Question about rubber gasket under imperial lugs

cdrums21

Gold Member
I just bought a new Ludwig 6.5x14 hammered bronze snare drum. I noticed that there are black rubber "gaskets" underneath the imperial lugs. This is a relatively new item I guess, but my question is, has anyone noticed any kind of "muffling" effect from the gaskets? Has anyone removed them and noticed a difference in sound? The drum sounds great, the hammering removes some of the ring and dries the drum out a bit. I also have die-cast hoops on it so it has a very clean, smooth sound. I just wonder if removing the gaskets will give me a little bit more resonant tone and is it worth the effort. Anyone?
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I would be afraid of metal lugs against metal shell may lead to some rattling down the road. I would guess, because I haven't taken the gaskets off of my brass snare that the loss of resonance would be minimal.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
I would be afraid of metal lugs against metal shell may lead to some rattling down the road. I would guess, because I haven't taken the gaskets off of my brass snare that the loss of resonance would be minimal.
Hi and thanks for your reply. The lugs have always been metal on metal previously (supras, etc.) they must have just started this trend with the rubber gasket recently. I agree that there is probably a very small difference, if any, but if there is a slight difference which would add a slight bit of tone to the drum, I would remove them to see. I just don't want to go through the hassle of doing it and having it sound the same. I was hoping maybe someone tried it and had a result one way or another.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
I googled the question and found this answer from Ron Dunnett, designer of Ludwig's "The Chief" snare drum, which has the rubber gaskets. A guy wanted to restore an old supra and asked if installing rubber gaskets would affect the sound. Here's Ron Dunnett's reply. I think I may remove them from my drum now after reading this....

>I'm in the process of restoring an old 1966 Supraphonic snare I had sitting around for 20yrs getting in reallllly bad shape but after a good week long cleaning it's back to looking almost new!
>
>Something I'd like to ask you about is why does your shell for the Chief have gaskets under the lugs and no other 400s ever have, even the reissues? Is it just because it's a Ti shell?

No - the gaskets have been appearing under most Ludwig beaded shells lately. I think it is their answer to the gap between the lug and bead.
>
> This will most likely become a studio drum so I'm felt wrapping the lug springs, but should I look into getting some gaskets also? Will it help or hinder the "sound"?

I say it will mute the sound.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Well, after finding the above post on google and an opinion from a master drum builder, I decided to remove my gaskets from under the lugs to see what would happen. Sure enough, there was a difference in sound, and I wouldn't say it was barely noticeable. It wasn't significant, but it did add a touch more resonance to the shell and a little more tone, which I preferred. The drum, with the hammering, die-cast hoops AND rubber gaskets was just a little too dry. I removed all of the gaskets, when placed side by side was a pretty significant amount of rubber stuck to the shell, and the drum had noticeably more resonance. In my case, that's what I wanted and it worked. I guess it could work in reverse as well. If you have a drum that's slightly too resonant, some rubber gaskets might help do the trick. Another question answered!
 

allmaple

Junior Member
Hello cdrums21, I've got them same issue with a Black Beauty. Thanks for posting your info, because it confirms my belief that these gaskets are muffling the drum a bit.
I've recently bought a 100th Ann. BB 14x5. A friend of mine thinks the newer BBs are a different sound. So I decided to compared the two drums. He let me borrow his BB ( an early 2000 model). I tuned them as close as possible to where tune and pitch were the same. (Heads were all the same remo ambass. coated top, and remo snare bottom) I do notice a slight difference however. It's a tad less resonant. I'm thinking it may be the new rubber gaskets that are behind each lug. He thinks the metal they use for the shell may be a little different. Ludwig says it's the same. The shell sounds extremely close to his but I think those gaskets are choking it.
After reading your post, I'm going to remove the gaskets at see what happens. I'll post the results.
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Hello cdrums21, I've got them same issue with a Black Beauty. Thanks for posting your info, because it confirms my belief that these gaskets are muffling the drum a bit.
I've recently bought a 100th Ann. BB 14x5. A friend of mine thinks the newer BBs are a different sound. So I decided to compared the two drums. He let me borrow his BB ( an early 2000 model). I tuned them as close as possible to where tune and pitch were the same. (Heads were all the same remo ambass. coated top, and remo snare bottom) I do notice a slight difference however. It's a tad less resonant. I'm thinking it may be the new rubber gaskets that are behind each lug. He thinks the metal they use for the shell may be a little different. Ludwig says it's the same. The shell sounds extremely close to his but I think those gaskets are choking it.
After reading your post, I'm going to remove the gaskets at see what happens. I'll post the results.
Yeah man, I would highly recommend trying that. I played my drum last night and it sounded incredible. Just the right amount of "ring" with a perfect pop and lots of volume. The rubber gaskets definitely inhibited the drums ability to resonate because I didn't get that sound the night before in the same room. I looked at the rubber gaskets, laid them all out and when it's all said and done, they cover approximately 1/4 of the shell. That's alot! No wonder the drum sounded a little less resonant. Your BB should open up just enough to give you that famous BB brass "ring" with just the right amount of overtones. I think you'll be pleased with the results when the gaskets are gone. Doesn't anyone at Ludwig think of this stuff? They have had an incredible history of great sounding snares...if it ain't broke, don't fix it! Anyway, my gaskets are gone and I'm a happy guy!
 

