Vintage Slingerland Restoration? Or Fuggetaboutit?

rikkrebs

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Another important question I have, and maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here: The snare is a Leedy. Do I seek out a period correct Slingerland snare, or restore the Leedy?

Important question #2: is the tom definitely a Slingy? It has no badge, but the hardware matches the bass drum.

Important question #3: I feel like something is missing. Possibly a bass drum mounted tom, and perhaps a large ride cymbal? I have a truckload of questions.

Important question #4: I’m missing a kick pedal for the bass drum. How hard will it be to find a period correct one?

Important question #5: I hate the color. It’s this battleship gray that looks like someone painted it on with a brush. That’s definitely got to go, so I will need to find out if period-correct wraps are available, and if there will be prep work involved, etc.
I would keep the snare with the kit. Even though it doesn't match, it's what your father had with it. If you are going to refinish it I personally would go for a nice black paint job.
 

Philly James

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What Jazz/D/Guy said keep it simple Keep the patina that is there. Enjoy it for what it is. How does the wood look like a bit dry? Old English works wonders. It is an oil. Minor darkening. That front Bass head is Cool. I would not sell it for any value.
The snare doesn’t seem to be dry. I haven’t inspected the other 2 closely yet.
 

Philly James

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I would keep the snare with the kit. Even though it doesn't match, it's what your father had with it. If you are going to refinish it I personally would go for a nice black paint job.
That sounds interesting. I like black. So if I decide to keep them, I could do whatever I want, since I no longer have to worry about resale value?:unsure:
 
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Philly James

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Here is a pic from 2010, that I didn’t remember that I had. It shows the complete kit set up in my basement. The white drawings were from a guy who told me my spurs were in the wrong position.

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K.O.

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What a cool set of drums! I'd be keeping those, especially considering the family connection.

Drummers weren't nearly as brand conscious back in the day. Vintage photos of working drummers (even famous pros) from the time frame when these drums were new often show them using sets composed of mixed brands. Ergo, perish the thought that the snare and the rest of the set don't "go together". They've probably been together since new and were originally put together by your dad or whomever he got them from.

Leedy Broadway snares from that time frame (pre 1940) usually have a solid shell. That means the shell is a single piece of wood, probably maple, bent into a drum shell as opposed to a plied shell made up of multiple thinner plies of wood. In either case they used reinforcing rings to hold the shell in it's round shape. If you look closely at the edge of the shell you should be able to see if the main part is a single piece of wood or multiple (generally three in that era) plies. Either will work fine as a drum shell but the solid type shells are coveted for their sound and that's the reason people think highly of the solid shell Slingerland Radio King model snare drums from that same time frame. The solid shell Leedy Broadway snares would be similar and, if anything, put together with a higher attention to detail than any Radio King. Regardless of its construction that is a cool and desirable snare drum but if it is a solid shell that is some extra icing on the cake and something to be aware of.

I lost my dad earlier this year. He was not a drummer, but had he been I can assure you I'd be keeping any drums he had. I did inherit some drums from my former drum teacher a few years ago, including the set that I took lessons on, which was his own first set (late fifties Slingerlands). We reconnected later in life and became close buddies for about 15 years, going to drum shows, drum clinics, cruising drum shops and music stores and eating pizza, despite his being old enough to be my dad. He had no children of his own and when he somewhat suddenly passed his wife told me that all his drum equipment was now mine. At least at this stage of my life I wouldn't part with any of it for any amount of cash. So far I have yet to set up that Slingerland set, or even pull them out of the cases, but that day will come. That's just me but I'd think long and hard if I were in your situation before parting with that set. Of course I am a (reasonably) active drummer and a collector of vintage drums so my situation is a bit different. As others have mentioned displaying that bass drum head and the snare would be a nice tribute to your dad if the rest of the set doesn't grab your fancy.

And, enjoy your dad's continued presence as much as you can, because once they are gone...
 

Philly James

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What a cool set of drums! I'd be keeping those, especially considering the family connection.

Drummers weren't nearly as brand conscious back in the day. Vintage photos of working drummers (even famous pros) from the time frame when these drums were new often show them using sets composed of mixed brands. Ergo, perish the thought that the snare and the rest of the set don't "go together". They've probably been together since new and were originally put together by your dad or whomever he got them from.

