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Premier Elite - Offset Lugs

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Hey folks, I picked this baby up recently, late 70s Elite in Polychromatic Red. There are quite a few uncommon features on the kit, notably the offset dagger lugs and the mismatched shell materials - kick and floor are mahogany while the toms are birch. It sounds great.

22x14

16x16

14x10

12x8

Have any of you venerable drum gurus have any info on Premier's dalliances with offset lugs? I've never seen them in any of the Premier catalogues, although this is actually my second Elite that I've owned that features them. The first was an all-mahogany set, which I thought was a conversion from a concert tom but now I'm sure it came from the factory this way. If you guys have any pics of Premiers with offset lugs, I'd appreciate it.

One more thing to note about these is that the dagger lugs are held on by one bolt only; the top screw hole is filled in for some weird reason on the 14 and 16. The lugs on the 12 all use 2 mounting screws each.

Oh yeah, and I've never seen a stamp on the inside of a Premier shell before but I'm guessing from the last picture that the kit might date from January 1978. Anybody got any other suggestions?

Posted on 8 months ago
#1
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The bass drum lugs on my '78 6500 (Beverey lug) Premiers have the same detail with only one lug screw. That screw doesn't really do that much as all of the outward stress is borne by the back screw, so they must have done this to save a little money. All of my birch shells have date stamps like yours. I don't see any on the mahogany shell that I checked.

While it is possible that both sets you have came from the factory that way, I suspect that it is more likely that they were concert tom conversions.

Premier switched from African Mahogany to Birch in '76 so it is not unusual to find kits with a mixture of both woods in a factory kit.

Posted on 8 months ago
#2
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The phasing out of mahogany shells around 78 explains a lot.

I'm pretty confident that the 2 toms with offset lugs came from the factory; the holes were machine drilled, not done by hand. They didn't appear as an option in any of the catalogues, so maybe a custom order? Either way, having something that probably few people have is pretty cool.

This is a pic of my first Elite, again all mahogany with the rack tom featuring offset lugs:

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Posted on 8 months ago
#3
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I went back and checked, and the switchover to Birch shows up in the '76 catalogs, but the mixture of shells went on for several years.

Premier suffered from poor management for many years, and was bought by Yamaha in '87 but then sold again in '92. Unfortunately, management continued to be poor and Premier never made much inroads into the US so they ultimately closed the UK factory in 2005 and outsourced manufacturing to Asia.

This poor management could explain the use of spear lugs in place of the normal lugs due to parts shortages.

Premier made great drums so you have a very nice drum set there.

Posted on 8 months ago
#4
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I think you're right about the parts issue. By 78/79 they were probably using whatever materials they had left over to fulfill their orders. They used those dagger style lugs right into the early 80s before they bought out Beverley so they probably had boxes of the things lying around and were cheaper than the longer lugs they used later on. Likewise, cast hoops were more expensive to produce than triple flanged. You can't really underestimate Premier's need to drive costs down; the late 70s was a time of real economic stress and industrial unrest in the UK.

Having said all that, it might be a happy accident that the mix of shell materials works so well on this kit. The kick and floor tom have a naturally warm low end from the mahogany while the toms are that little bit brighter with more attack, which is just what you want.

Posted on 8 months ago
#5
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Premier triple flange flange steel hoops of that period would have had round holes just barely larger than the tension rod. So if they have an oval shaped hole they are aftermarket, but if they are round, they are Premier parts so most likely came from the factory..

Posted on 8 months ago
#6
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Hoops are all original triple flanged, they're the exact same as on my Mk 1 Projector.

Posted on 8 months ago
#7
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Well folks, I had the kit out today giving it a proper tune up and the 12 tom has no bearing edges cut into the reso side! It's like they were told at 4pm on Friday to grab a concert tom and monkey it into a regular tom before heading to the pub..

Posted on 8 months ago
#8
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scottser;476753

Well folks, I had the kit out today giving it a proper tune up and the 12 tom has no bearing edges cut into the reso side! It's like they were told at 4pm on Friday to grab a concert tom and monkey it into a regular tom before heading to the pub..

I found a great article on Premier Elite, written by Nick Hopkin https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/not-so-modern-drummer/columns/english-classics-nick-hopkin/vintage-drums-legendary-sounds (to paraphrase) It seems that Premier retained their ‘flush braced’ single lugs, claiming that ‘they take most of the strain out of the opposing tension rods'.

On the Elite, Die cast hoops were standard on double headed sets, steel (triple flange) hoops were only used on single headed concert toms, which were available from 6x6” up to 18x16” therefore it is likely that two of the toms in your set were customised. Looks great though and who really cares? D' Drummer

Posted on 4 months ago
#9