allmaple

Junior Member
Problem solved. Results: Take the gaskets off! I concluded my experiment by removing all of the rubber gaskets on my Black Beauty and reassembling the drum without them (the way Ludwig did it for years). The drum opened up immediately. It sounded just like the older 2000 model BB which I borrowed for the test. I've included pictures so you can see how much rubber is actually touching the shell. It's as if the drum had a blanket on it. The screws reassembled without any problems. So the gaskets are not needed as spacers as someone had asked. By the way, I found 2 damaged tension lug nut holders (the black plastic piece that holds the lug nut in place) when I removed the lug from the shell. I bent them back, opened the hole a little and reinstalled them.
The drum still looks good and now sounds like a Black Beauty should. I hope this experiment helps others and points out the fact that the drum resonance is changed with these gaskets. Regards, allmaple (and brass)
 

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Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Great thread!

I have thought about the effects of the gaskets before, and thought that they would have a muffling effect on drums.

If it works for a snare it should work on toms too. I wonder if removing the gaskets from rack toms would open them up a bit.

For floor toms and kicks it is probably good to leave them on.

It's kinda strange that Ludwig would add them to drums with such a proven track record. I see that they have also done away with the springs that hold the lugs inserts in place. That may be a good thing.

Good stuff!
 

cdrums21

Gold Member
Problem solved. Results: Take the gaskets off! I concluded my experiment by removing all of the rubber gaskets on my Black Beauty and reassembling the drum without them (the way Ludwig did it for years). The drum opened up immediately. It sounded just like the older 2000 model BB which I borrowed for the test. I've included pictures so you can see how much rubber is actually touching the shell. It's as if the drum had a blanket on it. The screws reassembled without any problems. So the gaskets are not needed as spacers as someone had asked. By the way, I found 2 damaged tension lug nut holders (the black plastic piece that holds the lug nut in place) when I removed the lug from the shell. I bent them back, opened the hole a little and reinstalled them.
The drum still looks good and now sounds like a Black Beauty should. I hope this experiment helps others and points out the fact that the drum resonance is changed with these gaskets. Regards, allmaple (and brass)
Yes! Didn't I tell you! What a difference huh? I'm still scratching my head as to why Ludwig would do that and not even consider the sound consequences. Maybe make it an option or something..... I don't know, but as you visually demonstrated with the gaskets, it's like putting a rubber blanket on part of the shell. I didn't notice one on the butt end of my strainer, I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the pics and I hope this thread is easily found when searching because it's truly a significant find.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
First off, I think Ludwig put them there to reduce the amount of lug splay that all their metal snares have (that's the awkward-looking angle that the tension rods make away from the shell from lug to hoop). When I first saw those gaskets, I wondered the same thing; whether they'd dampen the shell. I'm glad the fine folks here on DW have run the experiment!

On a related note, and since the subject of toms was brought up; shouldn't a drum wrap have the same effect on toms and bass drums if even not more so? I was recently toying with the idea of getting my stained/oiled shells wrapped just for something new to look at, but decided against it because I'm too worried about dampening the shells...
 

jodgey4

Silver Member
Wow, you guys are smart! Is there any chance that not having them could damage the shell somehow? If so, I couldn't really tell from the pictures, but could you cut out the middle of the gaskets so less is touching the shell? Also, does it tune the same? Logically if the lugs are in a different place the then there must be some kind of difference. The the tension screws line up different, couldn't that be a problem? I really want to try this next time I switch heads!
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Yes! Didn't I tell you! What a difference huh? I'm still scratching my head as to why Ludwig would do that and not even consider the sound consequences.
First off, I think Ludwig put them there to reduce the amount of lug splay that all their metal snares have (that's the awkward-looking angle that the tension rods make away from the shell from lug to hoop).

The the tension screws line up different, couldn't that be a problem?

Lug splay is a big problem on LUDWIG metal snares with Imperial lugs, but its mainly visual. Since there's a spring loaded lug nut in those lugs, they will self-align, which was touted as one of the benefits of spring loaded lug nuts compared to the tube style lugs that came b/f them.

Tube lugs are sensitive to lug splay (for obvious reasons). That amount of rubber will dampen the drum, but you also may want it to be damped.

LUDWIG is catching crap for charging premium prices on drums who's tension rods don't line-up, it looks shoddy, especially these days when a $100 Chinese made drum is more accurate.

I would guess LUDWIG could make $ redesigning the Imperial lugs so they fit better (ditch the rubber gaskets), they'd sell a bunch as up-grades and at the same time create more LUDWIG mystique- Old lugs vs new lugs, it'd be a win win.
 
