Which LM402?

Neilage

Junior Member
There appears to be an endless number of threads and comments regarding the LM402, however I was not able to find the answers I am looking for.

I am finally able to pull the trigger on a used Supra.
I am looking for a 14 x 6.5 WITH the tone control. I would prefer a Black Beauty, but I don't believe they made BB's with tone control.
I am not up to the challenge of drilling and installing it myself.

Also, I am not sure how to determine if the pre-owned Supras online are Ludalloy or COB. Is there an easy way to find out?
I find deciphering information from the serial #'s to be overwhelming, and I have not found a website with a comprehensive overview of LM402 specs by serial # or year.

Here are links to a few I am considering. (Trusting none of my fellow forum members will swoop in first).

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 
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trickg

Silver Member
Yes.

Get the least expensive one - unless I'm mistaken (and I could be - I'm not an expert on the timeline of Ludwig drums) they should all be essentially the same. Even an older one with pitted chrome is going to sound great. Don't believe the hype that the older ones sound better. They don't. Aluminum is fairly inert, so time won't have changed it like it would for a wood drum.

If the drum is an LM402, I'm pretty sure it's going to be Aluminum, although IMO you'd be getting a better drum if it was COB.
 

jdavis

Member
Older Supras were COB, if I'm not mistaken. If that's the case, they probably changed over sometime in the 60's. Maybe someone can chime in with the details... Getting my popcorn ready! (y)
 

blinky

Senior Member
Inside of my old 402 there was a blue sticker with the word "Ludalloy" on it, if I remember it right.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Not meaning to throw a spanner in the works but my 14x6.5 Black Beauty has an internal tone control.

The LM402 is a great drum also though.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
While I'm a fan of tone control, innovation in drumhead design and external mechanisms (gel, rings, cover-membranes) has far exceeded both the sonic quality, ease of operation, other shortcomings of Ludwigs internal damp'ing mechanism.

My recommendation to the OP would be to get a standard LM402 or LB417 and not sweat the internal muffler.

If you want a more modern/refined take on these drums, check out Dunnette's S2N or Oriollo's Phantom lines.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
Ludwig changed the Supraphonic shells from COB to COA some time in the early 60s, so those are all aluminum shells.

I definitely hear a difference between Supraphonics; I've got one from 1979 that sounds totally different than any other I've played from any era, new or old. New ones sound soft in comparison. Who knows why it sounds better than other ones, but I think the shell is a big larger in diameter than current production, and it does have 1.6mm hoops as opposed to 2.3mm. Honestly I chalk it up to Ludwigs just being inconsistent in general, but Canopus have been chasing a certain Supraphonic sound and have now made at least three different shells to get different Supraphonic sounds, so maybe the bearing edges are different now.

EDIT: I was going to say to just get the cheapest one out of those you listed, but I wouldn't pay 700-900 bucks for an old Supraphonic. There are tons of them out there and I wouldn't pay more than like 350 for a used one. I got mine for 200 bucks.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I was not aware that Ludwig ever made BB's with tone control.
Similar, I wasn't aware that they weren't a common feature on Black Beauty's until now.

I bought it from a previous owner so I don't know the backstory to the drum but it doesn't look to have been fitted retrospectively.

That may or may not be the case but I'm glad it's there regardless.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
This is a good reference on the LM400. I'm sure much of this info applies to both:

Those prices all seem pretty high to me though. $800 and more for an 70's-80's Supra?
You'll have to find a 60's supra to find a chrome over brass LM402. I believe they use different part #'s for the modern chrome over brass options.
You want vintage for sure? Many say there's not much gained with a vintage supra. In your shoes I'd get this: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LB402BN--ludwig-super-ludwig-chrome-over-brass-snare-drum-6.5-inch-by-14
 
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Neilage

Junior Member
This is a good reference on the LM400. I'm sure much of this info applies to both:

Those prices all seem pretty high to me though. $800 and more for an 70's-80's Supra?
You'll have to find a 60's supra to find a chrome over brass LM402. I believe they use different part #'s for the modern chrome over brass options.
You want vintage for sure? Many say there's not much gained with a vintage supra. In your shoes I'd get this: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/LB402BN--ludwig-super-ludwig-chrome-over-brass-snare-drum-6.5-inch-by-14
I am not committed to vintage as much as I am committed to the tone control, which seems to be predominate in the early to mid-80's Supras.
I have tried gels, rings and other dampening solutions over the years, but to me, the tone control on my childhood Acrolite provided the best versatility.

