Old 05-31-2014, 10:36 PM
Gamblesman Gamblesman is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: US of A
Posts: 46
Cool "The Great Gambles Adventure"
Hey folks!

So, this is my first post on here. I've scoured this site many times over for the project I'm going to FINALLY start here soon. I figured I might as well join up!

Here's what I'm up to...

I bought a drum kit from a guy I played drums with in high school band. He had told me they were a set of blue sparkle "Ludwigs" that he'd sell me for around $50 or so. He said they needed work...and that they were drums that he didn't ever really play. This guy came from a small town in my county that's kinda down and out. His home life was rough and the drums were being sold because he needed the money to help take care of his brother and so on...I felt bad for him and I had some interest in doing a fixer upper kit anyway...

He shows up with the drums in his car...I paid him the $50 and started loading them into the back of my parent's truck.

These were NOT vintage Ludwigs...I repeat...NOT.

The drums were indeed a very old blue sparkle wrap kit. The bottom hoops/heads/tension rods were missing. The bass drum hoop that the kit did have was rotted through. The drums had apparently been sitting somewhere damp and I'm pretty sure that every pack of cigarettes ever smoked had been smoked in front of these drums (the odor while sanding the first time was incredible!).

The drums had these old tarnished round badges that said "Gambles Import Corp" with a large letter "G" wrapped around a globe with a large letter "I" in the center...all of the badges except the one on the bass drum were chewed up and bent. There were 4 drums...a 12x8, 13x9, 16x16, and a 20x14" Bass drum.

Despite my apprehention...I bought them for the fifty bucks...and I figured it could be a fun little restoration project. After all...people restore classic cars...why not drums?

So, after peeling off the rotting blue sparkle wrap...(which crumbled and tore off about like a piece of paper) I stained the shells in what I thought (at that time) to be a nice mahogany stain. I clear-coated them with cheap clear spray paint...I painted the lugs black w/gold specks and threw away everything to do with the tom mounts...as it was rusted through...and then it came time to price all of the parts...and then...

It has been a dead standstill up until about now...the price of everything the kit would need was quite expensive for a kid working at subway while in high school. I couldn't afford everything the kit needed...which was pretty much everything but the shells.

I was able to throw heads on the drums...like...one batter head per drum...and I found ways to mount them and play them a bit...(not the bass drum!) and I do find the tone very low and growly...they have a lot of punch... but again...they've sat on a drum shelf in various garages/basements untouched for nearly the last 8 years.

And now that I'm older...and things are better...I'm planning to restore /modify this Gambles kit. I'm also planning on upgrading some of the kit's systems to a bit more modern design and quality. I basically have a set of MIJ shells to start with. All of the hardware will need to be replaced.

I DO love how they sound. I've watched a TON of videos of similar MIJ drums with good studio headphones and I just have this feeling like there's some really awesome drums sitting in my garage in need of a fix up.

The 13" drum is a lost cause as it has gone out of round and was in the worst shape when I bought them. The drum measures 12.5"inches one way and 13.25 the other...or something like that...it's totally out of round. Also...by not restoring this one I drive the cost of the kit restore down a bit.

I plan to firstly sand the shells down and strip all of the clear coat and stain from the exterior of the shells. The shells of the toms are 3 ply Philippine mahogany and the bass drum is the same type of wood with 4 plies. I'm going to fill all of the old mount holes on the tom, floor tom, and bass drum using hard wood dowels...

In the inside of the drums I want to sand the black (I painted over the gray w/ black) paint off as much as possible and then I'm going to do the first crazy thing...I'm going to add a very thin ply of either Maple or Mahogany to all of the drums. I will finish out the ply and apply a nice matte lacquer finish to the inside. Not 100% on what this will do to the sound...but I know DW is screwing around with maple/mahogany combos...I'm going to do the same with far less quality...but it'll look good.

I plan to re-wrap the drums in all new wraps. Hope to wrap these in black glass glitter from Precision Drum co. out of New York. The drums will then get all new Slingerland reproduction lugs (the same type as the original lugs...the old ones were SO pitted and scuffed) and lug gaskets.

I will replace all tension rods with modern ones and all new chrome triple flanged hoops. New bass drum spurs and the heavy duty threaded vents w/ gaskets will also be added.

The tom mount I'm not going to replace the consolette on the bass drum. I will mount the tom on a snare stand. The floor tom will get all-new brackets and new legs as the old ones were covered in rust.

