About a year ago, I stumbled on an image of this drum, tucked away in a garage next to a mid-70s era Ludwig Vistalite bass drum. It was nearly impossible to tell what kind of condition they were in. But I knew they were vintage Ludwig and the adventure began.
When I met up with the owner, she mentioned the drums were given to her by a former roommate who inherited them as "decorations." She was asking $100 for both. And when I saw the complete mess they were, I offered her $10. She accepted the cash and we parted ways.
It's clear from the before pics that Ludwig Supraphonic has seen much better days...but I was determined to bring it back to life. The drums sat in an open garage for years. The salt marsh air of Beaufort, South Carolina was particularly unforgiving. Fast forward, after sourcing period-correct parts over a period of months, I was ready to begin restoration.
I did everything feasible to clean up the salty chrome, but it was really beyond saving. So three decisions came to mind: 1) send it out for rechroming, 2) strip off as much of the chrome as possible and leave it "raw," 3) have fun and "rat rod" it as a player drum and apply a powder coat. I went with door number three!
I'm very pleased with the outcome, keeping the finish in a "Ludwig family" of colors so to speak...a muted black powder coat that nods to the "Blackrolite" yet retains the center bead of the shell in chrome. Surprisingly, the Imperial lug casings cleaned up rather well...still signs of pitting, but what character and what a story!
Check some before and after photos of this fun drum restoration project!
Vintage FM Drums | Specializing in vintage drum restoration, drum repair, drum rewrap and drum sales | firstname.lastname@example.org | (860) 877-3609