Who puts new tension rods on a vintage kit?

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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I am in the process of putting a 60's Gretsch Round Badge back together that I recently picked up. It was partially cleaned up by the previous owner.
It was missing some of the 3" tension rods for the 14" floor tom with big lugs. So, I ordered enough new ones to go on the drum if I ended up liking the look of the shiny and new since the rest of the kit is in pretty good condition. Long story short, I like the look of the shiny rods.

I had never done this before but am seriously leaning towards doing the rack and snare as well. The bass rods and claws cleaned up really nicely with Brasso.

I ordered a new cymbal "L" arm, spurs, and some inlay strips for the bass about 1/2 was missing from one of the hoops. I am looking for a new rail consollete mount set up as the clock and the holder lost a good portion of the chrome for reasonm whereas the rest was really nice. So, it is not like I am not making a few changes although with newer Gretsch parts.

I plan to hold the kit for a while and will hang onto the old parts and include them whenever I sell the kit.

Do any of you guys completely swap out the tension rods on your old kits like I am likely going to do?

Am I devalueing the kit with these changes? Would it even matter to a future buyer?
 

speady1

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If an old drum needs new rods, put them on. It's like buying a classic car and saying that all the lugnuts aren't original, so it's de-valued. It doesn't make sense. I do whatever an old kit needs to get it in playable condition. Unless it's a museum piece, who cares if every washer, nut, and bolt is original? That's my take. I'm sure lots of folks will completely disagree. But, to me, I'd rather play them than wait to find a 60 year-old tension rod that matches...
 

Tama CW

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If you have old original rods that aren't shiny, toss them in diluted muriatic acid for 30-60 minutes....for really crusty ones sometimes overnight. They usually come out pretty bright. If the rust is into the bass metal, then you're cooked any ways. I always prefer original rods on drums. And yes, when I had some collectible muscle cars, I'd go for the proper looking lug nuts over just any old ones. Details can matter.
 

kdgrissom

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Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that some company is going to take the trouble to offer period correct reproduction tension rods. For me, some of the allure of the Slingerland, Gretsch, Camco and early Rogers was that their tension rods were as different and distinctive as their instruments were.
The best I can hope for is when purchasing one of these iconic drums, the previous owner was cognizant enough to save the "dirty parts".
 

speady1

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If you have old original rods that aren't shiny, toss them in diluted muriatic acid for 30-60 minutes....for really crusty ones sometimes overnight. They usually come out pretty bright. If the rust is into the bass metal, then you're cooked any ways. I always prefer original rods on drums. And yes, when I had some collectible muscle cars, I'd go for the proper looking lug nuts over just any old ones. Details can matter.
I totally agree that details CAN matter. If you're restoring the drums for historical purposes, go all original with every piece. If you're going to play them out, it shouldn't matter. To stick with the muscle car analogy, if it's a trailer queen that only goes to the car show, then yes, the lug nuts ought to be perfect. If you're taking it to the strip to smoke a Honda in the 1/4 mile, it matters not...
 

Tama CW

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Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that some company is going to take the trouble to offer period correct reproduction tension rods. For me, some of the allure of the Slingerland, Gretsch, Camco and early Rogers was that their tension rods were as different and distinctive as their instruments were.
The best I can hope for is when purchasing one of these iconic drums, the previous owner was cognizant enough to save the "dirty parts".
There are a lot spare tension rods for vintage drums out there. I've never had a problem finding them for any vintage 60's and later drum I was trying to complete. The same was true of vintage lug nuts, rims, wheel covers, and even tires back when I was restoring original cars. There's a ton of old parts out there.
 

JDA

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Not all new rods are created equal..
I bought a 60s Pioneer someone prior had put some new rods on it.

8 out of 10 of my drum keys do not fit on those rods easily at all (crummy) .
If a Key fits nicely use them; but I did notice it on that particular drum in that particular circumstance.
Not all new rods are created equal..
If you have a good source stick with it
do the Key-check on them
 
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vintagemore2000

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I'm gonna have to agree with the general consensus here details do matter. Spare vintage parts are readily available. Use the OEM parts. If you loose or break a part, a temp new part is ok for a fill in, But the OEM parts need to be in place eventually.
 
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multijd

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8 out of 10 of my drum keys do not fit on those rods easily at all (crummy)
Yes. And if the key fits some and not others you have to have the correct key to tune the drum.
I'm gonna have to agree with the general consensus here details do matter. Spare vintage parts are readily available. Use the OEM parts. If you lose or break a part, a temp new part is ok for a fill in, But the OEM parts need to be in place eventually.
Agreed
 

JazzDrumGuy

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The least important part of a snare or any drum to me is the tension rods. As long as they work, and they're not too long to butt into each other, that's fine with me. None of my drums are that pristine museum pieces anyway (well, maybe a few) to demand the original tension rods. I've never swapped out new rods for old rods. I just buy what I need.

