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Old 05-09-2009, 09:38 AM
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The history of Slingerland drums


Very good read here:
Quote:
The Slingerland Drum Company is a historic drum company which is linked to the rich history of jazz drumming. The company was founded by H.H. Slingerland (1875-1946 either Henry Heanon or Heanon Henry and his wife, Naomi (Noni) Solick Slingerland, in 1912. The company started out importing ukeleles from Germany but set up its own production because it could not meet demand. Soon, they produced their own banjos and ukeleles and eventually, also guitars (including electric guitars from 1936 or earlier). Production of drums was started in 1927, in answer to the entry of the Ludwig & Ludwig drum company into the banjo market. The first Slingerland drum kits came out in 1928. For a long time, Slingerland drums were synonymous with such jazz drumming greats as Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and rock drummer Neil Peart used them from 1974 to 1979. Danny Seraphine of Chicago, and Elton John's drummer, Nigel Olsson, also used Slingerland sets widely. The company remained in the Slingerland family until 1970 after Noni and son, Buddy, died. In the 1970s and 1980s Slingerland changed ownership multiple times until it was acquired from Gretsch by the Gibson Musical Instruments company in 1994. Slingerland still exist and offers a variety of drumsets, including Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich signature sets. They now operate from Conway, Arkansas and also produce a series of drumkits there.
Slingerland's most famous product line is the Radio Kings series of drums. These drums were introduced in 1935, and remained Slingerland's flagship snare drums and drum sets until 1957, when the Radio King model briefly disappeared from the product line. Between 1960 and 1962, Radio Kings were reintroduced and remain the premier product for the Slingerland Drum Company. Older Radio Kings are obsessively collected by vintage drum enthusiasts. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich were both Radio Kings endorsers.
The original Radio King snare drum is distinguished by its construction: rather than several plies of mahogany, like most snare drums of the era, a Radio King drum is created from a single piece of steam-bent Maple with solid maple reinforcement rings, which assist in keeping the drum round under the pressure of the metal hardware attached to it, along with the wear and tear drums are regularly exposed to. Single ply wood drums are known for their resonance and bright tone.
Radio King bass drums and tom-toms were made from mahogany with maple reinforcement hoops. These drums are known for their "thuddy" sound; very warm with quick decay.
For most of the company's pre-1970s history, Slingerland's manufacturing process were not standardized in the way that modern large-scale manufacturing companies are standardized. Exceptions exist to nearly every strict product taxonomy. This is due in large part to the fact that parts would often be left over from year-to-year and would be used by workers despite these parts having been officially discontinued from the line. To say unequivocally that "All Radio Kings manufactured between 19xx and 19xx have X finishes and Y lugs" is an invitation to be proven wrong by the existence of an odd hybrid drum.
An interesting departure from the standard Slingerland product line occurred during World War II, when wood was used to manufacture drums parts that had traditionally been made of brass, chrome, nickel and steel. This was due to high demand for metals needed for the war effort. These drums were named the "Rolling Bomber" series, and are also highly collectable.
The popularity of the old Slingerland Radio King snare drum is evident by myriad professional drummers that still use the snare in 2006, despite endorsing other brands.
Slingerland lost its footing in the late 1980s after introducing the Magnum series, and the company folded. In the late 90's, the Slingerland name was revived by Gibson. Slingerland is once again in production, but they use Keller maple shells rather than producing their own. They are struggling to attain market space like they had in the glory days when the Slingerland name was strong and recognizable.
Marching Drums Slingerland Marching drums were produced as early as the 1920s. By the 1970s, the Slingerland marching line of equipment had become very popular in marching band, college and drum corps. During the late 1970s, Slingerland had introduced its TDR marching snare drum with a novel strainer and synthetic gut snare that produced a distincive sound. Another late 1970s innovation were the Slingerland cut-away multi-tenors that were carried in trios, quad or quint arrangements. The cut-away design was first used by the Santa Clara Vanguard under their drum caption head Fred Sanford. Famous drum corps such as the 27th Lancers of Revere Massachusetts, the Pittsburgh Royal Crusaders and General Butler Vagabonds all used Slingerland equipment in the late 1970s, early 1980s. In the early 1980's Slingerland was gaining significant market share but the company was sold and corporate finances fell apart. By the late 1980s, Slingerland had fallen behind technologically, and Ludwig and especially Pearl began to pick-up its market share.

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Old 05-09-2009, 11:00 AM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


They are still around?

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Old 05-13-2009, 09:37 PM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


Hey DER TROMMLER this is Slingerland and I have a question for you I have a few sets of drums one set my favorite one, I bought from my drum teacher in 1972 it's a slingerland 5 piece set, it came straight from the factory to him the badges say NILES ILLINOIS do you know what they are made of or would you know where I can find it out? Thanks SLINGERLAND

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Old 05-13-2009, 10:28 PM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


Here is a link from vintagedrumguide.com which Tainojim was good enough to show us. This is a very in depth breakdown of slingerland woods.


The History of Slingerland Drums

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Old 05-14-2009, 12:11 AM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


Der Trommler Here Are 2 Serial Numbers I Hope They Help

56110 & 55262

Thank You For The Help

Slingerland

  #6  
Old 05-19-2009, 11:18 AM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


OK, can you tell me how many wood plys there are on the toms?

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Old 10-27-2009, 12:11 AM
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Re: The history of Slingerland drums


Very interesting stuff. Thanks for the link Der Trommler and Tainojim. I went to the site, Slingerland, and confirmed I have a 1966 kit.

Interestingly, my bass drum looks like it has a inner ply of maple whereas the toms have mahogany inner plies. I never noticed that before until I saw the pictures of different shells on that vintage site. Apparently Ludwig made three ply drums of maple, poplar and maple in 1968 so I could eventually buy one of those to make a similar sounding double bass kit (one of my future goals).

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