This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the April 2016 issue, which is available here.
6.5×14 Maple/Poplar and 5.5×14 Mahogany/Poplar Snare Drums
Classic American drum manufacturing revised and reborn.
Chicago has a long history in American drum manufacturing, with two of the most prominent companies, Ludwig and Slingerland, getting their start in the Windy City. Newcomer Chicago Drum has a direct tie to the latter. Company founder Jim Moritz was a factory worker at Slingerland during itsfamed Niles era in the 1970s, as were his father and great uncle.
“I have a rich family history with Slingerland drums,” says Moritz on the Chicago Drum website. “My great uncle Oswald worked for Slingerland and helped my father, Jack, get a job [there] when he emigrated from Germany to the United States. Dad was with Slingerland for over thirty years. During Slingerland’s heyday in the mid-1970s, I worked summers at the Niles plant and after school on the night shift.”
Because of his strong ties to Slingerland, it should come as no surprise that Moritz’s own company, Chicago Drum, incorporates many classic Slingerland concepts as well as the most current technology available. (Jack Moritz helped create Chicago Drum’s original shell formula, just as he designed the first multi-ply drum shell system for Slingerland in the 1950s.)
We were sent two Chicago Drum snares to review: a 6.5×14 5-ply maple/poplar and a 5.5×14 5-ply mahogany/poplar. Both feature 30-degree round-over bearing edges, deeply cut snare beds, solid-maple reinforcement rings, Puresound twenty-strand snare wires, Remo Ambassador drumheads (Coated batter and Hazy bottom), and Slingerland-style inward-flange steel hoops and large-lever throw-off. Those familiar with the Niles-era Slingerland oval badge will notice a similar look to those used by Chicago Drum. But the company states that these aren’t simply replica drums, but are rather contemporary instruments with their own unique voice built on the classic sound of great American drums from the 1960s and ’70s. Let’s check them out!
Check out a video demo of these drums below.
For the complete review, check out the April 2016 issue, which is available here.