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-   -   Speed King query (http://www.vintagedrumforum.com/showthread.php?t=67090)

Gerard Ball 06-23-2021 10:58 PM

Speed King query
 
Hi. I've just bought a nice old Speed King to restore. The seller described it as a 'WFL pedal from the 1950s'. I'm curious whether this is correct or if it's even possible to date a SK from its numbers or markings? I'm not a SK expert but always I've really liked them and wanted to get one to restore.

Magnus_N 06-24-2021 02:14 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
If it says WFL on the footboard it is a WFL Speed King. :)

Best,

Magnus

Gerard Ball 06-24-2021 03:14 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Thanks. It doesnít so it isnít!

thin shell 06-24-2021 07:33 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
It doesn't necessarily mean it is from the 50s though. WFL logo'd Speed Kings and Snare stands were common well into the 60's. They must have had a ton of WFL Speed King foot boards and snare basket castings in stock at the time that they bought back the Ludwig name from Conn. They continued to use them rather than scrap them. Either that or they didn't want to, or have the capital to have the tooling modified for several years after getting their name back.

They even continued to reuse catalog artwork with the WFL logo on the Speed King as late as '67. We don't see Ludwig branded Speed King footboards until the '73 catalog. This doesn't mean they were still making Speed Kings with the WFL logo this late, since it was common to reuse catalog artwork for many years unless there was a compelling reason to spend the time and money for new artwork or to have it airbrushed. However, there are new pictures in the '67 catalog of snare kits where you can clearly see the WFL on the snare basket casting so it is possible they were still making pedals with the WFL logo this late.

Gerard Ball 06-24-2021 10:41 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Mine doesn't have a WFL imprint on it so it must be from later on. Is there any way to date these pedals?

Marty Black 06-25-2021 12:31 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Hi there Kiwi! Send us some photos and we can help you approximate the vintage of your Speed King. There were some minor changes to the thumbscrews and also the two "stops."

I dunno the real name of the two "stops," but they are the two vertical pieces that touch the wooden hoop when you push the pedal into place. The 1960s vintage "stops" were longer (larger) than the mid-1970s stops.

I'm no expert on Speed Kings, but I've had a number of them, and still use them exclusively. I'm sure there are other guys on this forum who are far more knowledgeable than I am, and they'll chime in once they see photos.

Regards, MB

mlayton 06-25-2021 02:40 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
If you're on Facebook, find Vincent Ward. He has quite a bit of knowledge on Speed Kings.

Mike

Gerard Ball 06-25-2021 11:35 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
5 Attachment(s)
Kia Ora Marty and greetings from God's Own! Thanks for the advice and info. I've attached a few photos to assist if anyone can fill in the blanks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marty Black (Post 468386)
Hi there Kiwi! Send us some photos and we can help you approximate the vintage of your Speed King. There were some minor changes to the thumbscrews and also the two "stops."

I dunno the real name of the two "stops," but they are the two vertical pieces that touch the wooden hoop when you push the pedal into place. The 1960s vintage "stops" were longer (larger) than the mid-1970s stops.

I'm no expert on Speed Kings, but I've had a number of them, and still use them exclusively. I'm sure there are other guys on this forum who are far more knowledgeable than I am, and they'll chime in once they see photos.

Regards, MB


Gerard Ball 06-25-2021 11:37 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mlayton (Post 468388)
If you're on Facebook, find Vincent Ward. He has quite a bit of knowledge on Speed Kings.

Mike

Thanks, Mike, I'll see if I can find Vincent. I wouldn't mind some advice about greasing the bearings as well. Seems to be quite a bit of play in mine and not sure if that's normal?

Marty Black 06-26-2021 01:48 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
It's got the later-vintage shorter "stops," so it's 1970s or later. I've never seen the bottom screws (for spring tension) screwed in that deeply. That SK must be really gummed up from hardened grease. I don't think the numbers on the bottom can be used for dating. I believe they are merely casting numbers or part numbers or parts-subcontractor codes.

Regards, MB

Gerard Ball 06-26-2021 05:23 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Thanks Marty. Thatís really interesting. I was intrigued by your comment about how far the tension screws were wound in. Iíve actually just stripped and cleaned the pedal completely and re-greased everything. The whole thing was totally gummed up. When I reassembled it I found that the action was quite sloppy (compared to my Ludwig Ghost) so tried winding the tension up a bit to see if it improved it. Iím no SK expert so perhaps thatís the way itís meant to be? Also the beater sits quite a way from the head and has no adjustment in that regard so will definitely take some getting used to.

