Just bought a new old Acrolite! Some questions...

aztec1

New member
I've always wanted a metal snare, and heard/read lots of good things about Acrolites. I found one on craigslist for a decent price (I think). This thing is in pretty good shape, got it with the hard case, stand, and the Gladstone pad. There's no pitting in the chrome but the hoops have one or two dings in them. The snare is not original either I don't think, but the snare head is. Sounds huge even with bad heads!

Can any of the snare experts here help me date it? There are no markings on the shell and no serial on the badge. There's a pic below, it's 14 x 5.

It needs new heads so I took them off and decided to give it a real good cleaning, there are some floaties in there and some marks on the shell. This is my first "vintage" drum, and my first new drum since my set. Does anyone have any recommendations for heads and some cleaning tips?

I know it's just a snare but I'm REALLY excited about my new drum, thanks for your help!

 
Congrats on your find. At one point I owned about 4 of these drums but ended up giving 3 to various friends and students. Your drum is a 70's era Acrolite. Oddly enough, and someone correct me if I am wrong, but the 60's and 70's Acrolite are made of the SAME alloy(Ludalloy is the name I think Ludwig calls it....) that a non-brass Supraphonic is crafted from. The only difference is that the Supraphonic came in 5 and 6" models and it is chrome plated while the Acrolite has that utilitarian gray look. This is what I have been told by SEVERAL vintage experts and general drum gurus. I think Kenny Aronoff(session MASTER) did a LOT of the John Mellancamp records with an Acrolite. VERY popular, versatile drum.

I clean my drum with non-ammonia based cleaner. A rag with soap and water should do the trick. Ammonia will take the clear coating off the shell leaving it unprotected. At this point I have my Acrolite set up for brush work in the studio. I use a coated Amabassador batter head and either a clear Ambassador or a Diplomat on the snare side. I went a few steps further with my drum.....I removed the lug casings and stuffed them with felt and removed the internal muffler because they tend to be noisy and I don't use the muffler anyway. I would think that a coated Emperor would work as well if you are a hard hitter but since I use it for brushwork I use the thinner head combination. A medium tension works GREAT on this drum but I think it sounds good almost anyway you tune it.

Again, congrats on your find. The newer ACROLITES have a black sparkle finish and don't sound near as good. At one point you could find these drums EVERYWHERE....pawn shops, Salvation Army stores, thrift stores, yard sales, etc., so I am SURE there are many more out there. Anyone who started in school band used one of these. Goodness knows how many are sitting in attics, basements, garages and so on just WAITING to be played and discovered. I think $150 is the going rate for the 70's vinatge and slightly more for the 60's era. Anyone know if that is correct?
 

aztec1

New member
Thanks for the detailed reply grooveman! Sounds like I got my hands on a "poor man's Supraphonic", which is music to my ears.

I appreciate the recommendations on the heads and tuning too, I have a relatively new coated ambassador around here that will go on it as I'm not a hard hitter. I don't have an extra snare side yet, so I guess it'll stay stock for now.

I have the lugs, strainer, muff, and butt off now, time to start a good cleaning on it. I hope it will come out nice. Then we can see how it matches up with my set 8)
 

aztec1

New member
I used your tips and spent a few hours today cleaning my drum. I also used some NXT car wax on all the parts. Came out really nice! I love it way it sounds with my kit too with your suggested medium tuning. Thanks for your help!



 

Spydr2000

New member
This was my very firsy snare drum, it came with a hardshell molded case and stand. I do believe my parents paid 250 for it back in the early 80's. Back then we didn't have to choices of drums like we do today.

I prefer this drum with a single ply coated head. I just tune it bringing it up 1/4 turns in tuning sequence until it sounds good and feels good to play on. I also took out the internal muffler. The sound I got out of mine is very much like Alex VanHalen's sound on the 1984 album.

I havn't play this drum in years and is somewhere in my parents attic. It's wierd to see this post because 2 days ago I was thinking about digging that drum out and using it again. I have Tama artwood and honestly I'm great at tuning and I can't get that thing to sound good.

What I did to my snare was sand off the gray finish and polish it up to a mirror finish, it looks great. I know its due for new hoops I was always tuning that drum and wore the hole in the hoops so I think it's getting fitted with some die cast hoops. Once I get this out of the attic and back into shape I'll post some pic's.
 
aztec1":3ojdec1j said:
I used your tips and spent a few hours today cleaning my drum. I also used some NXT car wax on all the parts. Came out really nice! I love it way it sounds with my kit too with your suggested medium tuning. Thanks for your help!



I am glad my suggestions worked for you. The drum looks awesome....I should send you my drum and let you work on it! I looked on eBay Wednesday night and counted no less than 20 Acrolites from the 60's and 70's for sale. I am thinking about getting another one just because they are great drums. I think I would want a 60's vintage to go with my 70's drum. I am sure that if I peruse the local pawn shops I could find one for cheap. Or again, I could just go to eBay and grab one. I really believe EVERYONE should own one of these classic snares.

And to the guy who has the Artwood....go upstairs and get that drum out of the attic. You won't be sorry!

