Friday, December 4, 2009

19th-Century Rope Tension Snare Drum

eBayer excelsiorcornetband ( 811) is offering eBay item no. 260516656898, described as follows:

This drum is postwar and probably dates from the 1870s-1880s. It is of the correct pattern for a "period-correct" Civil War reenacting impression. It is made of dark-stained laminated maple or ash, with oak tension hoops. The shell measures 16" x 11". The overall height is 12.5". There are 20 original period iron hooks (2 with hanger loops) and a very nice original snare strainer. The heads are calfskin and are either original or of the period. There is no label inside, so I cannot tell who the maker/seller was.

CONDITION: It is not playable as-is--it was rigged for display only. Both heads are damaged, see pictures. Neither can be made playable. (I would recommend a Remo FibreSkyn batter head and a Remo Renaissance snare head if you want to restore it for playing.) The ropes are nylon boat line; the tugs are soft leather, the snares are waxed artificial sinew, and the snare butt is soft leather. These four items are not functional and were for display only; they (plus the heads) must be replaced with proper fully functional replacements if you want to play it. The shell and hoops are in very good shape with no cracks or significant damage. The upper hoop has a minor warp.

PLAYING QUALITIES: The drum was rigged for DISPLAY ONLY and is NOT PLAYABLE as-is; it will need a full restoration. I can recommend an excellent drum restorer who is also a Civil War reenacting drummer, if you like.


THE STRAIGHT DOPE: This drum would be a good choice for a reenactor looking for an inexpensive original 19th-century drum to restore and play. It needs work but it will look good and probably play well once it's restored to playing condition.


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