Having some tuning issues with Ludwig Black Beauty

I cannot find anything on this anywhere on the internet. Anywhere I find anything about the Black Beauty, it's always about how incredible it is (or something about a horse).

So it seems strange that I have a problem. It has only come up recently, and it's to do with the tuning. I've had it for 2 years and it's served me real well until now.

I'm having a serious problem with the screws. It feels like some may have buckled. Certain screws seem to get fully tight after only a few turns and have a nasty scratchy/grindy feel. I tried a bit of WD-40 but things didn't seem to improve. I think the friction is between the washer and the top of the screw is what's making it feel like it's grinding, but why it's getting really tight so soon is a bit of a mystery. Others have plenty of give and have a nice smooth turn until tight. I don't know what to do!

Can anyone identify with this?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
If you've used a bit of lube and they're still tight, then my next question is: You haven't cross-threaded the tensions screws and lugs at any stage have you?

Also, I don't get this:"I think the friction is between the washer and the top of the screw is what's making it feel like it's grinding" Are the tension rods screwing all the way down (i.e. is the hoop flush with the baring edge) or is it getting stuck after a few turns?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Take it apart, all the way, and clean it good. If you still have issues, replace the offending lugs and/or tension rods.
 
If you've used a bit of lube and they're still tight, then my next question is: You haven't cross-threaded the tensions screws and lugs at any stage have you?

Also, I don't get this:"I think the friction is between the washer and the top of the screw is what's making it feel like it's grinding" Are the tension rods screwing all the way down (i.e. is the hoop flush with the baring edge) or is it getting stuck after a few turns?
sorry, without taking a picture I don't think I could explain it any better, and I'm at work at the moment so can't...

I don't think I've cross threaded them, but can't rule it out... It started happening first to the lug / screw nearest to the point that my stick crosses on a stroke or rimshot, but it's gradually happening to all of them it seems. I would always have to keep tightening the one nearest to where my stick crosses the rim as it kept coming loose.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the bottom of the screws have a little green plastic looking inner threading, it's really strange, and again maybe I should post pictures, but it's on all of the top head screws.
 

Chonson

Senior Member
Get a tube of lithium grease - should only cost about $5 and it will last forever. Use it to lubricate the threads. If they're still too tough to turn, replace tension rods. Still too tough? Replace swivel nuts in the lugs.

You may want to try lug locks or something on the lugs where you're doing rimshots.
 
Get a tube of lithium grease - should only cost about $5 and it will last forever. Use it to lubricate the threads. If they're still too tough to turn, replace tension rods. Still too tough? Replace swivel nuts in the lugs.

You may want to try lug locks or something on the lugs where you're doing rimshots.
yeah I've never seen lug locks so I'll get some ordered thanks. Is lithium grease any different to the wd40 I have already tried then?
 

Boomka

Platinum Member
yeah I've never seen lug locks so I'll get some ordered thanks. Is lithium grease any different to the wd40 I have already tried then?
Yes. WD40 is designed to disperse moisture and temporarily lubricate. In fact the "WD" in "WD40" stands for "Water Dispersal", the "40" is because it was the 40th compound they had tried.

Anyway, WD40 will get moisture out of the way and provides an oily film for a short time. The oil it leaves behind is not very viscose and eventually provides little in the way of lubrication. Lithium grease is "greasy" - i.e. it has a much higher viscosity (gooier and slippier) and will perform as a lubricant for much, much longer.

That said, if a little lithium grease doesn't do the trick, it sounds like you may want to replace the swivel nuts and rods as suggested above. It's a bit of work to take the whole drum apart to replace those bits, but it is a Black Beauty afterall, so well worth the time, usually.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Do you have TightScrews for some of the tension rods? They have a channel of green plastic inserted, and that prevents the rod from backing out during play.

Those DO go in harder than a regular rod, but not for 2 years.
They could be too long for the drum, and maybe that's why they stop.
If it sounds like it's grinding, you might be hitting the other rod.

If there is something wrong with "the lug" you don't need to replace the whole lug. You just need a new Receiver Nut (and possibly a new tension rod--both of) which are easily obtained from Ludwig.

A Black Beauty with an Imperial Lug takes a P-2210-R short swivel nut.

If it's a Tube Lug, you might have cross threaded it.
A Tube Lug is a P-2253-E
These parts are NOT expensive if you need to replace them.

Hope this helps.
 
Do you have TightScrews for some of the tension rods? They have a channel of green plastic inserted, and that prevents the rod from backing out during play.

Those DO go in harder than a regular rod, but not for 2 years.
They could be too long for the drum, and maybe that's why they stop.
If it sounds like it's grinding, you might be hitting the other rod.

If there is something wrong with "the lug" you don't need to replace the whole lug. You just need a new Receiver Nut (and possibly a new tension rod--both of) which are easily obtained from Ludwig.

A Black Beauty with an Imperial Lug takes a P-2210-R short swivel nut.

If it's a Tube Lug, you might have cross threaded it.
A Tube Lug is a P-2253-E
These parts are NOT expensive if you need to replace them.

Hope this helps.
That helps a lot thank you!

I don't know how old the drum is because I bought it second hand from ebay. The green plastic parts don't seem to have stopped the rods backing out during play.

The rods do take ages to screw in and it does seem harder and they are pretty long, but this has only been a problem for the past few months, they used to go in alright. Shall I take some pictures?
 

sqadan

Senior Member
FYI... plain old petroleum jelly works just as well as lithium grease... most people have some in their house - I've been using it for 20 years to lube drum hardware and it works great.

