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10/25/2007 Entry: "The Spirit of Radio King"

I don't remember if I've mentioned here, but I'm building a snare drum. The Slingerland "Radio King" is famous for drummers. It featured (usually) a solid ply of maple, steam bent into a circle. No plywood here. The snares went all the way across the bottom of the head--not the norm for most snare drums. The bad part is, I'm not really in the position to buy a real Radio King. The style I want is found on ebay, and usually sells for around $600. Heck, Ned at Vintage Drum Center is asking $1100 for his! Too rich for my blood. So here's what I did...

Reproduction Slingerland style "beavertail" lugs are available. I bought some. I found a solid ply maple shell from Vaughncraft. Slingerland style "Stick Saver" hoops are available, so I bought those. Slingerland three point strainers sell for $100, and that's a reproduction--just for one side! I bought a new Leedy "Broadway" strainer AND butt for $75. So I'll have all the features I want, but spend about 1/2 what a true vintage Radio King would sell for.

For the last couple of weeks, my drum student Ian and I have been working on the project. Last week, we laid out the lines for drilling the holes. This week, we did the drilling. Next week, we'll apply the wrap, and finish it up. But here are the results so far.

1) A picture of a gorgeous 1930's Radio King

2) A picture of the Spirit of Radio King

I'm really pleased with the results so far. Ian thinks it looks good too.

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