The gar­ish fash­ion of the psy­che­delic era has passed and we’re back to a clas­sic fin­ish in Sparkling Blue Pearl

Rhythm - - GEAR REVIEW - Words: Ge­off Nicholls p ho­tos: James Cump­sty

“The dru ms have a lovely, al­most com­presse d, melow tone, pr ob­abl y due to their thre-pl y con­stru ction and rounded bear­ing edges” Owner, Peter Wrig ht

This month’s kit is just a few years younger than last month’s (1968) psy­che­delic-era Slingerland and shows how the com­pany moved with the times. In par­tic­u­lar, this Rock 50N kit has 12" and 13" mounted toms, the log­i­cal pro­gres­sion from last month’s paired 12x8s. And the tom mount has moved into the mod­ern era from the decades-old spade mount to Slingerland’s Rogers-in­spired Set-O-Matic with its resin ball-clamp de­sign.

The kit be­longs to drum­mer Peter Wright who’s based in Tring, Hert­ford­shire, and teaches with Drum­sense. Pete re­veals: “The bass drum and toms were bought on eBay in 2015 from a pri­vate seller in Kent. The sizes are 20"x14", 12"x8", 13"x9" and 16"x16", all three-ply shells with clear maple in­te­ri­ors. The sil­ver and black badges run se­quen­tially and in­di­cate pro­duc­tion around 1974.

“What at­tracted me was its over­all con­di­tion. The chrome was bright and the orig­i­nal blue sparkle wrap still looked at­trac­tive but had dulled slightly. It re­sponded well to a spe­cial plas­tic pol­ish/re­viver that ap­par­ently is of­ten used for clean­ing and re­viv­ing plas­tic fish tanks! Now the kit looks spec­tac­u­lar, es­pe­cially un­der stage lights.

“The kit came with a stan­dard dou­ble Set-O-Matic mounted tom holder. This held the toms se­curely but with lit­tle scope for ad­just­ment. Call me fussy, but I like hav­ing the toms close to­gether and not a bus ride apart! Ap­par­ently, Slingerland had al­ready iden­ti­fied this short­com­ing and pro­duced the *Su­per* Set-O-Matic holder in 1976. These were only pro­duced briefly and are hard to find now. I was for­tu­nate to find some­one in

the States pre­pared to part with theirs. Six months later, I bought a Slingerland Hol­ly­wood Ace wood snare drum on eBay from a seller in Mary­land. It was in beau­ti­ful con­di­tion and the wrap ex­actly matched the bass and toms. It’s slightly older, circa 1970, with a beige painted in­te­rior and Rapid strainer. How­ever, the bear­ing edges and snare beds were poor, the snare wires re­fused to sit nicely against the head and kept los­ing ten­sion be­cause the gum-rub­ber washer un­der the strainer lever had per­ished.”

Peter had the drum pro­fes­sion­ally over­hauled by Richard Newby (en-gb. face­­by­drums). “It re­turned a dif­fer­ent in­stru­ment. The bear­ing edges and beds had been re-cut and the snare throw and butt re-aligned with a new rub­ber washer re­plac­ing the old one. It sounded sim­ply sub­lime!”

“I use this snare reg­u­larly now. It pro­duces a taut ‘pop’ with lots of body and cuts through am­pli­fied mu­sic beau­ti­fully. The drums have a lovely, al­most com­pressed, mel­low tone, prob­a­bly due to their three-ply con­struc­tion and rounded bear­ing edges.

“I love this kit and it gets used reg­u­larly for gigs. I’m cur­rently dep­ping for two lo­cal bands and help­ing to as­sem­ble a Tom Petty trib­ute band, Petty Crim­i­nals.”

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