The old dog has some tricks!!
For many years I have used wooden snare drums from Pearl, DW, Mapex to Shine. I think the only time I actually owned a metal snare drum was on my first real drum kit, it was a percussion plus drum kit, and at the age of 11 your tuning isn’t that well practised. This year I have been really getting back into exploring my drum kit set-up, and seeing what’s out on the market. More and more I have found myself being drawn towards trying metal snare drums, so with all the hype the Ludwig 400 snare drum was obviously the place to start!
After teaching one night I went to see Andy at Drum Shop UK, and I explained I wanted to try a metal snare drum. 5 hours later after sweeping up and spending some quality time with an axe setting up displays in the drum shop, Andy suggested the gorgeous £2500 Craviotto Diamond Series Copper snare drum, sadly it was out of my budget. However, he took me to the drum repair centre and showed me his collection of the illustrious Ludwig 400 snare drum range, he had lots of Ludwig snare drums including the Ludwig Black Beauty.
Now for those of you who don’t know anything about the Ludwig 400 snare drum or had never heard of it, you will have most definitely heard it!! Any song recorded by John Bonham between 1970-1980 was a Ludwig 402 snare drum, The Beatles’ Ringo Starr was rarely without the Ludwig 400 snare drum and Clyde Stubblefield (possibly the most sampled drummer ever) was supposed to use a Vox snare drum from a deal James Brown got the band but said he couldn’t stand the snare drum so used his Ludwig 400 snare drum. The Ludwig Supraphonic 400 series snare drum basically came in two types from different eras, the Chrome Over Brass (COB) snare drum or the Ludalloy snare drum, both very well respected drums. There are many variants to do with badges and fitting etc…This can get quite geeky but it is worth reading up on them there are some cool facts to be learnt, I have learnt a lot and there’s still some way to go.
The Ludwig 400 snare drum Andy kindly let me take was a 1970’s/80’s drum, complete with vintage wear and tear. I was a bit sceptical that this drum being over 30 years old wouldn’t tune well or work correctly. However the next day I was gigging with The Danny Allan Band, an original funk band, I use two snare drums on this gig one a fairly medium tuning and one cranked right up. I was absolutely blown away, within literally seconds the Ludwig 400 snare drum was singing beautifully. I was surprised that although the snare drum was metal it didn’t have to sound metallic if I didn’t want it to. It also carried this lush warm tone to it and even though it isn’t that deep, can have quite a deep sound to it almost giving it traits of a wooden drum. I found this snare drum to be so versatile and easy to work with over the course of the week, and at different tunings, it was just so playable in any style.
These drums can be picked up for anything from £250 – £800 depending on their condition age and rarity. Be sure to get in touch with Andy or any of the guys at Drum Shop UK as they will be able to source a Ludwig 400 snare drum of any background for you. This will definitely be entering my collection!! I cant believe I have gone without one for so long!
Thank you all for reading, and the suggestions for further blogs. I will work my way through the requests, and try my best to please.