After purchasing and restoring the 1950s Slingerland bass drum pictured in this month’s featured kit, Marc Membreno was overtaken by the urge to flesh out the setup with other vintage Slingerland tubs. “I started with a 1958 blue sparkle bass drum,” the Los Altos, California, drummer explains. “After removing the original wrap, crushed glass went everywhere! But after seeing the beautiful ribbon-striped mahogany outer ply underneath, I decided to build a set around the piece.” Membreno refinished the kick by sanding it before applying sanding sealer and wipe-on satin polyurethane.

Once he tracked down a 1960s 13″ rack tom and a ’70s 16″ floor tom, Membreno removed the wraps and went to work. “The smaller tom was also built with a ribbon mahogany outer ply, and I finished it using the same process as the bass drum,” he says. “I couldn’t find a floor tom with the same finish, so I bought a ribbon mahogany sheet and laminated it to the stripped shell using hide glue. Then I sanded, stained, and finished it with polyurethane. It’s not an exact match, but it’s pretty close.” Membreno also stripped the original black maple bass drum hoops, sanded and varnished them, and glued in a stained strip of mahogany in the hoops’ inlays. A new set of DW clamp-on spurs replaced the bass drum’s original ones.

“The vintage rounded-over bearing edges produce a huge, warm sound,” Membreno says. “It’s not too punchy, but there’s a nice, low fundamental tone, with a slowly decaying resonance. Taking the wrap off the 3-ply mahogany/poplar/mahogany shells might have also enhanced the warm tone. They have that great vintage Slingerland sound!”

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