Of course, new heads will be added and I'm contemplating having the bearing edges re-done or updated. I'm also trying to decide if I want to add re-rings to the inside of the shell...but cost and availability will decide this...

So, that's where I'm at...it's not going to be cheap really...it's going to cost about what 3 of these kits in prime shape would...but I'm going to restore this kit one way or another.

Who knows a lot about Gambles Import Corp. drums? Share anything you know...the info gives me inspiration and ideas! I've read about everything I can find. They seem to be everywhere and yet I can hardly find any information vs their Stewart, Star, and Coronet cousins...

Thanks for listening guys!

I might be crazy!

Last edited by Gamblesman; 02-18-2020 at 04:02 PM.
Old 05-31-2014, 10:45 PM
Dan Boucher Dan Boucher is offline
Vintage Drum Guru
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 3,087
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
Been there and done that many times with many things. And no, you are not nuts. You have a disease. If you keep it to $50 drums sets, you will survive it.
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:02 AM
green glass drum green glass drum is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Austin TX
Posts: 1,867
Arrow Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
Made by Pearl. Stencil Kit.
This VDF site has lots of MIJ info.
Your badge is in the VDF collection.
Post pics of your drums please.
Thanks to Mr. Jerry Jenkins
Old 06-01-2014, 02:18 AM
longjohn longjohn is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 3,462
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
I have seen a few on the web... some with re rings and some without..
Do yours have the rings?? .. sounds like a fun project worth taking on.. and it won't cost anything like Dan's "formidable" house Reno..

Good luck with the project and take lots of pics..

Old 06-01-2014, 02:22 AM
Gamblesman Gamblesman is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: US of A
Posts: 46
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
No rerings to speak of...

I'm noticing a ton of similarities with the Star/Stewart kits...

One of the things I really wish I could replace are the badges...Only one was undamaged...

I'll be sure to post pics soon...
Old 06-01-2014, 06:21 AM
salty 1322 salty 1322 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Port Colborne, Ont., Canada
Posts: 2,237
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
When you wrote "I feel the same kind of sadness for this kit as I felt for the guy I knew", that statement sent out a clear message. You are not crazy at all! Don't worry! You are an empathetic human being with a good heart and a vision. If you can afford to spend the time and cash on this restoration, I wish you the best of luck! I'll go through some old boxes of parts today. If I have anything you can use, it's yours.
Just a drummer who loves all things about vintage drums! Nothing more, nothing less.
Old 06-01-2014, 10:19 AM
kevins kevins is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: North Carolina, U.S.A.
Posts: 6,287
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
You paid a somewhat fair price for the drums as-is.....
The sweat equity and replacement parts will far exceed the final value of the set....barring donations.
I think the best thing about the whole deal was you gave a person in need fifty bucks.....
Just my opinion here, that and a dollar-eighty-two will get you a non Fair Trade cup-o-joe at the convenience store...

BTW, that's one heckuva first post !!
Old 06-01-2014, 11:16 AM
Gilnar Gilnar is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 1,040
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
Hi and welcome! This is a great project you've got yourself into!

I think You can save considerable money by keeping the original lugs, rims, screws and legs. If they're rusty, clean them! I understand You want the kit to look good, but I think all new hardware is unnecessary - you might want to spend the money on something else, like edges, if they are damaged.

again and thanks for sharing this with us. I'm looking forward to tracking Your progress!
Sysl krysu nenahradi!

-196?-72 6ply White Oyster Amati
-1960s 3ply Red Sparkle Amati
- Zildjian, Paiste, Zyn, Istanbul

Old 06-01-2014, 11:19 AM
FFR428 FFR428 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: CT.
Posts: 5,356
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
to VDF. We all like pictures so please post away!! Sounds like a great project and look forward to your progress!!! BTW your not nuts just got bit by the vintage drum bug is all. There's no cure known to man so before long you'll be looking for kit #2.

Not a guru just havin fun with some old dusty drums.
Old 06-01-2014, 11:27 AM
Gamblesman Gamblesman is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: US of A
Posts: 46
Default Re: So, I'm New & I'm Planning to do Something "Crazy"...
Part of my desire to replace all the lugs is due to my younger...less intellegent decision to spray paint the lugs with a can of Wal Mart black...

Not the smartest decision...but that's how you learn I guess

gambles drums , mij , restoration...

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