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  #1  
Old 06-01-2009, 02:07 PM
Nid Nid is offline
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Default Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

Hi everybody. I'm new to the community and fairly new to vintage drums.

I've been trying to identify my vintage Slingerland Radio King snare for the last year. I've only been able to get so far and I'd really like to know what model it is. I'm going to try my best to describe it.

Here's what I have:

Slingerland Radio King white marine pearl snare.
Badge is the oval all brass.
16 (two rows of 8) Super streamlined (beavertail) lugs.
Double flanged hoops - top hoop has "Slingerland Radio King" etching.
Super Strainer (Clamshell).
No extension bridges.
Has what I believe to be nickel hardware - not entirely sure.
Shell is either 2 or 3 ply - outer ply is very thin and dark so I'm thinking this is mahogany. Middle ply is thick light colored. Inside ply - if it is one - is light colored also - matches the color of the reinforcement rings. (I can't really tell if this is a ply or not - it's not very clear on the edges).
Reinforcement rings appear to be solid - but they are seamed. Possibly maple?
There is what I think is factory writing on the inside of the shell - the word "Super" written in script and the letters "SM" hand printed. It seems that these were written before any hardware was put on because the writing goes under the screws and washers that hold the lugs to the shell.
Internal muffler system has black felts not red like I've seen on other Radio Kings.
Has strainer butt-end adjustment knob.
The most odd part about it is it was sold as a 7 X 14, but the shell itself actually measures approx. 6 3/4" x 14". There is no damage to the wood and it hasn't been shaved or anything like that.

Everything was sold as original except for the tension rods which were replaced and the original strainer handle which was also replaced.
The strainer works opposite of modern drums - when it is upright, snares are off. Is this correct?

From some of my research, it seems the drum is from the early to mid 50's but I'm not entirly sure.

Hope you guys have some information for me and I'm really looking forward to any responses!

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2009, 03:38 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

I'm not a Slingerland expert by any means, but.......if it is a ply snare drum, it is NOT a Radio King. True Radio King snares were a 1ply solid maple steambent shell with reinforcement rings.
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2009, 09:36 PM
Nid Nid is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

I was under the same impression until I read in some other posts that there are some ply Radio Kings out there.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:03 AM
empiredrum empiredrum is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

It is from the mid fifties. Its probably a student model Radio King, which still sound great, even thought they don't command the big money like the single ply maple models. It is a three ply shell.
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Old 06-02-2009, 10:40 AM
Nid Nid is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

I had thought this might be the case, but from what I have read - student models did not have internal tone control or clamshell strainers.
I can't figure it out.
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Old 06-02-2009, 05:02 PM
Rich K. Rich K. is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

No matter how many times this gets repeated, it still comes up, so...
There were MANY TRUE Radio Kings sold with 3 ply shells.
Many of the models, the ones with the "clam shell" and the ones with the 3 pt. throw offs, in "true" radio king models, were sold with 3 ply shells, even though the catalog listed them as having solid shells. I doubt they were special orders. I just think that Slingerland sent them out that way, and most drummers back then didn't know the difference or even care. Back then, finish and strainers and things like that were of more concern than shell configuration.
So, it sounds like you have a Radio King that came with a 3 ply mahogany interior shell. I actually prefer these, soundwise, to the solid ones.
I have had 3 ply "radio kings" with the 3 pt. throw with bridges, and I've had a gene krupa super model (5 x 14, late '50s, clam shell) with a 3 ply shell. That drum had no tone control and was in a duco finish. Who knows what Slingerland had in mind that day...
The "student model" radio king is a different animal. Those were cataloged with 3 ply shells and clip type rims. The earlier ones had a 3 pt. throw offs withoug bridges, then they had rapid throw offs. Usually they don't have a tone control, but I just got one that did. And, occasionally they show up with solid shells!
ok, that's the last time I'm gonna make a post about this. Next time someone says a "true radio king" HAS to have a one ply shell, I'm gonna let it go. Really...
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:06 PM
Jim Jim is offline
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Smile Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

In Rob Cook's, "The Slingerland Book" in the section called "The Slingerland Shell Story"... sub-section "Radio King Shells", 1930's-1950's he indicates,"Plied snare drums have an outer ply of maple, a thick ply of poplar, and a third (very thin) inner ply of mahogany".

He later indicates that in 1950 Slingerland claimed to be the last/only drummaker still making solid snare drum shells... maybe it is that distinction that so often leads to the belief that RK's were all solid.... both mine are.
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2009, 11:06 PM
Nid Nid is offline
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Default Re: Can't Identify Vintage Slingerland Radio King Snare

Thank you guys for the all the information. I did a closer inspection of my drum and found that it is 3 ply and it does measure a true 7" deep.

Once again - Thanks!
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