The Wisdom of Buddy Rich Outfit No. 80 N

SKF NOTE: This Slingerland ad brings back memories. Pre-internet, when magazine drum ads were a key source for studying drummers’ sets, this ad was among the best. To begin with, this is a back end look at Buddy Rich‘s drum setup. How cool was that back in 1969 (possibly earlier) when Slingerland first ran with this advertisement in Down Beat magazine..

In retrospect, it’s interesting to see the rectangular moleskin pad affixed to the bass drum batter head in addition to the felt strip visible on the left inside of the batter head. Moleskin was used to protect the batter head against repeated bass drum pedal beaters striking against the head. Cheaper to use moleskin than to buy a new bass drum head.

I don’t think all the other drummers pictured in this ad used two floor toms. But, then again, this ad is showing Slingerland‘s “Buddy Rich Outfit No. 80 N.”

Buddy’s positioning of his bass drum mounted ride cymbal always puzzled me. Of course, I tried doing that with my ride cymbal, but it was uncomfortable for playing certain kinds of music. That was a bit of conflict. Yes, the great Buddy Rich positions his 20-inch ride cymbal this way. Why can’t I? What’s my problem?

As I matured, as I studied other favorite drummers’ setups, I understood drum and cymbal positioning is really a personal matter. I should use what’s comfortable for me.

I was never comfortable using drum thrones as pictured in this ad. Drum stools always worked better; were always more flexible.

At some point after this ad appeared, drum companies reversed their message. This ad tells us the world’s great drummers play great Slingerland drums. Later, ads were telling us we couldn’t be great drummers without playing a certain brand of drum.

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