Take all the tension rods out and coat them lightly with Petroleum Jelly and then screw them in again wiping away any excess on the outside of the receiver.
 
Forgive me for I have sinned in the area of keeping my Black Beauty clean and pollished... It was only when I started taking photos that I realised how filthy it looks! Anyway...


The grinding I talked about seems to happen here, and that's the green plastic tubing which I assume is normal.


Another thing I noticed is that the bottom head has the nicer rods with a plastic washer and the rubber ring around the screw... Is it possible that the bottom / top head rods are the wrong way around? Maybe the previous owner had them this way by mistake?


The final thing I have now seen is that the screws seem to be at an angle. Is this normal?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
The grinding I talked about seems to happen here, and that's the green plastic tubing which I assume is normal.

Another thing I noticed is that the bottom head has the nicer rods with a plastic washer and the rubber ring around the screw... Is it possible that the bottom / top head rods are the wrong way around? Maybe the previous owner had them this way by mistake?

The final thing I have now seen is that the screws seem to be at an angle. Is this normal?
The grinding is probably just the metal rod head on metal washer. Plastic washers will likely fix this. My '66 400 has no plastic washers, but I've never had a grinding issue. They are stiffer, but that'd be due to it's age. If they screw down to the desired tension, it shouldn't be a huge issue. Can't say I can recall any green tubing on the tension rods though.

My BB has plastic washers and rubber rings on top and bottom rods. It's possible they've been lost. You should be able to replace them.

The splayed tension rods are normal. From memory it's due to the change in the thickness of the hoop, but no change in any of the other hardware. One of the Luddy experts will be able to give you the skinny on this better than I.
 
The grinding is probably just the metal rod head on metal washer. Plastic washers will likely fix this. My '66 400 has no plastic washers, but I've never had a grinding issue. They are stiffer, but that'd be due to it's age. If they screw down to the desired tension, it shouldn't be a huge issue. Can't say I can recall any green tubing on the tension rods though.

My BB has plastic washers and rubber rings on top and bottom rods. It's possible they've been lost. You should be able to replace them.

The splayed tension rods are normal. From memory it's due to the change in the thickness of the hoop, but no change in any of the other hardware. One of the Luddy experts will be able to give you the skinny on this better than I.
ah that's cool thanks very much for your help. Think I'm going to replace all the top rods. Do you know any good suppliers, can't seem to find much online... I don't suppose you'll know of any UK ones either?
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
ah that's cool thanks very much for your help. Think I'm going to replace all the top rods. Do you know any good suppliers, can't seem to find much online... I don't suppose you'll know of any UK ones either?
Your friendly local Ludwig dealer should be able to help. But I'd even try a hardware store to see if they have anything similar. I'll wager they'll be a damn sight cheaper than an official Ludwig peice of plastic too. Take one in and see what you can find.

Can't help you with anything in Old Blighty mate. I'm in the colonies!!

EDIT: Just noticed you said "rods". Luddy dealer will still be able to order them, but I'd be more inclined just to grab Pearl or Gibraltar or the like....they'll be more readily available I would have thought. The hardware store reco, was for the plastic washers.
 
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Bump...

I have swapped the rods from the bottom to the top and the results have been much better. What I've noticed is that one set of rods were longer than the other. So I've put the shorter ones on top.

Could someone tell me a good UK supplier of spare parts like tension rods, lug replacements etc

EDIT: Sorry didn't notice the previous post, thanks for your help... Question still stands about UK though?
 

tightscrewguy

Junior Member
Hey there,

They are indeed TightScrews with the green insert at the bottom!

While TightScrews will be initally more difficult to install and adjust, upon the second and subsequent removals, they will be more easily turned. So TightScrews should not be the hard turning problem.

With regard to the grinding: First, make sure the TightScrews and other rods were the correct length-and not bottoming out. If I remember correctly, the standard tension rod for a 6.5" Black Beauty are about 2 5/8" long. The recommended TightScrew length is 65mm (or 2.5"). So that would account for the length differences.(TightScrews were invented because of a 70's Black Beauty that had terrible de-tuning issues).

The grinding could be caused by a rough and/or rusty surface on the hoop and/or the washer or head of the tension rod. To begin with, you should not have to be turning the tension rods at all beyond initial tuning and adjustment-so generally it is a non issue re: the turning friction at the hoop/tension rod.

If the surfaces are rough, or the tension rods are the incorrect lengths you can replace the rods or hoops or replace them. With all that said, I would take each tension rod (that looks ok) and try installing them one at a time on a known good nut to see if is a rod or insert issue.

I hope that helps.(I got distracted to your post while looking for a good method to clean tarnish off a newly acquired 70's BB).
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I have used TightScrews for years and I swear by them. One of the best drum products ever created. I even made some for my bass drum - the company didn't have the length I needed, so they were really kind and sent me a few inches of the nylon insert material. I used a Dremel to make channels in the bass drum tuning bolts, pressed the inserts in with pliers, and viola, instant TightScrews.

If your tuning bolts or lugs are very dry, that could account for the grinding noise. The nylon may "stick" a little bit, especially if the bolts haven't been used much.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
It sounds to me like the drum just needs a 10,000 mile service. Poor drums getting carted around and whacked all the time. Replacing inserts and such is not expensive and can really make a difference. If you are unsure pay a visit to a drum tech and get him to have a look. A good drum shop usually has one on staff.
 
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