Thursday, February 18, 2010

Upgrading your Ludwig Snare Drum to a P86

One of the snare drum strainers (a.k.a. throw offs) I intensely dislike is the P85, which came standard on snare drums from the late 60s/early 70s on. The cursed device looks like this:

My reasons for disliking it stem from the fact that it sticks when trying to reengage snares, often requiring that you not only use the lever, but also simultaneoously pull up on the adjustment knob. The P85, like the P83 before it, and the modern P86 all have the same hole pattern. Therefore, the P86 will fit WFL and Ludwig Pioneer snare drums, Acrolites, Classic Maple, and Supraphonics. It will not fit the new Black Magics, the Epic-series, and possibly Rockers and Accent snare drums (I haven't tried the latter, but have heard they will not fit the hole pattern.) I do know for a fact that the P86 will not retrofit to a Black Magic, much to my chagrin.

Here is what the P86 looks like:

If you want to see how one looks, check these links to my snare drums that either came with the P86, or which I upgraded:

There are more on this site, but you get the picture.

One mistake many people make when doing the upgrade is to try using the screws that originally came with the P85, often installing them from the outside of the shell in and using nuts, or leaving out the black washers that come with the new P86. The following photos of my Ludwig Special Edition Satinwood snare drum show the correct way to install it and where the components in the bag go.

What comes in the bag

Inside shot of a wood shell showing the P86 screws

Outside shot of same shell showing where the screws go through the tapped holes in the backplate and a little of the black gasket peeking out (this is a stock Ludwig snare drum)

A close-up of the P86 (note the threads of the screws and a little better shot of the gasket at the right end.)

I hope this clarifies the correct way to install a P-86 for you. Life is too short to struggle with a P-85!


Slideaway said...

Hi Mike,

One question about this upgrade:
The distance between the two attachment scews is the same on both P85 and P86, correct ?

Slideaway said...

Hello Mike,

Just a question about this interesting upgrade:
The distance between the 2 attachment screws is the same on both P85 an P86, correct ?

Mike Tarrani said...

They are identical. Exact same spacing.

Slideaway said...

Oh yes, my bad !
I read the complete explanation after asking...
I also own a Ludwig Satinwood 14x5 snare (#353), it's an amazing drum. Your 6.5" looks great too !

Tom said...

Hello, you say that the distance between the screws is the same from the P85 to the P86, then why will the P86 not work on a Bronze Rocker? I have a 14x6.5 and I desperately want to upgrade.

Mike Tarrani said...

Because the Rocker does not use a P85 - the throw-off on the rocker (and the Accent series is not a P85 and the hole spacing is different.

Dan G said...

Hi Mike, thanks for the useful info. Just to point out though that the original screws from a P85 or P83 (in my experience) can be used ok with this newer P86 Millennium Strainer (from the outside of the shell in). I actually read your advice beforehand, but then as it turns out I actually found it preferable to use the existing fixings whilst changing them over on 2 Supraphonics (a 400 from 1965 and a 402 from around 1980). This was specifically as the new supplied screws with the P86 have a slightly wider thread diameter and they did not want to fit through the existing screw-holes without force (which I wasn’t about to do). So the existing screws worked out fine, no problem, although I did still use those new black washers as you suggested. Which ever way works well is fine though and it is a really nice strainer.