Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ludwig Hammered Bronze Supraphonic

What inspired me to sing the praises of this amazing snare drum, also affectionately known as the LB552K is I had it out recently to allow a friend to try it out. His assessment, like mine, is this is one amazing snare drum.

The main characteristic of this snare drum is it sounds like a wood snare drum in many respects. Tuned extremely high and you get that metal Supra sound that we all have come to love, but at medium tuning, this snare drum could easily pass for wood in a blindfold test.

The one flaw of this drum is it comes stock with the cursed P-85 throw-off. I replaced it with a P-86 Snare Throw-Off (see instructions for how. The reason I went through this expense is I do drop my snares often because I play with brushes and also some Latin grooves that require it.

To reengage the snares using this throw-off model has required me to pull up on the tensioning knob while simultaneously moving the lever into the up (engage) position. This is awkward and can possibly affect your performance unless you play a style of music that infrequently requires you to disengage your snares.

Note: the tensioning knob does work perfectly on this throw-off, and if kept lubricated with a drop or two or 30-In-1 oil after cleaning, is extremely smooth and lets you adjust to just about any tension setting you need. This assumes that you have properly installed your snare wires with proper initial tensioning, centering and good straps or cord.

Although I normally replace my heads with some favorites (see Getting Ahead" and the follow-on Getting Ahead, Part 2"), I have found that stock Ludwig heads work best for Ludwig snare drums. Same for snare wires. Ludwig knows a thing or two about building snare drums!

As a brush player I love the sound I get from this snare drum with either the snares engaged or disengaged. This drum also sings when played with sticks. If you are torn between a wood or a metal snare drum, this is one that I recommend you seriously consider.

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