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The Club Date Saga

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This treatise will be lengthy - Be Forewarned!

When I retired from my (non-musician) career at the end of 2015, I got the Vintage Drum bug and sold my perfectly fine Mapex Saturns. I then bought what I thought would be my Holy Grail drum set - a 1967 Sky Blue Pearl Ludwig Club Date set in the 12/14/20 configuration. I bought a Pioneer snare also, in the matching Sky Blue Pearl (SBP).

At the time, I was a purist. I wanted only era-correct hardware, and went about acquiring just that.

Then reality punched me in the face: The ride tom sounded just fine when I had it off the mount, but as soon as I fastened it on the bass drum-mounted tom mount, it sounded like crap. Thunk, thunk, thunkety thunk. My research at the time revealed that many others had experienced this very same phenomenon. I sought suggestions, and many helpful drummers suggested putting the tom on a snare stand or using a Gauger RIM mount. These suggestions would have worked, probably, but as a purist, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. I was annoyed that I couldn’t enjoy the drums as designed and sold.

Another fact that didn’t help my happiness was that the SBP had faded to grey. Not a bit of blue remained except under the lugs. Also, in my naïveté, I didn’t know when I bought them that nearly every rim and tension rod were aftermarket products, and not high-end ones. They were cheap! I ended up trading the set for a four-piece vintage Sonor. Thus began my odyssey. Since then I have owned drums by Mapex, Yamaha (2 sets), Slingerland (2 sets), WFL, Ludwig (2 sets), and another Sonor.

I wasn’t the only one unhappy. My wife didn’t care for my spending either, especially since I hardly ever made money on the buy/sell deals.

Then a few days ago, I spotted a 1968 SBP Club Date set for sale. The amazing thing about this set was that the Sky Blue Pearl was actually…sky blue! There is nearly zero fade from new, as evidenced by removing several lugs on the drums. I fully expected to have to suspend the tom from a RIMS mount, which I bought with the set (it’s actually a Premier-branded suspension mount). I bought an Acrolite with the set, which is painted light grey. I believe it to be factory finished, but I have never seen one like it before.

Legend has it that the drums were owned by a church and remained there for forty or so years. They sold the drums to the principal church drummer, who stored them in a closet until he decided to sell them 10 or so years later. Then I came along.

I spent three days cleaning them up. The 12” Tom sings with the suspension mount. I am over myself and can handle the non-original tom holder. I also have a mix of vintage and modern hardware. All of the drums sound great, and I am extremely happy to have just this drum set (Okay, I have a tiny cajon-based set for special circumstances).

My plan is to have only one drum set for the rest of my life. Let’s see how well I do! Thanks for reading.

Josh

Posted on 1 year ago
#1
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Interesting story Josh. No doubt one that is not dissimilar to ones of other forum members.

I would be curious to know how that particular set and color became embedded in your mind.

In my case, I used to send away for the catalogs when I was a young teenager - mid 60's. I had most of them. For some reason, I was always most attracted to the small three-piece plus snare setups. So for example in Ludwig, it was the champagne sparkle Downbeat; in Gretsch, the champagne sparkle Progressive Jazz; in Rogers the red onyx Citadel. It was the latter that really captured my imagination. All were too expensive, so I started out with a larger 22, 12, 13, 16 matching snare MIJ set.

Sometime in the late 90's, I found my first red onyx three-piece Citadel. It had issues and I sold it quickly. Eventually I found a perfect one from 1968. It had belonged to a forum member and I bought it off either eBay or Reverb. Not sure which. I sold it when I was (again) transferred out of the US for work because I didn't want to see it spoiled by storage in FL.

A couple of years ago I got something similar (20, 12, 14 Swingtime) that is in decent shape and has a matching Dynasonic. I'm still trying to find some of the missing bass drum hoop parts. I hope to hold on to it for some time, but just in case, I did buy another Citadel that is partically refinished. For some reason the ride tom never got new wrap. I have the wrap now and will probably have Precision do the work this summer. I got that one pretty inexpensively, so I probably will keep that in the final analysis.

I have other Rogers drums and a close replica to my first MIJ LaBoz kit, but the red onyx Citadel, as with your Clubdates, is No. 1 in my thinking.

Posted on 1 year ago
#2
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Wow, Dan. She’s a beaut!

I first saw Sky Blue Pearl when a friend of mine in Junior High School got one. I had a WMP Super Classic and was feeling on top of the world. Then I saw his Super Classic in SBP! I was sooo jealous.

I just loved the depth of the finish, but of course I couldn’t let on.

As for the Club Date style, I don’t know. I love the look of them and the Slingerland Stage Bands, but don’t know why. Maybe just because they are different.

Josh

Posted on 1 year ago
#3
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At some juncture, I had a Super Classic in that finish. Like your first Club Date though, it was gray by the time I got it. I'm not sure I have ever seen that finish as brilliant as on your current setup. It really is gorgeous.

Posted on 1 year ago
#4
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Here is a photo of the 12” tom with the lug removed. You can see there is no difference in shades under the lug and elsewhere. The finish does look grey under my harsh garage lights in this photo.

Posted on 1 year ago
#5
Posts: 771 Threads: 132
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Love it. Name me one person that doesn't like club dates.

Keep fixing them up...
Posted on 1 year ago
#6