Leedy Broadway snares from that time frame (pre 1940) usually have a solid shell. That means the shell is a single piece of wood, probably maple, bent into a drum shell as opposed to a plied shell made up of multiple thinner plies of wood. In either case they used reinforcing rings to hold the shell in it's round shape. If you look closely at the edge of the shell you should be able to see if the main part is a single piece of wood or multiple (generally three in that era) plies. Either will work fine as a drum shell but the solid type shells are coveted for their sound and that's the reason people think highly of the solid shell Slingerland Radio King model snare drums from that same time frame. The solid shell Leedy Broadway snares would be similar and, if anything, put together with a higher attention to detail than any Radio King. Regardless of its construction that is a cool and desirable snare drum but if it is a solid shell that is some extra icing on the cake and something to be aware of.

I lost my dad earlier this year. He was not a drummer, but had he been I can assure you I'd be keeping any drums he had. I did inherit some drums from my former drum teacher a few years ago, including the set that I took lessons on, which was his own first set (late fifties Slingerlands). We reconnected later in life and became close buddies for about 15 years, going to drum shows, drum clinics, cruising drum shops and music stores and eating pizza, despite his being old enough to be my dad. He had no children of his own and when he somewhat suddenly passed his wife told me that all his drum equipment was now mine. At least at this stage of my life I wouldn't part with any of it for any amount of cash. So far I have yet to set up that Slingerland set, or even pull them out of the cases, but that day will come. That's just me but I'd think long and hard if I were in your situation before parting with that set. Of course I am a (reasonably) active drummer and a collector of vintage drums so my situation is a bit different. As others have mentioned displaying that bass drum head and the snare would be a nice tribute to your dad if the rest of the set doesn't grab your fancy.

And, enjoy your dad's continued presence as much as you can, because once they are gone...
Your post was so eloquent, and it gave me confidence. Thank you!
 

b/o 402

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Yeah, Kevin (K.O.) is right as usual.
Joe (JDA) is strong on snark but a heart of gold. If you haven't already, follow the link he posted to Vintage Drum Guide - they have vintage catalog scans from Slingerland and Leedy, so you can get much more good info about your dad's set.
Here's a couple other things to consider:
Heads: any of the skin heads which are torn can be replaced, but since you're handy, you might consider doing the job the authentic way. Old timers removed the skin from the hoop, and installed new calfskin on it. Often this was a necessity as some old drums were irregularly sized. Or you could just try modern heads; some are available that simulate the calfskin look and feel.
Cymbals: these may be the most valuable pieces in the set, so even if you're keeping them, it's worth finding out what you have.
As others have said, clean lightly but DO NOT REMOVE THE PATINA!
Closely examine the surface 2 - 3" in from the edge, and see if you can find the manufacturer's die stamp (it will likely look like a faint engraving.)
We are all supporting you in your efforts!
 

Philly James

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Yeah, Kevin (K.O.) is right as usual.
Joe (JDA) is strong on snark but a heart of gold. If you haven't already, follow the link he posted to Vintage Drum Guide - they have vintage catalog scans from Slingerland and Leedy, so you can get much more good info about your dad's set.
Here's a couple other things to consider:
Heads: any of the skin heads which are torn can be replaced, but since you're handy, you might consider doing the job the authentic way. Old timers removed the skin from the hoop, and installed new calfskin on it. Often this was a necessity as some old drums were irregularly sized. Or you could just try modern heads; some are available that simulate the calfskin look and feel.
Cymbals: these may be the most valuable pieces in the set, so even if you're keeping them, it's worth finding out what you have.
As others have said, clean lightly but DO NOT REMOVE THE PATINA!
Closely examine the surface 2 - 3" in from the edge, and see if you can find the manufacturer's die stamp (it will likely look like a faint engraving.)
We are all supporting you in your efforts!
Well I cleaned the first one, and it says ZilCo. Thanks for telling me where to look, and it was faint and backwards. I assume that means Zildjian?

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Tama CW

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Zilco's were Zildjians that were meant to be sold with drum kits in music stores. You'll also see Zenjian, Alejian, and others from the old days. Your Zilco "trademarks" are from the 30's to 50's. While they are considered "seconds" they very often sound exactly like die stamped Zildjians. Dirty cymbals with patina have the mojo. There's nothing as out of place as brightly polished vintage cymbals on an aged kit. Those Zilco's have plenty of shine as is....no need to go further. Those are beautiful. Zilco's are commonly seen in the 10" to 14" sizes, often as high hats or splash cymbals. You might have other brands of cymbals mixed in. Back in that era a lot of drummers didn't go any larger than a 16" cymbal.

