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Stuff We Like: Ludwig Supralite

$175 for a Ludwig Stainless Steel 6.5×14 snare with tube lugs. New. Never played.

What’s not to love about that? Well, there are some minor things, but overall, this drum is the buy of the decade. Available in 6×13, 4×14, 5.5×14, 6.5×14, 8×14, and the mighty 5×15, there are a lot of offerings from this line. The only one that I haven’t played in person is the 8×14 and there’s not a bad one in the bunch; it’s mostly a question of what do you intend to use it for. For me, I wanted a snare to take on van tours that wouldn’t be a huge loss if it got lifted.

Side Note: I have my gear insured, and I cannot recommend more highly that you do the same. Music Pro Insurance is incredibly affordable, with plans that start at $100 and are in the $300 range for $30k replacement cost. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to file a claim, but my friends that have said it’s painless and fast. Seriously, I don’t want you to lose you stuff.

ludwig supralite

Back to the cost-effective, cutting prowess of the Supralite. For me, the 6.5×14 seemed to be the most useful but I really wanted the 5×15 too. Alas, 15″ snare drums don’t fit in just any snare basket and I don’t want to have to carry a snare stand to a gig with backline. Those are the moments when we get to be lazy as drummers and I’m going to relish in it. The pros of the snare are the price and the sonic quality at that price. Steel can be too bright at times, but this drum is a nice balance, which I’m sure is helped by the beaded shell. The only two cons I have is that, at least in my case, detuning rods and the throw-off. Typically, I don’t have much of an issue with rods backing out on me, and, if I do, they are usually the ones on the top hoop. The issue with this drum is that at least one bottom one ends up on the floor after a gig. Cheap fixes exist: neoprene washers between lugs and shell, nylon washers, and rubber o-rings on the rods under the hoop. We’re still well below $200 on this guy with those fixes. Now, the throw-off is mostly irritating. Functionally, it does it’s job, but it’s not a Ludwig hole pattern. You can’t upgrade it to a P-eighty anything. Combine that with the beaded shell, and you’ve got limited options if it ever gives out on you.

As I said though, it’s $175. Killer deal for that amount of dough.

-Lemuel

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