Neighbor Fred’s ‘Ludwig Universal Model’ Snare Drum

SKF NOTE: Earlier this week I was outside in my driveway opening a 40-pound bag of black oil sunflower seeds to refill the bird-feeder hanging almost empty in the nearby lilac bush.

Coming up the road behind me I heard the familiar sound of a neighbor’s 1980-something red Mercedes diesel engine station wagon approaching. The diesel sound stopped at the foot of the driveway. I turned away from my seed bag just as neighbor Fred was getting out of his car. Fred’s wife was in the passenger’s seat smiling.

“Did the car just die?” I asked. (It’s a great old Benz, really.) They laughed.

Fred said, “Hey, do you still like old drums?”

“Yeah,” I said, curious.

Fred told me he had an old drum I might be interested in. His grandfather presented to Fred when Fred was a kid. “I never did much with it,” Fred told me. “My parents kept hiding it.”

He grabbed the drum from the car back seat and handed it to me. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was a cool old well-made drum.

I thanked Fred and asked if he was sure he wanted to part with it.

“Yes,” he said. “I’m glad I found you. I didn’t know if I should just bring it to the dump or not.”

“NO!” I said. I shook Fred’s hand and carried his drum inside the house.

After some cursory research I discovered Ludwig Universal Model etched in the top rim. It’s a 6.5″ x 14″ drum with original everything on it — including two now cracked calf-heads.

Some smart people at DrumForum.org offered cleaning tips. I’ll take this apart, clean it, and see what it looks like.

But what a great gift. Good thing I feed birds.

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