(and even a few of the Real thing!)
What started out as a typical love for vintage drums evolved into a 40 year collection of exclusively, Slingerland equipment. From that point, based partially on extensive research for the book, GK, the idea of a collection replicating as many of Gene’s drums, sets and other equipment developed and continues to grow. Every drum is a true Slingerland in every way, (down to the last screw and washer!) as well as being as precise a replica of something Gene used as is possible. If called a “Copy”, it is all original. If called a “Replica”, it s one that the author has restored/rebuilt.
Following the photos, there is a numbered list of what each image represents.
(1930 to 1951)
1. Copy of the Slingerland Walnut Single-Tension bass drum, typical of what Gene used prior to the end of 1934.
2. Copy of the Slingerland 14 X 28″ Marine Pearl bass drum as seen in 1935 at the Palomar and then, through early 1936, in Chicago at the Congress Hotel). [ALL Original copy drum]
3. Representing the earliest Slingerland tube-lug Radio Kings as shown on Gene’s 1936 publicity photos taken at the Palomar Ballroom in L.A. Gene used that set from the end of ’36 until replacing the toms in mid ’37 and replacing the bass drum in January of ’38. The ‘Real” version of this bass drum is on display at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. [ALL Original drums-This one is actually a rare “LIPSKIN” 12 X 26 and proper ‘S’ stamped T-rods have been put back on but after photo was shot]
4. Exact replica of the entire set Gene used with Benny Goodman as of January of 1938 that he continued using after starting his own band. The only changes were painting out the “BG” initials on the front head art.
4a. An exact replica of the 6 1/2 X 14″ Radio King snare drum Gene used from 1936 through 1940. Note extension brackets have been removed and holes left open. While still with Goodman, this snare was only used with the full orchestra set.
5. Exact replicas of BOTH of the sets Gene used with Benny. The Trio/Quartette set being fairly unique in a number of ways, explained in the book, GK.
5a. An exact replica of the 5.5 X 14 snare Gene used with the Goodman Trio/Quartette. This was a pre-Radio King era drum and retains the threaded #846 lug casings and earlier style rim gates.
6. A copy of one of two complete Radio King sets Gene used as of 1938 into ’39. This had the earlier style “Rotary” mount system for the 9 X 13 tom that was then replaced with a two-stage system discussed in GK. Note that, by this time, shell-mount cymbal holder brackets had replaced the rim-mount models.[ALL Original drums]
6a. Replica of the 5.5 X 14 Radio King snare drum that Gene used exclusively from 1940 to 1945. Consistent with all the photos of this period, the drum was not even built with extension brackets. By that time as it was obvious that Gene would just remove them. This model is what this author refers to as a “Swingster”, Artist model, based on the 1939-’40 Slingerland catalog listing.
7. Exact copy of the first 16 X 20″ floor tom Gene added to his regular set-up. With his research into African Tribal drumming and all the ‘fame’ he garnered from time in the Goodman Orchestra, it was a perfect addition to the 16 X 16 he had been using for years. [ALL Original drum-May have belonged to Hal McIntyre’s drummer].
8. Replica of one of Gene’s Radio King snares that actually WERE his signature model #153. This one is based on one he is shown using in 1945.
9. Replica of the second 9 X 13 Radio King mounted tom Gene started using in 1945. It was not very long before both of those tone control systems were permanently removed.
10. Exact copy of another full set (with the more standard “1285 Ratchet” style tom mount system) that Gene began using as of ’45-’46.
11. Same as 10.
12. Completely different replica set of one of Gene’s ’40’s sets as used from ’41 through ’47 but here, however, presented in the configuration identical to Maurice Purtill’s set when he worked with Glenn Miller. The set was used this way during ‘Jack Million Band’ trip to Clarinda, Iowa and then returned to GK specs.