OddBall 06-26-2021 10:41 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gerard Ball (Post 468399)
Thanks Marty. Thatís really interesting. I was intrigued by your comment about how far the tension screws were wound in. Iíve actually just stripped and cleaned the pedal completely and re-greased everything. The whole thing was totally gummed up. When I reassembled it I found that the action was quite sloppy (compared to my Ludwig Ghost) so tried winding the tension up a bit to see if it improved it. Iím no SK expert so perhaps thatís the way itís meant to be? Also the beater sits quite a way from the head and has no adjustment in that regard so will definitely take some getting used to.

Yes it does. The longer stop makes it later model like Marty mentioned, The footboard is no indication of Make because it is interchangeable with the first one ever made. The tab with screw on the top of the foot board ID's the board only.

But relax, members here can tell you anything you need to know about it, Ludwig is here sometimes too.

Under the pillars are two springs with tension screws, These adjust travel time by pulling the beater forward or pull it away from the head. In between full backstop and front head stop is the pedal's float spring tension. Meaning if you step off your board, it should continuer to bounce back and forth and never go full back or front. If it does not do this, it is not tuned to it's best performance. If you find your best tension is too close to the head or far back to the click, take the beater out, put it in a vice and give it a desired bend up high.

Marty Black 06-26-2021 10:45 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Gerard, I'm out of town right now and don't have access to a Speed King, but - in my experience - I only put a couple turns on those bottom screws. Maybe the springs in your's have "taken a short set" (not as flexible as they should be after years of being tightened down.)

Of course, the number of turns on the screws is dependent on how ""tight" you want the action to be (how much resistance you want from the pedal). The more you turn the screws, the more resistance the pedal gives you, but also the more the beater moves away from the head.

Sorry, this is all I can offer you. Hoping an expert chimes in. Regards, MB

BosLover 06-26-2021 12:15 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mlayton (Post 468388)
If you're on Facebook, find Vincent Ward. He has quite a bit of knowledge on Speed Kings.

Mike

Are you referring to Vincent Leef, owner (or co-owner) of Vitalizer Drums?

https://www.facebook.com/vitalizerdr...=page_internal

Marty Black 06-26-2021 01:26 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
I can offer a "plug" for Vincent Leef of Vitalizer Drums....on the web at polyphonicdrums.com

He specializes in rebuilding Speed Kings. I bought one of his last year and it's absolutely great. It flies! And no squeeks! His prices are not cheap, but his work is great.

I met him at the Chicago Drum Show last month. Really nice guy, and - although I see from his website that he's fallen behind in filling orders, I'm hopeful that he will be able to answer questions about your Speed King.

Regards, MB

BosLover 06-26-2021 02:52 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marty Black (Post 468406)
I can offer a "plug" for Vincent Leef of Vitalizer Drums....on the web at polyphonicdrums.com

He specializes in rebuilding Speed Kings. I bought one of his last year and it's absolutely great. It flies! And no squeeks! His prices are not cheap, but his work is great.

I met him at the Chicago Drum Show last month. Really nice guy, and - although I see from his website that he's fallen behind in filling orders, I'm hopeful that he will be able to answer questions about your Speed King.

Regards, MB

I met him at the Delaware show before the pandemic. He is a really nice guy!

Marty Black 06-26-2021 06:16 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
While we're on the subject of Speed King pedals, lemmee throw something out to you, and the Ludwig guys can either tell me that they've noticed this before...or they can tell me that I'm absolutely nuts!

Early in the pandemic, I bought a 1966 Ludwig kit and attached my known-1976 vintage Speed King. But when I pushed it on, I noticed that the "knuckle hinge piece" rubbed against the batter head! (Please forgive my non-technical terms.) So I had to pull the Speed King back about 1/4" or more, so that the knuckle hinge piece cleared the batter head.

I then tried a known-1960s Speed King on this kit and found that it fit just fine. No rubbing against the batter head. It was then that I noticed that the "stop" pieces (at the front bottom of each post) were longer and larger, than on the 1976 pedal.

Two months later, I bought a 1968 Ludwig kit and noticed the same phenomenon. The 1960s pedal was fine, but the 1976 pedal rubbed against the batter head.

I then started measuring the width of the wooden hoops on Ludwig drums and found that they varied between 1/8" and 3/8" difference....Even the two hoops on a single bass drum had measurably different widths.