If you don't like the look of new chrome, throw them in some white vinegar overnight. They'll get nice and nickel looking real fast. I have some techniques to age chrome to make it look like vintage including dipping it in vinegar, or an extended soak in Dawn soap, or even oven Degreaser. Also, I can use my Dremel and I've learned how to make a buffing head with some abrasive green sponge and pretty much knock off any chrome to make it look vintage. I did that with a 1920s solid Maple Ludwig snare that was only a shell. I got some vintage correct lugs but did not have hoops. I bought some new hoops and was able to age them and newer rods and they look fantastic.
 

JDA

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Yes. And if the key fits some and not others you have to have the correct key to tune the drum.

Agreed
..the square of the head was not machined (cast whatever) well.
Not a perfect square, dig?
lopsided square bad quality
 

trommel

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If an old drum needs new rods, put them on. It's like buying a classic car and saying that all the lugnuts aren't original, so it's de-valued. It doesn't make sense. I do whatever an old kit needs to get it in playable condition. Unless it's a museum piece, who cares if every washer, nut, and bolt is original? That's my take. I'm sure lots of folks will completely disagree. But, to me, I'd rather play them than wait to find a 60 year-old tension rod that matches...
Just do this, the best thing for the drum and you. I sometimes wonder if this quest to keep everything perfectly old is good for your mental health. If you are a drum dealer, well maybe, but just respect the drum, don't treat it like is part of your inventory, and enjoy it.
 

fishaa

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Original tension rods are typically not on my radar... except once when I wanted some Radio Kings to be original. Just because.
Do what you feel. But keep the old ones!! If it bugs a buyer, it’s not really a negotiable point for resale, IMO.

Let’s see the drums!!!
 

hardbat

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Bass Drum T-rods, yes, I'd want them to be period correct. Those tend to have a particular look.
Tension rods on a tom tom, I don't really care - although I do like the amount of threading to be consistent if possible.
HOWEVER, if you already have the original tension rods, it's pretty easy to remove rust with evapo-rust. I just did this on a set of rusted original Camco tension rods and they came out looking shiny new.
Also, if it's a case of nickel vs chrome, that would be significant.

As for other hardware... I replaced the Gretsch cymbal arm with a modern one (they use the same hole spacing), because I use it and want it to hold up and not be too flimsy. But I kept the original cymbal arm in case I decide to sell.
 

idrum4fun

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All my vintage kits have the original tension rods and are in excellent condition. The vast majority of snare drums in my collection, both MIJ and US brands, have the original tension rods. I just got lucky! I have a fairly large selection of tension rods in my inventory that I can get choose from if I need some. However, I do have those snare drums that were missing tension rods and I didn't have anything matching. That's when I'll go ahead and select from my new tension rods.

I'll be honest in saying that if I see a vintage snare drum I'm interested in, especially a US drum, and the seller is asking a very high price for it, I do expect it to come with the original tension rods! If a vintage drum is advertised as being "all original" I want that to include the tension rods as well! Yes, I'm picky! And that's OK!

-Mark
 

jptrickster

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In my world beauty and quality is all about the details. Originality is a big part of the vintage vibe and allure. I could not sleep at night knowing there were incorrect t rods on my drums
 

Big Beat

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With enough restoration experience, non-original parts stick out like a sore thumb. As mentioned above, those old rods are very distinctive. Once you learn to tell a Ludwig rod from, say, a Gretsch one, you'll never be able to overlook those that are incorrect ever again. They just look wrong, and are VERY noticeable to a knowledgeble collector. To me, incorrect rods are a minus when I buy vintage drums. I always try to find the correct ones to replace them, and figure the cost of the eventual replacement into the purchase price.

Now, it is perfectly OK to substitute modern rods if you keep the originals as well. That's like putting a new aftermarket chrome air cleaner on a vintage muscle car - sure it looks nicer to some people, but a collector buying the car will still want to see that old original one saved in the trunk - just in case he wants to get the car judged at a concourse car show some day. It is also OK to put on new parts in order to just get the drum functional temporarily. But anyone who thinks that this doesn't matter to a collector, or that one can still charge top dollar for a drum with all incorect rods, is fooling themselves
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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Update: I just ordered enough new tension rods for the snare, rack tom, and one for the bass drum, since the floor tom looks so nice to my eyes. I was mssing 8 long ones for the floor tom and will likely pick some up at some point that are 60's era OEM.

I ordered a new Gretsch Vintage Rail Mount as holder on the the original is flaking really badly. I figure the bolts, etc. are 50+ years old and a newer one with the short and long spades to give me more positioning options and it comes with the cool wrench to tighten everything up. I will swap the tom mount out on the side of the rack drum since a new one is included.

Overall the kit is in very good condition with just a few knicks in the wrap so my hope is it will like look as nice and shiny as possible.

The bass hoops need a little attention as some of the paint has chipped off. I need to sand the hoops and spray some Krylon black satin spray paint. I hope this will make it look as nice as possible.

All original parts I am replacing for now will be bagged up and will be included along with the original inlay pieces when someone else becomes the steward of the kit at some point in the future.

Once I have it all back together I will be posting plenty of pictures.

I appreciate everyone posting their thoughts and viewpoints.

Thanks!
 
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