too much, switch to harmonica asap.
 


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