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  #1  
Old 05-24-2012, 12:25 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Restored Bass Drum

A few weeks ago, I realised that I wanted a 20" bass drum. Specifically, I wanted something 'vintage' and so I started looking on eBay and other sites to see what appeared. I was after a Premier or equivalent bass drum, probably from the 1960s, with re-rings.

I found a shell on eBay for 12, the hoops for 12 and the hardware for 12. I thought that it was definitely worth a punt and although the final cost (after buying heads and materials to re-finish) was higher than I perhaps wanted, I'm very proud of the final result.

I wanted something that would be a close match to my Tamburo Ash drums, which are almost and orange stain. The bass drum had lighter hoops against the stain so I also wanted to replicate that. The shell was originally a white marine pearl but the seller had removed the wrap because it was in very bad condition - leaving behind glue residue all over the shell. In the end I had to use very strong solvents to remove it!

The hoops were painted, so they were stripped and sanded. Everything received a very light French polish after staining - with the shell being stained twice more than the hoops. Re-assembly was a little tricky and the tension rods needed a lot of persuasion. Next time, I'll fully lubricate everything!

I'm very pleased with the final result. The shell is an old John Grey 'Broadway' from the early 60s (I think) and was the 'budget' range, with the only difference being the number of lugs. The full 'Broadway' kit had concert toms with the higher end 'Aristocrat' having double-headed toms. They're great drums. John Grey made some great kits and the chrome work was just phenomenally good - I haven't done any work on the chrome at all, not even a polish! It's a 3-ply, with 6-ply re-rings and rounded bearing edges (that needed some more rounding and wood filler!)
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2012, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

That is really classy looking. Great job.
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Old 05-24-2012, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Nice work. I've been meaning to do the same but not sure i have the time. How long do you guess you spent on this?
Also, what is the metal nipple sticking out the top of bass drum near the badge? Cymbal mount?
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

In total, probably about nine hours split over two days in very good weather.

I'm not entirely sure. It may have originally been a tom mount or a cymbal mount. It uses the same 'nipple' as the two bass drum spurs but the nut that screws in to tighten is very weak so I've just kept the metal protrusion on and used old-fashioned hoop-mounted bass drum spurs and a pair of front-mounted spikes to keep it from wandering.

Stripping the glue from the shell was the hardest part. It required most of a bottle of 'Nitro-Mors' varnish stripper and a metal scraper. It just took a lot of patience and mess but it came off ok and then I sanded the whole thing back with three grades of sandpaper. The hoops got the same treatment but they were painted originally - rather nicely, actually but they were not in good visual shape.
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Yes, nicely done. It appears to be a good match for the ride tom. Diggin' the Guru snare as well!
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Old 05-24-2012, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Looks great!

I like it.
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  #7  
Old 05-24-2012, 01:54 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

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Originally Posted by BigSteve View Post
Yes, nicely done. It appears to be a good match for the ride tom. Diggin' the Guru snare as well!
It's quite a bit darker in reality than the rack tom but it fits well enough together for what I wanted. I'm really getting into this. I really can't fit any more drums into the space I have but it's sorely tempting to buy old shells and just restore them all. It's addictive and the satisfaction is just phenomenal. I just went back into that room and grinned for about two minutes.

The Guru snare is just fantastic. I adore this snare - it can do anything. It's steam-bent oak with integrated re-rings and slightly rounded edges. 14"x5". Just phenomenal. I've played quite a few of the drums that Andy and Dean have made, in different sizes - including the famous 'prototype' and I can genuinely say that they are the finest drums that I have ever seen and most likely ever will see.
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Old 05-24-2012, 02:02 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Nice job, very well done.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Very nice work there. There's a definite "soul" one taps into, with a resto.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
It's quite a bit darker in reality than the rack tom but it fits well enough together for what I wanted. I'm really getting into this. I really can't fit any more drums into the space I have but it's sorely tempting to buy old shells and just restore them all. It's addictive and the satisfaction is just phenomenal. I just went back into that room and grinned for about two minutes.