A general kit cleaning and then see where you stand. The Leedy snare is the "heart" of your kit and I agree it should stay. Period Slingerland kick pedals (and other hardware) is pretty to easy to find, and often not very expensive. A kick pedal might run you $20-$60. Yeah, it would be nice to have one of those with the kit. There was a pedal with it at one time.
 
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thejohnlec

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Sheesh, what a tremendously cool time capsule. As stated, gentle surface cleaning all around - Dawn detergent is magic. It will remove a good deal of rust if parts are left to soak in it for some time. The butt end of the snare is badly rusted and may be a bit dangerous to remove, but soak it for a while if you can safely take it off. As stated above, absolutely avoid any type of abrasive cleaning materials that can leave even a hint of a scratch.

And holy cow, my kingdom for that snare drum!!

Enjoy your project, and maybe play some period-correct music for your dad when you show him the final product - may make for a nice presentation.

Congrats and enjoy!
 

Philly James

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Update: First cymbal cleaned but not too clean. It measures 9 3/4” in diameter, so would you call that a 10”?

Before:
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After:
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Philly James

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Cymbal #2 measures 12” in diameter. I can’t find a name, even with the magnifying glass, but on the underside there is a stamp “grade A Balan”, I think.
Notice that it looks like someone took a bite out of it. What’s up with that?

Before:
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After:
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Philly James

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Cymbal #3, top part of the high hat, and it measures 11” on the money. No discernible markings whatsoever! I inspected it in natural light and artificial, and with and without a mag. glass.

Edit: Ah ha! I did find a stamp that appears to say, “Made In ITLA” or something like that (see pic).

Before:
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After:
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thejohnlec

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The bite taken out of cymbal number 2 may just have been how someone repaired a crack - not sure though. It's a very clean cut.

I believe cymbal number 3 would be Ufip, going by that stamp.
 

Tama CW

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9-3/4" would be considered a 10". In those days they often varied in each direction by 1/8th to 1/4 inch. Sometimes the hi hat top was made a bit smaller than the bottom. "Made in Italy" as some fine cymbals came from Italian cymbal makers in the 20's to 60's. It wasn't just Zildjian back then. Toss that entire hi hat stand into the Dawn bath. Give it 1-3 days. One time I had an old Gretsch cymbal stand that was 90% rusty....looked to be a total basket case. After a few days in the Dawn it was over 90% gleaming chrome again...and back to being a collectible.
 

Philly James

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9-3/4" would be considered a 10". In those days they often varied in each direction by 1/8th to 1/4 inch. Sometimes the hi hat top was made a bit smaller than the bottom. "Made in Italy" as some fine cymbals came from Italian cymbal makers in the 20's to 60's. It wasn't just Zildjian back then. Toss that entire hi hat stand into the Dawn bath. Give it 1-3 days. One time I had an old Gretsch cymbal stand that was 90% rusty....looked to be a total basket case. After a few days in the Dawn it was over 90% gleaming chrome again...and back to being a collectible.
I have a tub we don’t use. How much Dawn do I use? Better yet, I’ll soak it in a plastic 55 gallon drum I have at work.

Also, where did hi-hat manufacturers usually put their stamp?
 
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Philly James

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That’s a great strainer but it’s missing a piece. I don’t know if it’s been said, but those all look repainted. Be very judicial if you’re going to clean them.
Bijan,
What piece is missing, and where can I find one?
 

Tama CW

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There may not be any mfg's stamp on your hi hat stand. Those were often made by 3rd parties for numerous drum companies. Walberg and Auge was one of them. Your stand looks original to your kit. Just soak it and see how it comes out. Rather than use a 55 gall drum full of liquid, find a small container in an approx 36" x 10" x 10" size so you can place an entire stand inside. A shallow square or rub tub 6-8" high could work too. I use about an 1/8 th of a cup of Dawn to 2-3 gallons of water....that's about a 1 to 500 dilution. For small parts in a quart container I might go 10-1 to 100-1. Most any concentration will work....given enough time.
 

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