I would be incredibly grateful to anyone who might provide a link to a Black Beauty with tone control for sale.
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
It seems that all of the modern Black Beauties (70s brass and 80s bronze, and later 90s brass) had the tone control up until Ludwig discontinued putting a tone control on their snares. I don't recall exactly when they did that (late 90s probably) but they made quite a few BB's up until that time, so I'm sure one will come up for sale eventually. Sadly, probably at quite a premium; the 70s brass drums are extremely collectable, and the 80s bronze BB's have quite a following too.

I understand not wanting to add a tone control yourself, but I think a drum store or music instrument store with an instrument repair department could do it for you for a whole lot less than waiting for/finding/paying for a collectable vintage drum.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Get whichever one sounds best to you. The first top end snare I ever got was my 1984 402 for £100 15 years ago, still got it. I'd advise against brand new they're a rip off. The older snares have 1.6mil hoops new ones have 2.3mil hoops which does effect the sound.

As regards the internal muffler, there's far more reliable ways to muffle the drum. The muffler comes loose with playing. You can buy an external muffle clamp which will do the same job but will stay put.

Sounds like a drum have just done a cool muffling vid. They used a acro for the vid. Have a look on youtube.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
I disagree. I don't think I'll ever buy a snare again without internal muffler tone control.There hasn't't been anything invented that can replace the subtle turning of a knob to invoke just the right amount of muffling.

Stick with that requirement.

While I'm a fan of tone control, innovation in drumhead design and external mechanisms (gel, rings, cover-membranes) has far exceeded both the sonic quality, ease of operation, other shortcomings of Ludwigs internal damp'ing mechanism.

My recommendation to the OP would be to get a standard LM402 or LB417 and not sweat the internal muffler.

If you want a more modern/refined take on these drums, check out Dunnette's S2N or Oriollo's Phantom lines.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
+1000. Tone control should be a feature on every snare made.

I am not committed to vintage as much as I am committed to the tone control, which seems to be predominate in the early to mid-80's Supras.
I have tried gels, rings and other dampening solutions over the years, but to me, the tone control on my childhood Acrolite provided the best versatility.

I would be incredibly grateful to anyone who might provide a link to a Black Beauty with tone control for sale.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
I was not aware that Ludwig ever made BB's with tone control.
My '89 BB is a Bronze shell, and came with a tone control. A tone control is an option today, but "standard" is no tone control.
Ludwig snares all had the tone control until they became unwanted sometime in the 90's or so.

A COB shell will be heavier than the Aluminum 402.

The big sound difference between "years/eras" will come with the 1.6 mm hoops, compared to todays 2.3 mm hoops.
Having 2 402's side by side, you can tweak the tensioning and make them sound almost the same--natural shell to shell differences aside.
I tuned up a standard 402 against my Hammered 402 with totally different heads, and got them to sound REALLY close.
I was actually pretty surprised.
When it came down to it, they both sounded like a 402.
 

danondrums

Well-known member
Yeah. I totally get you on the tone control. I'd get a new a snare and pay a pro to fit it with tone control if you can't get it on a new one. I definitely appreciate it as a feature. Dampening from the inside is great.
 

Invicta

Junior Member
I must be the only person in the world that doesn't like that snare. I have a ludwig coliseum snare that is my fav ludwig snare. Super thick 6 ply maple/polar shell, 14x8, chrome, 12 high tension lugs, it's a beauty.
 
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