Cooper’s Vintage Drums
Slingerland began drum production in 1926, and their first snare drum was the Slingerland Eugene Geisler snare drum which featured a simple strainer.
Early 1920’s Slingerland Geisler Model
THE FAMOUS THREE POINT STRAINER (1928-1980)
Slingerland’s first drum catalog was printed in 1928 and in that year, they introduced what would become their most identifiable and prolific snare strainer……”The Speedy Sure Hold Strainer”.
Late 1920’s Speedy Sure Hold Strainer
1928 ARTIST MODEL
1929 ARTIST MODEL
Photo by Dave Zima
The “No. 967 Speedy Sure Hold Strainer” was also called the “Professional Strainer”. Collectors have come to know it as the “Three Point Strainer” because it was attached to the drum shell at three points. It utilized either wire or gut snares. (Note that the bottom section is facing inward)
This popular and very reliable strainer was used from 1928 until the mid 1960’s. While there were some modifications to the design over the years, the basic mechanism remained unchanged.
Here we will take a short “detour” to discuss a very interesting snare strainer that had quite a short life…
The 1933-34 Slingerland “DUALL”
1934 Slingerland catalog
Around 1933, a new snare strainer innovation was introduced: The Slingerland “Duall”. This highly complicated system was Slingerland’s answer to the Ludwig Super and Leedy Parallel mechanisms. However, due to a lawsuit brought by C.G. Conn (parent company of Ludwig and Leedy) over the design, Slingerland was forced to abandon this elaborate snare mechanism and by 1934, the ill-fated Duall was just a memory. There are very few examples of this unique drum in existence today.
Photo courtesy of Mike Curotto
From the Dave Brown Collection
1934 DU-ALL SET
From the Dave Brown Collection
1933-34 DUALL Mechanism
Now, back to the three point strainer…..
In 1935, Slingerland incorporated adjustable extension brackets and extended snare wires on the new Broadcaster line of snare drums. These adjustable brackets had two small thumbwheels that when turned, would raise or lower a thin piece of metal that was attached to the brackets. This adjustment would determine the amount of contact between the snares and the snare head. Each drum had one of these adjustable brackets on either side. With this new feature, the bottom section of the three point strainer was now facing outward. The words “SLINGERLAND PATS PEND” were stamped into these thin brass adjustment plates. Often, these pieces were removed as they did not always function well.
1935-38 Adjustable Extension Brackets
1935 Three Point Strainer
(Note that the bottom section is facing outward…also note the “diamond pattern” on the adjustment knob- later 1930’s versions had a different linear pattern as pictured in the second photo below)
LINEAR PATTERN ADJUSTMENT KNOB
1935 White Marine Broadcaster Snare Drum with three point strainer
It is interesting to note that the early Broadcasters employed an eyelet or “stud” on the butt side of the shell. This simple yet effective method was soon replaced with the standard butt assembly. I have only seen two examples of this.
EARLY BROADCASTER BUTT ASSEMBLY
STANDARD BROADCASTER BUTT-SIDE ASSEMBLY
In 1936, the Broadcaster model was discontinued (again, by a court order for patent violation of a Gretsch name) and the new Radio King line of snare drums appeared on the scene. These new Radio Kings were exactly the same as the aforementioned Broadcaster and again featured the three point strainer and adjustable extension brackets.
The first Radio King models featuring the three point strainer and extended snares
Around 1938, the adjustable Radio King snare brackets were changed. They were made a bit wider and now attached to the shell with six screws instead of four. Around 1940, an optional wire strap was introduced which connected the snares to the strainer with a small screw. These straps were offered on the Hollywood Ace models as well as the Krupa model. The adjustable feature of the snare brackets was gradually discontinued after 1941. NOTE: Some “top of the line” models were offered without the extension brackets. The Buddy Rich model was one such drum. It is also interesting to note that famous drummer Gene Krupa was known to remove the brackets from some of his snare drums!
