Ludwig Supraphonic Chrome Damage

bodhran

Active member
I saw that the snare side head was torn on the bearing edge.
When I took off the head a chunk of chrome came off too, about 3/4" long.

Please see the attached picture...

What is recommended the fix for this type of damage?

Thanks.
 

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Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Flaking/peeling/pitting chrome is a pretty common pitfall with Supras. With it being right on the bearing edge on the snare side I'd make sure there isn't anything rough or sharp remaining and just carry on with life. There really isn't any way to prevent it and most folks just ignore it or completely strip all of the chrome off and paint or re-plate the drum. With such a minor flake in an unseen area I'd ignore it personally.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Maybe you could level it out with some clear acrylic or some sort of epoxy. Does it effect the tuning any? If not, I'd smooth the edges and leave it.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
What is recommended the fix for this type of damage?
You can either add material to fill the void, or remove material to smooth out the transition. I'd personally recommend the former, and using something like Cyanoacrylate as you would when doing a drop-fill.

The issue Supra owners face is that you cannot chrome aluminium, and the intermediate copper layer tends to be wholly insufficient given ample time and atmospheric conditions.
 

bodhran

Active member
You can either add material to fill the void, or remove material to smooth out the transition. I'd personally recommend the former, and using something like Cyanoacrylate as you would when doing a drop-fill.

The issue Supra owners face is that you cannot chrome aluminium, and the intermediate copper layer tends to be wholly insufficient given ample time and atmospheric conditions.
Yeah, I was worried that just sanding the edges might lead to further chipping/flaking of the plating.
I believe I will try the super glue method and do a drop-fill. My experience with guitar finishes should help.
That chrome plating is thinner than paper!

Thanks guys!
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Yeah, I was worried that just sanding the edges might lead to further chipping/flaking of the plating.
I believe I will try the super glue method and do a drop-fill. My experience with guitar finishes should help.
My thought is that, if you begin with the highly-viscous stuff, it might also serve to arrest the further development of the flaking in that area.

Bermuda,

Did any of the Ludwig guys talk about the cause of your issue? I've often wondered if the quality of US based chrome-jobs has suffered due to our (necessary) environmental regulations on electroplating. I had to give up on a Goldtone cowbell that needs to be re-plated with brass. The one retail shop that remains will only do brass horns/wind-instruments. I even considered the DIY approach, the time and effort to do it right for a single cow-bell gives me pause.
 
Yours doesn't look bad but the damage on the head was exactly at that spot? I've debated stripping the chrome and polishing the shell but the flakey bearing edges have never damaged a head so far, so maybe I should just leave it alone..
88169
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
That flaking & pitting is shocking to me. Those drums pictured look like they’re DOA. What a shame.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Wow, those drums look horrible. One would think by now, if this is a common issue, Ludwig would have sorted the problem. Especially if a touring pros instrument looks like that. I realize it's the sound that is important, but that's just terrible for something that doesn't live outside.

Bermuda, your snare is atrocious (no offence to you intended). Has Ludwig seen your snare? If I was them, this would be a major embarrassment. This thread, and the 3 snares involved, have just convinced me to never buy a chrome played Ludwig snare. Looks are important too.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
It's not Ludwig's fault per se, it's that aluminum and chrome are incompatible metals. There's a layer of copper that allows the plating to take in the first place, but it's often not permanent, as one can plainly see here. Why some drums seem unaffected for decades while others pit and flake almost immediately is a head scratcher to me.

But that's why everyone else (that I'm aware of) that makes aluminum shells lacquers or anodizes instead.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If it was any other company besides Ludwig.....between the P-85 and the pitting on their arguably most popular snare of all time, they would have been laughed out of the industry. As it is, people just accept the flaws as OK, which isn't OK.

Ludwig needs to be embarrassed into action at this point.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
"At this point?" The chrome over aluminum Supra is coming up on 60 years old at this point. I think the potential problems are so well known and documented by now I think virtually everyone buying one realizes what they're getting into.

And the chrome plated Supra just flat out sounds different than unplated shells. I think if that sound could be duplicated another way the Supra would have died out or changed with the times instead of becoming one of the most played iconic snares in history.
 
It's not Ludwig's fault per se, it's that aluminum and chrome are incompatible metals. There's a layer of copper that allows the plating to take in the first place, but it's often not permanent, as one can plainly see here. Why some drums seem unaffected for decades while others pit and flake almost immediately is a head scratcher to me.

But that's why everyone else (that I'm aware of) that makes aluminum shells lacquers or anodizes instead.
The fact that some Supras are virtually unaffected for decades is interesting, to say the least. My 1967 Supra is virtually flawless. Go figure.
 
Has it lived its life in a dry climate?
I bought it used in 1994 very cheaply, but I obviously don't know its entire history. I have kept it in a temperature controlled environment, having lived in the Mid-Atlantic states with it ever since, but never really exposed it to salt air.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I bought it used in 1994 very cheaply, but I obviously don't know its entire history. I have kept it in a temperature controlled environment, having lived in the Mid-Atlantic states with it ever since, but never really exposed it to salt air.
Well maybe there have been several different people doing the chrome work, some who are more thorough. Because the mid-Atlantic region is pretty humid.
 
Some of it I would imagine he has to do with quality control procedures. But as stated earlier, chrome plating aluminum it's not really practical, and I know at one point Ludwig utilize some sort of anti galvanic bath to prep the aluminum . Beyond that I'm not really sure what the procedure was all about.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
But as stated earlier, chrome plating aluminum it's not really practical, and I know at one point Ludwig utilize some sort of anti galvanic bath to prep the aluminum . Beyond that I'm not really sure what the procedure was all about.
It probably was a method for eliminating the formation of aluminium and copper oxides prior to the chrome being applied. The solutions to the issue are fairly straightforward, and either involve eliminating the atmospheric oxygen, or eliminating the oxides immediately prior to electrolysis via clever chemistry. I imagine filling part of a factory with Argon gas would be prohibitively expensive, though cheaper than plating the instrument in outer space.

I wonder what their process was. Likely some sort of sacrificial immersion film like Zincate.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I imagine filling part of a factory with Argon gas would be prohibitively expensive, though cheaper than plating the instrument in outer space.
Yeah you don't want to do that. Argon is heavier than air, and while it will settle in low lying areas, high concentrations in enclosed areas can potentially kill you by asphyxiation.

Does aluminum allow for other types of plating, such as nickel?
 
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