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allmaple

Junior Member
The gaskets are approximately 3/32 so when compressed they're about 1/16 of an inch. This doesn't change the "splay" or the angle on the tension screw much. I have a 14x5 so you don't notice it at all. These imperial lugs are spring-less similar to the Pearl type. I don't know if the spring is advantageous or not. I did notice that the tunning screw doesn't always go through the plastic nut stop/holder. As a result it crushes it. (see pic below). This doesn't happen with the spring type. However the lug nut seems to have enough play to align with the tunning screw easily. As far as modifying the gasket, that's an option. I don't think it's worth it because there's still rubber against the shell and against the center bead which is a big part of the shell design and sound. A thinner Teflon gasket might have been a better option, but I think no gasket is an improved sound true to what a Black Beauty is meant to sound like. I'm keeping them off.
By the way, the shell will most likely get some lug impressions from the metal to metal contact if you take the gasket off. You don't notice the impressions unless you remove the lug. This is the norm for most Ludwig snares anyway. Tension didn't change either. Also the inner bell washer and screw that keep lug to the shell was unaffected and lined up evenly. Everything went back together smoothly. Hope the helps.
 

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Les Ismore

Platinum Member
The gaskets are approximately 3/32 so when compressed they're about 1/16 of an inch. This doesn't change the "splay" or the angle on the tension screw much. I have a 14x5 so you don't notice it at all. These imperial lugs are spring-less similar to the Pearl type. I don't know if the spring is advantageous or not. I did notice that the tunning screw doesn't always go through the plastic nut stop/holder. As a result it crushes it. (see pic below). This doesn't happen with the spring type.


My guess is the plastic nut holder is getting crushed due to lug splay- the rod going in on an angle.

There's just no reason in the 21st Century a $2,000 snare drum should have such ridiculous lug splay. Its a total jack.

Ludwig 100th Anniversary 14 x 5 Chief Supraphonic Titanium Snare Drum (L2008)
 
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cdrums21

Gold Member
I agree Les. You would think that Ludwig would be a little better at the functionality and cosmetics of their drums, especially when other companies have raised the bar significantly. Take the badge for instance. First off, the badge on my Ludwig drum is crooked...really crooked. Secondly, it looks like it was cut from a tin can, just cheap looking. The lug rods have a definite splay due to an improper angle and the lugs don't fit nicely around the bead of the drum. These may be petty things to some, but they are deal killers to alot of guys. Thank goodness their snare drums sound so good. I think they are the best sounding metal snare drums around...just think how sweet they would be if they had a beautifully classy badge bolted on the drum a la DW or the like, and had hardware mounted that fit like a glove. Now THAT would be a drum for the ages that would probably sell twice as well. Are you reading this stuff Ludwig??? Probably not :eek:(
 

allmaple

Junior Member
I think they are the best sounding metal snare drums around...
Absolutely! (and they know it). I think the prices are reasonable for the great sound you get. They make an affordable drum to the average buyer. This may be why they kept it simple and made them cost effective as well. (After all, that's how the lud-a-loy was born, to save on the high price of brass.) Besides, knowing that these snare drums sound so good and the craftsmanship could be better, is more the reason to pick up a used one.
 

Fuzrock

Silver Member
I just ordered a 6.5x14 Supraphonic Chrome Over Brass. According to the stock photo, it should come with the gaskets. As far as looks go, I think the gaskets are a nice addition. I may think differently after the first time I play it.
I've been playing a b-stock Black Beauty without the gaskets. That drum has diecast hoops which I'm sure inhibit the sound of the drum a little. The new COB I'm getting will have triple flanged hoops which usually allow a drum to open up more. I'm wondering if the COB with gaskets and flanged hoops will sound similar to the BB without gaskets and with diecast hoops. Anyone care to guess?
 

allmaple

Junior Member
The gaskets look cool, no doubt, but they definitely change the sound. I didn't like the sound of my BB with the gaskets. If I would have heard my BB with these gaskets, I would never have bought it. I ordered it from a Ludwig dealer I've used in the past (on line). Even the dealer told me to take them off. So after removing them, the true BB sound was there. If you don't have another drum to compare the sound to, it may be hard to tell unless you remove them and hear for yourself the difference. The triple flange hoops open the sound all the way. Sometimes too much for my liking. As far as the die cast hoop, I like them a lot on brass shells. Batter side only. They bring more focus to the rim shot and tuned up high, they pop beautifully. The resonance is changed down a bit and the drum may sound closer to a bronze shell with a bit more ring. It may not be suited for jazz, but works great everywhere else. I heard Carter B. uses this combo a lot but don't tell Yamaha that ;)
 

volvoguy

Senior Member
To really open the drum up, try 1.6mm hoops like the vintage snares.

As for lug splay. Doesn't affect anything but looks.....

-Ryan
 
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