Here's to the Acrolite.....for most drummers, it was our first drum. And it definitely has stood the test of time. Viva la Acrolite!
 

andybfrank

New member
I had this snare drum and it was stolen from me. It even had the original snare side head. The snares were replaced. Just curious, where did you get this drum?
 

skitch

New member
greeneyedgrooveman":sx79ha0c said:
I think Kenny Aronoff(session MASTER) did a LOT of the John Mellancamp records with an Acrolite. VERY popular, versatile drum.
I think Kenny was using Supraphonics for those tracks but I may be able to find out for certain....


greeneyedgrooveman":sx79ha0c said:
I removed the lug casings and stuffed them with felt and removed the internal muffler because they tend to be noisy and I don't use the muffler anyway. I would think that a coated Emperor would work as well if you are a hard hitter but since I use it for brushwork I use the thinner head combination. A medium tension works GREAT on this drum but I think it sounds good almost anyway you tune it.
The internal mufflers are noisy! I removed all of them from my early 1980s Ludwig set!
 

goatatl

New member
Here's one you don't see every day. 6.5 x 14 10-lug
Got it at an unclaimed baggage store in Alabama for $ 35.00.
Yeah, I know...


Viva la Acrolite, indeed!
 

aztec1

New member
I just traded this drum + $150 for a year 2000 Mapex Black Panther Phosphor Bronze.

Did I get ripped? I miss my Acrolite.....
 

rufus4dagruv

New member
There were quite a few Acrolites produced in the 70's and 80's. One's from the 60's are a little harder to find in good condition, but they are out there. The 70's Acro's, for the most part, had the B/O badges with the pointed corners. I believe in the 80's they switch the B/O badges to have rounded corners. 60's Acro's, I think, will have the P-83, 11 hole style throw offs, and may also have the WFL keystone style badges. I'm not sure if it was in the late 60's that they switched to the B/O badges and P-85 throw offs or if it was in the early 70's.

Another difference between the Acro and the Supra is the Supra's had 10 lugs where the Acro's were 8 lug, except of course for the occasional variations that pop up from time to time (see post above). Based on your pics, it looks like you got one in very nice shape.

On Ebay, Acro's are going for around $100 - $150 depending on condition. The new Phosphor Bronze Mapex's (not Black Panther) new are going for between $450 and $500. I guess you didn't get to bad of a deal.

Also, in regards to the Kenny Aronoff comments, I thought he used a COB or some other Brass snare. I could be wrong. :roll:
 

dahlgrendrummer

New member
I had one when I was a kid, I got it when I was 10 and used it in band class. I then removed the muffler and used it on my drum kit, it sounded AWESOME. I recorded with it ONCE, the snare sensitivity was so awesome, every stroke got picked up. Unfortunately about 11 years back someone broke into the building where my band was practicing and stole it. I got the estimated new value which was 300 dollars, pretty pricey for a school band snare!!!
 
I just managed to score a acrolite on ebay.

The snare wires are not in good condition though. Any recommendations to what sort/brand of snare wires I should use?
 

skitch

New member
greeneyedgrooveman":17twfrhj said:
aztec1":17twfrhj said:
I used your tips and spent a few hours today cleaning my drum. I also used some NXT car wax on all the parts. Came out really nice! I love it way it sounds with my kit too with your suggested medium tuning. Thanks for your help!



I am glad my suggestions worked for you. The drum looks awesome....I should send you my drum and let you work on it! I looked on eBay Wednesday night and counted no less than 20 Acrolites from the 60's and 70's for sale. I am thinking about getting another one just because they are great drums. I think I would want a 60's vintage to go with my 70's drum. I am sure that if I peruse the local pawn shops I could find one for cheap. Or again, I could just go to eBay and grab one. I really believe EVERYONE should own one of these classic snares.

And to the guy who has the Artwood....go upstairs and get that drum out of the attic. You won't be sorry!

Here's to the Acrolite.....for most drummers, it was our first drum. And it definitely has stood the test of time. Viva la Acrolite!
That is one clean acrolite! Most of these seem to have led rough lives.
 

Steaky

New member
I love my Acrolite too, great drum. Sounds sharper than my 400. Both drums are 60's with baseball bat dampers. I have a friend with a 14x6.5 Acrolite, amazing sound, very rare I think.
 

ctyjones

New member
Great drum, especially because they're not too expensive to get a hold of. I just sold my '72 Acrolite. Retrofitted it with die-cast hoops and 30-strand snare wires. Hated to see it go, but it was just sitting in a corner.
Your's looks like a 70's, good condition. Can't beat an aluminum shell.
 

bigtone23

New member
goatatl":t9xwdgu8 said:
Here's one you don't see every day. 6.5 x 14 10-lug
Got it at an unclaimed baggage store in Alabama for $ 35.00.
Yeah, I know...


Viva la Acrolite, indeed!
That is the Acro I want! Much more groovy than the 402 Supra for being virtually the same exact drum. They are rare, I've only seen one in the flesh. Heard there is about 100 out there.

I love Acros, I have a 1967 and 1980 that is exactly like my first snare. The Keystone 60s versions are my fave, they look cooler and the hardware is more old school and vibey. Great drums that sound good with cheap heads and wires!
 
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