Michael offers full rebuilds/restorations, parts replacement/upgrades, maintenance and tuning services. If you have an older snare drum that you are interested in having serviced, please contact Michael.
Here are some photos of a couple of projects Michael has recently undertaken.
Mid-70’s Ludwig Acrolite Space Grey
This was a pretty straight-forward job. Mid-70’s Ludwig Acrolite. It was in decent shape, albeit rusty, and not playable. It required several parts including one hoop, a new strainer, snare wires, butt-plate and resonant head. Although the end goal on this drum was to have a gig capable drum, restoring the drum with period-correct parts was also a priority.
After re-assembly and a good careful cleaning and polish, here is the finished product. It looks and sounds great. I gigged with it for about a month and then put it in my snare drum collection, where it now resides resting on its matching vintage Ludwig snare stand.
aka “The Rosebush Special”
This one was pretty rough. It is a 1960’s era Japanese drum made by Norma. It is a 6 lug, 14″ X 5″ wood snare that was given to me by my friend and band-mate, Jeff Rosebush. It needed just about everything.
Quick History Lesson: “Norma” was a US brand name for the Japanese company Taisco. Most of their drums were sold under the name “Del Rey”. Taisco was primarily a guitar company that also sold an assortment of affordable versions of many instruments that were a big cash cow for them in the catalog sales world. The drums that they sold were typically sub contracted out to fill up mail-order catalogs with instruments. The quality was hit or miss, but in addition to the cheap models, they also produced some great concert-quality instruments.
Plenty of rust to go along with the mold. Hoops and lug screws will be replaced, lugs will be polished, the strainer and butt-plate will be restored as well as possible. I could replace both parts, but the rarity of the drum and lack of parts availability will not be cost-effective, and using newer parts will ruin the vintage look, sound and feel of the drum.
Each lug was removed, then hand polished with Turtle Wax automotive chrome polish. Wear gloves. After a full hand polish, each lug was lubricated and all threads were chased with a well-oiled lug screw.
Time for a bath! On old rusted parts I prefer to scrub them in naval jelly. It’s a pink gooey solution available at most hardware stores. Use gloves. Brush the solution on, get it in all of the nooks and crannies and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes. Longer depending on the amount of rust. Then rinse in clean water. Repeat if necessary.
Gretsch Catalina Club
Here is one of my latest projects, a simple Gretsch Catalina Club maple 14″ X 5″ snare. My brother found it at a local yard sale and grabbed it for me. It was in decent shape overall, a bit rusty in some areas, a bit worn-out in others. It required new Remo drum heads, new Gibraltar lug bolts and snare cords, but other than those few items, everything else was re-usable. Just required a complete disassembly, cleaning, polishing and a general tune-up.
Here is the drum before disassembly.
These is considerable rust on quite a few of the chrome pieces, as seen on this rim. A good scrubbing with naval jelly and then a rinse with clean water will remove it and allow for the re-use of these parts and will keep the costs in check.
Here is the drum completely dissembled and ready for its restoration.
Both hoops are finished and have been treated to a coat of automotive chrome polish. The shell itself has been cleaned, bearing edges were inspected, lightly sanded and dressed with carnuba wax. Once all of the other chrome pieces are done, it is time to start reassembly.
Everything is clean, polished and ready to be put back together. Shown is new Gibraltar lug screws and snare cords. Everything other than these pieces and the new heads has been reconditioned and will be re-used on this drum.