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Ludwig Supraphonic with 8 lugs on Reverb

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For Ludwig buffs: I know the 10-lug Acrolites have been discussed already on this forum, but I had never heard of an 8-lug Supraphonic until I saw one on Reverb this morning. It stands to reason, of course, since the aluminum shells are the same; I just thought it was very interesting.

Unfortunately, the shell is full of acne and the bottom hoop may be a replacement. $549.

To find it, the title is "1964 Ludwig *8 lug* Supraphonic 5"x14" Snare Drum Serial #85742" Seller is Wood & Weather Drum Shop.

Regards, Marty Black

Posted on 1 year ago
#1
Posts: 5173 Threads: 188
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Saw it and I didn't realize they existed, either! -learn something everyday I guess! First thing I thought was that someone had done a bad chrome job on an Acrolite shell and then replaced the butterfly lugs with Classics...Then I thought maybe someone (late on a Friday) at the Ludwig factory grabbed a chrome shell and drilled it for an Acrolite....and then didn't know whether to make it an Acrolite with a chrome shell or a Supra with 8 lugs....and decided on the Supra option. Who knows? I'll bet it sounds great.

"God is dead." -Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead." -God
Posted on 1 year ago
#2
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Ludwig didn't make the shells for the Supras and Acrolites. They have always been made by an outside vendor. The holes in the shell are punched, not drilled and as far as I know, they are punched by the manufacturer of the shell. The shells are supplied to Ludwig and they are polished in house before being sent out for plating. The explanation I have heard on the odd lug number Supras is that there was an error made at Ludwig and a number of 8 lug Acrolite shells were mistakenly sent to the plater so they ended up with chrome plated shells with 8 lugs. Ludwig being Ludwig, they just assembled the drums and shipped them out. Some customers probably noticed, complained and got swapped out with 10 lug Supras, others either didn't notice or didn't care so a fair number of the 8 lug Supras survived.

Posted on 1 year ago
#3
Posts: 617 Threads: 7
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What's a "fair number" of mistakenly chromed acro shells? Where did you get your info?

Posted on 1 year ago
#4
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I don't remember where I heard it but it seems very plausible given all of the other out of spec things Ludwig has done over the years such as Supras with Bowtie lugs, Blackros with Imperial lugs. When I say "fair number" I am referring to a fair number of the 8 lug Supras survived. I have no idea what the actual number is but I have heard of 8 lug Supras and I think I have seen pictures or auctions for one or two.

It would be a very easy mistake to make. The shell vender delivers a load of prepunched Supra and Acro shells. Either the supplier mislabeled a pallet or two of shells and a Ludwig employee didn't catch the mistake, they get polished and sent to the plater. Or some new Ludwig employee makes a mistake and gives the guy at the polishing machine Acro shells rather than Supra shells. I would guess that the number was probably high enough that The Chief or Sr didn't want to throw them all out so made the decision to send them out and deal with any complaints if they came in. Obviously not a very high number because these things are definitely not common.

There is a home movie that The Chief took in '64 and a factory tour from the last 10 years or so that show the exactly same thing happening to Supra shells. Shells with holes already punched in them are polished on a massive buffing machine. The worker holds a pipe through the shell to allow it to spin against the buffing wheel as the shell is polished. I don't think Acro shells wouldn't need to be polished because they didn't get plated, although the early keystone ones might have been due to their shinier finish, but looking at a raw Supra shell and a raw Acro shell, the only thing that sets them apart is the number of lug holes...

Quite a number of scenarios can lead to someone making a mistake and the economics of scrapping the shells, the disruption to the output of Supras could easily explain why there are any 8 lug Supras.

Posted on 1 year ago
#5
Posts: 617 Threads: 7
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I've seen three 60's 8 lug supras, and a couple post 1988. I don't think the numbers issued are more than a handful much less a whole "batch" of drums. Eight lug Supras just aren't that common.

The late 90's eight lug Supra I owned was a one-off error, I was told by the Ludwig employee who sold me the drum.

Having talked with Mr. Ludwig about vintage stuff a lot, I think If Ludwig got a whole order of mistakenly drilled shells they would have returned them or scrapped them.

An occasionally misdrilled shell would have been built and sold.

Posted on 1 year ago
#6
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