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Vintage Drum Company

Vintage Drum Company - A little more than 20 years ago, John Aldridge's love affair with vintage drums, and especially Ludwig Black Beauties from the early 1920's, led him to learn a skill that had virtually disappeared from the drum world for the previous 50 years. Upon discovering that purchasing an engraved drum from the 1920s was completely outside his monetary limits, John set out to learn how to engrave with the intention of taking a standard model 20's Ludwig snare and plating and engraving it to turn it into a black beauty. Although he asked several jewelry engravers to teach him how to engrave, none believed that he would stay with it long enough to make it worthwhile to spend their time teaching him. Aft... (view more)

Vintage Drum Company - A little more than 20 years ago, John Aldridge's love affair with vintage drums, and especially Ludwig Black Beauties from the early 1920's, led him to learn a skill that had virtually disappeared from the drum world for the previous 50 years. Upon discovering that purchasing an engraved drum from the 1920s was completely outside his monetary limits, John set out to learn how to engrave with the intention of taking a standard model 20's Ludwig snare and plating and engraving it to turn it into a black beauty. Although he asked several jewelry engravers to teach him how to engrave, none believed that he would stay with it long enough to make it worthwhile to spend their time teaching him. After many visits to his shop, an elderly gentleman working in a jewelry shop in Claremore, Oklahoma gave John a ten minute demonstration of the three basic strokes and the tools that were used to produce the patterns that John wanted to duplicate from a 1923 Ludwig DeLuxe model snare drum. Taking that brief lesson and a note telling him where he could purchase the small blades and wooden handles used in the process, John embarked on his quest to learn how to engrave by himself. He could hear the old engraver chuckling to his son as he walked out the door! Twenty years and literally hundreds of drums later, it's safe to say that John has "stuck with it". Widely recognized as the person most responsible for re-introducing engraving to the drum world and an established authority on the subject of engraved drums of the past, John continues to engrave in the same style and with the same methods that were used at the end of the 19th century. John is now an accomplished hand engraver and has mastered the techniques used by his drum engraving predecessors of the 1920s-30s. Although there are machines that come close to duplicating the historic style, John prefers to stay with the time tested method of hand engraving. There are no machines, powered tools, or any other devices other than a small wood handled blade used in this approach! His work has been sought after by many high profile drummers as well as vintage drum collectors throughout the world. John is currently under contract to the Ludwig Drum Company, adding his unique touch as the exclusive engraver of the newest Black Beauty 100th Anniversary Limited Edition snare drum. Only 100 of these drums will be available worldwide, but this is not John's first foray into limited editions! In 1990, he designed the patterns for Ludwig's reintroduction of the engraved black beauty and did part of the production engraving. At the same time he engraved a few drums for Drum Workshop's top endorsers and began doing aftermarket engraving on drums for individuals and drum shops. From that point, his engraving shop has featured a revolving door for drum companies looking to enhance their product offerings with engraving. From the hoops for Johnny Craviotto's prestigious Lake Superior snare drums, to Slingerland's Copper and Brass Beauties, to Tama's Kenny Aronoff Trackmaster limited, to Ludwig's 90th Anniversary model snare drums, John has worked with almost every major manufacturer of metal snare drums in the music industry. John also works with individuals to create unique instruments, either by engraving the customer's drum, or by providing a new drum and engraving it to the customer's specifications. If you've been thinking about having a custom drum built to your specifications, John can help there as well. Since he works in conjunction with some of the most reputable and respected drum companies and custom drum makers in the world, he has access to a plethora of high quality professional level instruments which are suitable for custom engraving. Although John branched out into custom drum manufacturing a few years ago, he now confines his drum designing skills to a joint venture with Joyful Noise Drum Company, which also manufactures the John Aldridge Deluxe model to John's exacting specifications. (view less)

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919-682-5552 (local/int'l +1)

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