What's with the rust?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So I have to say, every time I see a vintage Ludwig Speed King, unless it was refurbished or near mint condition, they all seem to suffer from this kind of rusting on that heel-connect piece that runs along the bottom.

Did all Ludwig players back in the day set-up in standing water? Really, I don't understand how this rust can occur. Every time I see player with newer pedals, rust is super-rare. What were these vintage drum guys doing to cause this much rust? Just wonderin' out loud.
 

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STXBob

Gold Member
It might not be anything they were doing. It depends on what that bit was made of. If, for example, it was made of steel, rust is inevitable. It looks like that particular piece is made of sheet steel, stamped into shape then galvanized.

In steel which was poorly galvanized, rust happens almost immediately. Steel which was well galvanized takes longer to show rust. Galvanization being, after all, just a coating of zinc a few molecules thick, it's only a matter of time before it breaches and the underlying steel begins to oxidize.

TL;DR: Stuff is old, dude. Old steel stuff rusts.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
The base of the pedal is steel. There have been improvements in manufacturing treatments since then that prevent rust much better than just paint. Many pedal bases today are made from rustproof alloys or they are rust treated with a primer that is bonded to the metal with electricity. Powder Coating is also popular.
Plating of chrome parts is also much better than it was in the vintage years.
Many drum kits spend most of their life in damp places. A carpet on a concrete floor will contain high amounts of moisture for example.
I think that those pedals held up pretty good when you consider.
I don't really think that Ludwig imagined that 40 years after the pedal was made it would be sold on a website named eBay and called vintage!
 
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Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I have played in the rain twice in 60 years.

If you want that pedal to rust, all it would take is having it get wet one or two times.


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Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
What were these vintage drum guys doing to cause this much rust? Just wonderin' out loud.
Humidity, condensation, change of temperature in the last 40+ years has something to do with it... so unless the owner(s) were pretty careful, it's inevitable due to the material/manufacturing process used in those gone by days.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
What were these vintage drum guys doing to cause this much rust? Just wonderin' out loud.
The pseudo-answer is that 'playing' caused this. The bottom of my speed king looks like electroplate galvanized steel. It's the same process they used to use on those old trash cans everyone had in the 70's. Any flexing cracks the zinc, moisture gets into the crack, the steel corrodes under the zinc, and the zinc flakes off.

At one point, I believe they changed to hot-dip galvanization.... Which isn't really galvanization but is close enough that the term stuck. I believe that hot-dip leaves a flat looking finish and electroplate leaves a shiny finish.

Today's rust-proofing is much better. In the 90's, plasma-coat was all the rage. Now we have powder coat, which is simply awesome.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Then perhaps this was just a design flaw inherent in the Speed King (another one). Because there are examples of old Slingerland Tempo Kings and Rogers Swiv-O-Matics that aren't rusted. I'm telling you, I'm playing this 1977 Tama Flexi-Flyer and other than replacing the bearings, it functions and looks the same as it did when it was new, albeit a little darker. I know, it's not as old as some of these vintage Speed Kings, but it's still 37 years old! Wow.
 

spelman

Senior Member
Then perhaps this was just a design flaw inherent in the Speed King (another one). Because there are examples of old Slingerland Tempo Kings and Rogers Swiv-O-Matics that aren't rusted. I'm telling you, I'm playing this 1977 Tama Flexi-Flyer and other than replacing the bearings, it functions and looks the same as it did when it was new, albeit a little darker. I know, it's not as old as some of these vintage Speed Kings, but it's still 37 years old! Wow.
Tama's Flexi-Flyer! Now that's a quality piece, right there.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I bought a new Speed king in 1970. I kept it for about 25 years. It only had a slight bit of rust on the bottom plate when I threw it away in the metal recycle bin at work in 2006.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I always see people selling clapped out, rusty Iron Cobras. It deters me from buying Tama pedals. You don,t see that with many other brands, especially for pedals that are not that old.

As for rusty pedals, its probably a sign of water damage at some point in the pedals past. Probably playing with wet shoes, or someone with really sweaty bare feet. Overall, its a sign to find a different pedal.
 
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