Vintage GEAR slingerland buddy rich model 80N kit
A Slingerland kit just like the one Buddy Rich played in his big band during the early 1970s
Buddy switched capriciously around the major USA drum companies – Slingerland, WFL, Ludwig and Rogers (though not Gretsch) – throughout his long career. He also had a brief flirtation with the German Vox/Trixon and loved his Fibes SFT fibreglass shell snare.
When he first came to the UK in 1967 he played a cutting-edge Swiv-O-Matic Rogers set, but by the end of the year he was back with Slingerland for his glorious early big band revival years. He later returned to Ludwig, but finished up playing a restored 1940s Slingerland Radio King set.
His drums were always White/Marine Pearl and he invariably settled on the classic one-up-two-down layout. Yet he made a big deal of not needing more than a standard four-piece kit and, as in our featured kit, the second floor tom was hardly ever played.
This kit was previously seen in Rhythm, February 2008, when it belonged to Preston Prince of Tiki Drums (www.tikidrums.com). Buddy played a similar kit from 1967 to 1974, during which time we UK drummers were able to witness the master live for the first time on his legendary annual concert tours – and our lives irrevocably changed.
Preston recalls: “I bought the kit in 2006 from a retired drummer called Keith in London who loved Buddy to bits. He had bought it new, in Wales in 1974, with the original hardware, so I had the purchase receipts with serial numbers. It came with all the original heads, a set of Zildjian As and a Ludwig 400 snare.
“He loved this set but he had fallen on hard times and he was asking very little for it. He told me he was selling it to raise funds for a new TV. So I gave him another £250 on top of the asking price for a TV set and he was knocked out.”
The kit is the classic Buddy Rich set-up: 24"x14", 13"x9", and two 16"x16" floor toms, with 14"x5½" Artist snare. The drums are three-ply maple-mahogany-maple with solid reinforcing rings. “One floor tom is whiter than the other,” says Preston, “since Keith only played the four drums. It had been in its case for most of its life.
“I got the Artist snare later for £100. Keith had the same one originally, but swapped it for the 400. There’s the original Rocket snare stand, cymbal stands and Rogers Swiv-O-Matic bass pedal (again, the same pedal Buddy played). There’s the bass drum ride cymbal arm, but not the splash cymbal arm, although it has the mounting holes for it.
“The kit is awesome, with a big sound at all dynamic levels, high or low tuning. The whole set is great. If only I could master making shells like they used to! I’ll keep trying.”
“The kit is awesome , with a bi g sound at all dyn amic levels, high or lo w tuning” owner, Preston Prince