Gear

Classic: Leedy & Ludwig Broadway Standard Model


Era: 1940-41/51-55
Finish: Autographs Of The Stars
Dimensions: 14" x 5"
Number of lugs: 8

Leedy’s Autographs Of The Stars pyralin (plastic) finish was introduced in 1940 and discontinued the following year (WWII marked the beginning of a low point in the history of American drum manufacturing). Considered to be one of Leedy’s most rare finishes, it featured the autographs of 212 Leedy endorsers (whom the company referred to as its “stand-out drummers”) that were “indelibly and permanently processed in a star-studded blue background.”

I’d been eyeing this drum at the Hollywood Guitar Center for a number of years and finally decided to go in for the kill. Though their price and mine were a bit off we eventually settled on a figure, but only after I was able to take the drum apart and confer with vintage drum expert John Aldridge. There I was at Guitar Center with this drum completely disassembled as I described it in excruciating detail to Aldridge over the phone. The closer we looked, the more unique the drum became.

But first, some background — after WWII, C.G. Conn was ready to give up the idea of operating two separate drum companies owned by one parent company. So Leedy and Ludwig & Ludwig merged into the Leedy & Ludwig Drum Co. from 1951 until 1955.

That’s why Aldridge and I came to the conclusion that it was a leftover Autographs Of The Stars virgin shell from 1940-’41 that was drilled and badged with 1951-’55 Leedy & Ludwig hardware. Although it’s just as easy to believe that someone found a scrap of leftover Autographs wrap in the early ’50s and applied it to a Leedy & Ludwig shell. Either theory works for me.

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