1938-41 Six Hole Adjustable Extension Bracket
1940 Krupa model with adjustable brackets and wire strap snares
“Butt” side extension bracket without adjusting screws
The three point strainer was made up of four basic parts: Upper knob adjustment section, lower sliding section, throw-off lever and lever knob. Pictured below are the various components that make up a typical early 1940’s three point strainer.
The earlier versions (1928-1939) of the upper knob adjustment section featured a threaded “bolt” over which the throw-off lever was fit and held in place by a threaded (“female”) knob. The throw-off lever could be tightened either in the “up” position while playing or “down” when not in use. This made storage easier, as the lever extended above the top hoop when in the playing position. This design was reversed around 1940 when the threaded bolt was replaced by a threaded hole and the lever knob gained a threaded “male” piece which screwed into the hole.
LEFT: 1928-39 VERSION RIGHT: 1940-1962 VERSION
After WWII, the three point strainer underwent subtle changes. The snare tension adjustment knob was made larger, as was the lever knob and the shape of the lower threaded receiving piece. These parts took on a more rounded appearance. These changes can be seen in the photo below (The throw-off levers were removed in this photo).
Around 1963, the three point strainer received one more major change. The previously detachable (and retractable) throw-off lever became a part of the upper section and no longer required an attachment knob. This eliminated the tendency for the lever and knob to fall off. However, it could no longer be retracted or moved out of the way. A gum rubber washer was placed below the adjustment knob. Also around this time, the extension brackets were being made with only one screw hole on each side.
1960’s Slingerland Catalog showing various Radio King strainer components
The long running “Number 967, Speedy Sure-Grip, Three Point Strainer” which first appeared in 1928 would continue to be seen on the Radio King line of drums off and on until about 1980.
THE SUPER STRAINER (1940-1962)
In 1940, Slingerland introduced a radically different snare strainer called the “Super”. This new design allowed throw-off action from one side and tension adjustment from the other side while maintaining constant tension on the extended wires. When the throw-off arm was pulled to either side, the snares would drop away from the bottom head. The strainer also featured a telescopic “antennae”-like extension arm.
This strainer was often referred to as the “Clam Shell” due to its artisticly designed resemblance to the shellfish. While it may have been cosmetically pleasing and unique, the mechanical design was weak. The throw-off arm was made from brass and was prone to breakage if used incorrectly. The earliest Super strainer (1940) allowed the snare wires to attach by way of a metal tab, which also was susceptible to metal stress and would snap off. Later versions used a single screw on each side to attach the snare wires to the bottom of the strainer. There were several versions of the Super and one major difference can be seen where the strainer body attaches to the shell.
1940 Super Radio King
During World War Two, the U.S. Government placed metal restrictions on drum manufacturers. In answer to this restriction, the ever resourceful designers at Slingerland came up with a quite beautiful hand carved Super strainer for their Rolling Bomber series (see Slingerland History section of this web site).
In spite of its mechanical shortcomings, the Super Strainer was quite long lived. It was offered as an alternative to the three point strainer until 1962. Below is a catalog page from that year.
1958 Super Strainer
Mid 1950’s Super Models
The Zoomatic Strainer (1963 - Present)
The Super strainer was discontinued around 1962 and soon a new strainer appeared on the new Artist Model snare drums. This strainer was usually paired with a butt end plate that was previously used on Leedy and Leedy & Ludwig Broadway snare drums in the 1940’s and early 1950’s. The use of this butt plate was facilitated by Slingerland’s purchase of the Leedy line in 1956. The Zoomatic strainer also suffered from a relatively poor design in that the adjustment knob was easily stripped if used improperly. Like the Super strainer, the Zoomatic used special extended snare wires.
Artist Model with Zoomatic Strainer and Butt
The Rapid Strainer (No. 673)
The Rapid strainer was introduced around 1958 and was offered as an alternative to the three point strainer. It appeared on the Hollywood Ace and Concert models as well as the various student and lower line models well into the 1970’s. This strainer was paired with a standard simple butt assembly. The Rapid strainer was also used on some Slingerland-made Leedy drums from the same era.
1960 Student Model (L) and 1965 Hollywood Ace model (R) with Rapid strainers
(NOTE THE DIFFERENCE IN STRAINERS)
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