They always say not to judge a book by its cover! This could not be more true after taking a look at this Nov. 3, 1971 LM400 Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum!
From just a glance you would think this snare is a piece of trash and would never sound good. Well, just like anything else in the world of drums the Supraphonic has a very long and interesting history that explains the reason it can look like this.
The Supraphonic LM400 we all know today was first introduced to the market as the Super Ludwig nicknamed the “Supra” in 1958 and was only available in 5” shell depths. Before this point the other times this name, Super Ludwig, was used was in 1928 with a Nickel Over Brass shell and in 1936 available as a wooden shell.
From the time of its introduction till 1963 this Super Ludwig was well known as a chrome over brass shell with brass hoops. If you find the versions of these snares now I would advise you to hold onto them. They are highly sought offer by drum collectors and very valuable.
I digress, starting in 1961 Ludwig changed the Super Ludwig shell material from Brass to Aluminum. This was a huge improvement for the gigging drummers that use this drum. For starters, aluminum is much lighter in weight then brass making it the ideal traveling drum. Additionally, aluminum can be tuned higher then brass can because of how lower in density aluminum is compared to brass. This gave the drummers using it a lot more sonic versatility to work with when on a gig or in a session.
In addition to all the other changes in 1963 Ludwig changed the name from Super Ludwig 400 to the Surpa-Phonic 400 starting it on its legendary status. The name “Supra” goes back the nickname drummers gave it back in the 1950’s.
Additionally, the brass hoops where changed to steel hoops a year later in 1964.
NOW, HERE IS THE GOOD STUFF!!!
Why is my 1971 Supraphonic flaking so much?
Well, one conclusion that I have come up with is that the snare drum was not taken care of too well before I got it causing it to flake much faster then it should have.
Although, either way you look at it, the end result is still going to be that it will flake no matter how much care you put into this drum.
The main reason for this is when they started to chrome plate aluminum Ludwig thought it would be the same as brass. Brass does not need another metal like tin, copper or nickel to help the plating stick but aluminum on the other hand does because by itself it hates the platting process.
Soooooo, this results in some of the 70’ era Supraphonic’s having this problem. I’m not entirely sure when they fixed the problem but you can see now that the newer Supraphonic’s don’t have this problem any more.
Either way these drums have become the go to for a lot of drummers and engineers in the studio or in a live setting because of there projection, versatility and tonal characteristics when put under a microphone or in various live situations.
Causing it to be one of the most recorded and used snare drum in history along side it’s big brother the Ludwig Black Beauty
This has been one of my dream snare for a long time and it’s nice to finally be able to treasure one of my own for many years to come.
Well that’s all from me. Have an amazing day and remember to never stop learning.
Ludwig 1971 Supraphonic
10 lug configuration
Chrome platted Aluminum
rounded 45-degree bearing edge
Batter head: Ludwig Weather Master
Rezo head: Hazy Ambassador snare side
If you have any questions regarding anything of these things talked about or have something to add don’t hesitate to leave a comment, suggestion or request below.
Additionally, Click some of the back links showed in this article. It will bring you to an amazingly informative website called Not So Modern Drummer.
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NEVER STOP LEARNING!