The Guru snare is just fantastic. I adore this snare - it can do anything. It's steam-bent oak with integrated re-rings and slightly rounded edges. 14"x5". Just phenomenal. I've played quite a few of the drums that Andy and Dean have made, in different sizes - including the famous 'prototype' and I can genuinely say that they are the finest drums that I have ever seen and most likely ever will see.
I may have to try this route for adding to my Gretsch bop kit. I would like a 20" or 22" bass drum and a 16" floor tom so I have some options. Buying extra pieces from Gretsch is incredibly expensive so this might be the way to go, not only for the savings but also for the enjoyment of doing it yourself.....I'm with you on that.

I really would like to try a Guru snare....going to have to save my duckets for that one.
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

It's a lot of fun if you take the time over it and try to get it right. This one isn't 'perfect' but it's been done to the best of my abilities and it's only the second time I've ever stained anything. The light French polishing makes a big difference to the appearance of the drum too in my view and isn't too hard to do provided you have a clear day and a bit of patience. Getting a high-gloss French polish is very hard work indeed.

I think it's definitely the way to go if you want to add to your Gretsch. Getting the finish as close as possible is half the fun!
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Great job on that bass drum and beautiful kit too. Congrats.

Now.. a question... you don't turn on the heating that close to your drums, do you? I don't know, maybe it's harmless, but it's something that I personally fear!

Cheers!
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2012, 06:42 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

No, I always have the heating off. I really don't like central heating or radiators so there's no danger there!

There's a very long story attached to my hatred of radiators that comes from when I was at school, in Latin classes and being made to sit next to one. Not an experience I enjoyed!
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:06 AM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Does it sound as good as it looks?


(it looks great)
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  #15  
Old 05-25-2012, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
Does it sound as good as it looks?


(it looks great)
It sounds very much of its era. Think old-fashioned Jazz bass drum sound - like Elvin Jones in 'A Love Supreme' and that's what I was going for with the tuning. I'm still working on it but it definitely doesn't sound 'processed' like a lot of modern drums do. I had some trouble tuning it but with six lugs, it is very responsive to the slightest turn!

Thanks, as well. I'm proud of this one.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Wow!! Looks fabulous mate. Very vintage feel to it indeed. Being a bass drum I take it it plays well with the other kids?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
No, I always have the heating off.
Even in the depths of a UK winter? Hope you own a polar suit.
Not that it matters at the moment. I hear you were all turning on the air conditioner yesterday......30 degrees, yeah? Tropical heatwave!!
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  #17  
Old 05-25-2012, 03:34 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Air conditioning? In the UK? Nobody has air conditioning! It was humid though but I live near the Thames so that doesn't help.

I have a polar suit. It's called being about four stone overweight. The most effective coat you can possibly have but amongst the more expensive.

Incidentally, this is what they looked like before I got busy. These are the seller's photos from eBay. That slight 'hazing' on the bass drum surface is all of the glue that I had to strip off!
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  #18  
Old 05-26-2012, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

That is absolutely gorgeous. I do a lot of drum refinishing and it can really be tricky with older shells. Very nice work. How does it sound?
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:30 AM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerboyfitz View Post
That is absolutely gorgeous. I do a lot of drum refinishing and it can really be tricky with older shells. Very nice work. How does it sound?
Like I said, like a vintage bass drum. Hard to describe really but fairly resonant but quite 'hollow' - like an old-fashioned 'Bop' bass drum. Which is exactly what I was going for. It's a very decent shell but just took a lot of time to sort. Thank you for your words.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Restored Bass Drum

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post

There's a very long story attached to my hatred of radiators that comes from when I was at school, in Latin classes and being made to sit next to one. Not an experience I enjoyed!
Heck with the drum, this is way more interesting lol. If you don't tell it, I will be forced to taunt you with radiators....any way I can!
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