SLINGERLAND SPARKLING BLUE PEARL KIT
The garish fashion of the psychedelic era has passed and we’re back to a classic finish in Sparkling Blue Pearl
“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. facebook.com/newbydrums). “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.”