13. Copy of one of the 9 X 13″ (center-lug) mounted toms that Gene used with the Goodman Trio/Quartette as well as his own Jazz Trio sets. [ALL Original drum]
14. This is somewhat of a “combination” copy of Gene’s first post-War Radio King set. Normally, it would have been his 14 X 26″ bass drum but, in this instance, it is the copy of one of the two small group 12 X 24″ BD’s. Everything else about the set is as he would have used. [ALL Original drums]
15. Copy of typical 5 1/2 X 14 Radio King snares Gene used. Although he had two snare drum models with his name attached to them, from the late ’30’s to the early 1950’s, he seldom used those models. He preferred this model which was, essentially, an un-cataloged model. I have dubbed it a “Swingster” model because that ‘Artist’ model of the ’39/’40 era is the closest to what it was.[ALL Original drum]
16. Replica of the second “generation” of 16 X 20″ floor toms Gene used. Always as the second (back) floor tom with the full orchestra sets, these were a regular part of his full band sets from ’38 until ’51.
17. Replica of the ‘standard’ 16 X 16″ floor tom Gene was always associated with for his entire career. This replica is from the late ’40’s up to 1952-’53.
18. A replica of one of his mounted 9 X 13″ toms. This is an example of the first post-War 13 with the regular “Ratchet” style mount system. Within a year of ’48, that system would be replaced.
19. Copy of his 14 X 26″ RK (post-War) bass drum with special mount system. This mount system was an experiment that only lasted a few years, at most, and is discussed in detail in GK. [ALL Original drum]
20. Copy of his (post-War) 9 X 13 mounted tom with Special mount system in place. [ALL Original drum]
21. Copy of Gene’s third (or possibly fourth) small group, 12 X 24″ Radio King bass drum also equipped with the Special (experimental) mount system. This model 24 was more typical of Slingerlands standard output as it is a 20 lug. Gene first started using this model in ’48.
22. A replica of the second 12 X 24″ Radio King bass drum Gene used. This model bass drum, like it’s eight tube lug predecessor, was never in the Slingerland catalogs. Gene probably had them build these to his specifications because they are 16 lug drums, not the typical 20. His first, of course, being 8 tube lugs. This model was in use as the “center” of his small group sets from 1940 through more than the next decade. It saw quite a lot of activity with his Jazz Trios.
23. A replica of a very specific 9 X 13 tom in Gene’s “arsenal”. This represents what is likely to be his second 12-lug 13 that first appeared in 1945 when he started his new orchestra. Note that it has single-hole casings and the tone controls have been removed but (like the ‘real’ one), the holes were left open. This drum seems to have been another favorite of his because it went on in continued use as the ‘platform’ for the experimental flat bar mount system. The first of two 13’s to get these modifications.
24. A copy of another, of Gene’s 5 1/2 X 14 “Swingster” snare drums. The model he used for most of his career. [ALL Original drum]
25. A replica of the second 14 X 14 floor tom built. Gene’s first Jazz Trio floor toms were both 14 X 14. The first one was made between ’44 and ’45 and was also a 12 lug but with the double hole #547 lug casings. The tone control (as with 90% of Gene’s toms) was removed. This one represents the next one, seen in use during the ’46 Capitol Studios sessions. Built with 12 single hole casings and no tone control even installed.
26. A replica of yet another one of Gene’s “Swingster” snare drums. He used this drum (among others) from ’48 to ’54.
1952 to 1973
27. Another copy of one of Gene’s “Swingsters”. based on a 1953-54 photo of one of his earliest Quartet dates in Las Vegas. [ALL Original drum]
28. A beautiful copy of the marvelous and majestic 20 X 20 Radio King floor tom that Gene began using in the very early ’50’s. For at least a decade, this was his only floor tom except for when on overseas and long JATP tours. A wonderfully ponderous drum! [ALL Original drum]
29. A copy of the more often seen 16 X 16 floor tom that Gene used from ’48 to ’53. [ALL Original drum]
30. A copy of one of Gene’s 9 X 13″ mounted toms that Gene used from ’48 to ’53. [ALL Original drum]
31. This photo is of a bit of drum history, used to represent a different bit of drum history. In lieu of better photos of it, this is a 14 X 24″ Radio King bass drum that belonged to another great drummer/musician Eddie Jenkins. His whole Radio King set came under the care and protection of this author a few years ago. Because it also represents the transitional bass drum Gene had in ’53/’54, it serves to honor both gentlemen. (and, yes, that is a snare Billy Gladstone built specifically for Eddie as a wedding gift!) Although I had the singular honor to use it for a gig, unlucky for me, someone else ‘takes care’ of that beauty!). [ALL Original drums]
32. A copy of Gene’s first “Sound King” 9 X 13 mounted tom. The first versions of this era’s drums (technically, still referred to as ‘Radio Kings’) retained the 2.25 inch hole spacing on the lug casings and both toms and bass drums were equipped with the #566 model casings. Ultimately, however, the toms were changed to the smaller #565 casings whereas bass drums retained the 566’s. It remains that way to this day.