Although my sampling of bass drums was admittedly extremely small, the 1950s-1960s hoops were all narrower than the 1970s hoops.

I suppose this shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, we know that Ludwig wooden snares and toms also vary in depth somewhat.

It seems to me that, when Ludwig decided to increase the width of the hoops, that put the beater of the then-current-production Speed Kings a bit too far from the batter head...and the solution was to shorten/narrow the "stops" so that the "short stop" Speed Kings would fit better on any Ludwig bass drum....although you couldn't fully push a "short stop" Speed King onto a 1950s-1960s bass drum hoop. You would need to back it off a short amount, so that the knuckle-hinge-piece didn't strike the batter head.

Does this make any sense to you?! Or am I ready for The Funny Farm?

By the way, my 1976 pedal is identical in construction and hardware, to Gerard's pedal which is shown earlier in this thread.

Please tell me that I didn't go insane during the Pandemic!

Regards, MB

Gerard Ball 06-26-2021 07:43 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Hi Marty. I have the same issue with my new SK on my 1940s Slingerland bass drum. I have to back the pedal off a little to prevent the rubbing that you described. Donít have the same issue with either my Ghost or my beloved Prelmier 252.

thin shell 06-26-2021 11:04 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
2 Attachment(s)
They started making the hoops wider around '68 or so. At some point, they changed the main casting so the stops were further back to accommodate this. They also made rubber spacers that you could attach to the stops so if you had an older drum with the narrower hoops everything would line up.

Marty Black 06-27-2021 01:13 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
That is great info, thin shell! Thanks for clearing this up for us, and eliminating my doubts and confusion. BTW, I've got a Ludwig kit with date stamps of Dec 10, 1968. Badges in the 663xxx to 666xxx range. The bass drum has the narrow hoops.

Regards, MB

sazemanek1 07-02-2021 08:52 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnus_N (Post 468377)
If it says WFL on the footboard it is a WFL Speed King. :)

Best,

Magnus

Actually, WFL became Ludwig in 1955. They kept the WFL on the footboard and caps through 1966. So even though it says WFL on it, it was Ludwig starting in 1955.

sazemanek1 07-02-2021 08:59 AM

Re: Speed King query
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marty Black (Post 468408)
While we're on the subject of Speed King pedals, lemmee throw something out to you, and the Ludwig guys can either tell me that they've noticed this before...or they can tell me that I'm absolutely nuts!

Early in the pandemic, I bought a 1966 Ludwig kit and attached my known-1976 vintage Speed King. But when I pushed it on, I noticed that the "knuckle hinge piece" rubbed against the batter head! (Please forgive my non-technical terms.) So I had to pull the Speed King back about 1/4" or more, so that the knuckle hinge piece cleared the batter head.

I then tried a known-1960s Speed King on this kit and found that it fit just fine. No rubbing against the batter head. It was then that I noticed that the "stop" pieces (at the front bottom of each post) were longer and larger, than on the 1976 pedal.

Two months later, I bought a 1968 Ludwig kit and noticed the same phenomenon. The 1960s pedal was fine, but the 1976 pedal rubbed against the batter head.

I then started measuring the width of the wooden hoops on Ludwig drums and found that they varied between 1/8" and 3/8" difference....Even the two hoops on a single bass drum had measurably different widths.

Although my sampling of bass drums was admittedly extremely small, the 1950s-1960s hoops were all narrower than the 1970s hoops.

I suppose this shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, we know that Ludwig wooden snares and toms also vary in depth somewhat.

It seems to me that, when Ludwig decided to increase the width of the hoops, that put the beater of the then-current-production Speed Kings a bit too far from the batter head...and the solution was to shorten/narrow the "stops" so that the "short stop" Speed Kings would fit better on any Ludwig bass drum....although you couldn't fully push a "short stop" Speed King onto a 1950s-1960s bass drum hoop. You would need to back it off a short amount, so that the knuckle-hinge-piece didn't strike the batter head.

Does this make any sense to you?! Or am I ready for The Funny Farm?

By the way, my 1976 pedal is identical in construction and hardware, to Gerard's pedal which is shown earlier in this thread.

Please tell me that I didn't go insane during the Pandemic!

Regards, MB

Ludwig shortened the tabs in 1973 to accommodate wider bass drum hoops.

O-Lugs 07-02-2021 01:26 PM

Re: Speed King query
 
Yep, I ran into the same dilemma.


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