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Old 10-09-2009, 06:13 AM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Default "Is my Ludwig Brass??"-Lets Clear this up

This should get posted as sticky or to an FAQ of somekind, because to be honest this question is getting a bit tiresome to me, having to see it every few days by someone on the forum that didn't even bother to do a search.

"Is my Ludwig snare brass?" Well....here goes. A Super-Ludwig and a Supraphonic are NOT one in the same drum. All chrome Super-Ludwigs are Brass shells. Period. These drums are MUCH heavier in comparison to the later Supraphonic drums. They made them up until the end of the SMALL round muffler, the old WFL if you will, somewhere about 1962-1963. After which they started making the shell out of aluminum and chroming it. This is where the name changed to Supraphonic. All supraphonics from 1963-1979 were chrome plated aluminum. They pit, corrode, flake, what-have-you when not extremely well cared for. Some refer to this as finish acne. If your drum has this and the chrome is not in perfect shape it is definitely aluminum and NOT Brass. If your drum has a serial number on the small Keystone badge, its is aluminum. After the change to the Blue/Olive badge in the 70's this is where it can get tricky. In around 1978-79 Ludwig started offering the Supraphonic in chrome over brass as well, and later chrome over bronze. There is USUALLY a "B" or "BR" stamped above the LARGE round muffler knob to ID these from the standard aluminum Supraphonic. Again because its not aluminum they are heavier than the standard supraphonic.

Some say there is a test you can do to check for sure, but I don't recommend it because it entails removing a lug and scraping at the lug holes to determine the color of the metal filings. Personally I'd rather not be scraping filings off of my drum, but if you don't care, do so at your own discretion. Weight test is the better way. Also, if the drum has an "AG" ink stamped on the inside or a round label that reads "Reliable Anti-Galvanic" it should be aluminum. This was the name of the company that made the shells for Ludwig and NOT the actual shell type.

As far as the LARGE keystone badge, Monroe and Chicago from the 80's on, the same general rules apply as for the 70's drums.

Why everyone goes to the extreme to have to know what kind of metal their drum is made of is beyond me.....all three types sound great to me, and the difference in sound is negligible. The average Joe most likely isn't going to be able to tell the difference in a blindfolded test with all three types of drums setup, and tuned the exact same way. Its going to sound like a Ludwig, PERIOD.

I know a fellow who swore up and down that an Acrolite drum was inferior to a Supraphonic, (they use the same basic shell, the acrolite has two fewer lugs and isn't chromed though) so we did the blindfolded test with an acrolite, a bronze supraphonic and a regular chrome aluminum supraphonic. He couldn't tell the difference! So what's all the hoopla over what its made out of?

I hope people read this post first before asking this same tiring question again, as like I stated, the question is getting old. BTW, I will state that this is a GENERAL GUIDE and there are always some exceptions and anomalies, so please don't reply back with "hey you forgot about......" its a general guide, not the absolute rule.

Last edited by Ludwig-dude; 08-13-2012 at 09:48 PM.
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