33. A copy (or possibly the “real thing”!) of one of Gene’s 5.5 X 14″ model #153 snares. Possibly, to commemorate the huge design changes that occurred in ’54-’55 for the Slingerland’s new “Sound King” line of drums and equipment.
34. A replica of one of Gene’s many ’59 to ’62 snare drums. More specifically, a replica of what may have been the “Special” #153 that was included in a 1960 Slingerland drum order from Gene. [Note the absence of extension brackets as compared to 31].
35. Copy of Gene’s mid 1960’s 5.5 X 14, #153 ‘Artist’ model snare. He used this model, at times, during the ’60’s as well as the Bobby Grauso snares made for him. Most of those snares also used the ‘Zoomatic throw-off. (Original drum) One of the few true GK snares that still exists was originally one of this model 153 but the Zoomatic was ultimately replaced with his beloved #967 throw-off. As described in detail in my notes about the latest discovery of Gene’s (stored) equipment.
(As DW has now purchased Slingerland from Gibson it remains an open question as to whether this tradition will carry on or not).
To BE Continued……..
….as mentioned, it’s still “growing”. There are still a number of them that have yet to be photographed. Stay tuned!
A few of the REAL Thing!
There are, indeed, some of Gene’s own drums and equipment still ‘out there’ and being well taken care of in private collections. Many of them can be seen in the Don McAulay Room. Like Andy Pryzgonski in Australia, there are a number of avid GK fans who have accumulated fairly substantial collections of all things ‘Gene’ related. One of whom is David Grim.
Few have been lucky enough to see what David has ‘gathered’ through the years but it is a ponderous quantity of stuff! From cigarette lighters to cymbals (with “GK” stamps!), David’s collection is notable. It includes one of Gene’s 24″ ride cymbals, among other stamped crash and ride cymbals. Huge amounts of Gene’s ‘publicity’ and promotional materials, a large volume of photos, on and on. Although most images are included in GK, here are a few pieces in David’s “hoard” (the “GK” stamp is visible at top of cymbal):
Another avid collector is Mr. Joe Lani. Among other ‘famous’ sets and pieces from the likes of Buddy and Bobby Rosengarden, Joe has obtained Gene’s (recently discovered) ’70’s era 12 X 15 Parade snare, one of Gene’s 9 X 13 Radio King mounted toms from the late ’40’s, one of his bass drum pedals, and one of the last remaining snare drums built by Bobby Grauso for Gene.
Here (below) are two of the original 6 X 10″ Radio King mounted toms that adorned every music stand/band front in Gene’s orchestra from 1938 until 1943. Included is the system for how they were mounted to the stands. The straight rods go all the way to the floor for added support. These have the tell-tale holes showing the two ‘generations’ of mounting hardware. None of these drums used tone controls (mufflers) and were played wide open, with no dampening at all.
A Wonderful gift!!
Yet another ‘icon’ of the Krupa equipment legacy, this is one of the two original stand bases that Gene used from the late ’30’s all the way into the late ’40’s. Thanks to the true generosity of Andy Weiss (another great drummer and close friend of Louie Bellson), this was added to the BT collection of genuine GK pieces. The other (mate to this one) is at Pro Drum Shop in Hollywood, CA. (both having come originally from Gene to Andy Florio).