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In the New York Store - Call 212.730.8138 for more info
Billy Gladstone 7x14" Frank Phelan Original Snare Drum

SOLD IN 10 DAYS. In the NY store. Call 212.730.8138 for more info.

ORIGINAL GLADSTONE 7x14 SNARE DRUM BELONGING TO FRANK PHELAN AND FEATURED IN CHAT FALZERANO'S GLADSTONE BOOK.

Note: After you read this and review the photos, click over and see more information about Gladstone snares and why they have remained so desirable and valuable over the years: HERE. Then, check out Steve's podcast about Billy and his drums HERE

As you know if you have been following us lately, we just sold an incredible Gladstone snare and it took only 48 hours. The good news is that if you missed that drum you have another chance because this is the second drum we have for sale. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there has been no other time in all of my career when two Gladstone snares were on the market so close together. These almost never come up for sale since so few of them exist (only about 25 of the original 50 drums) and most of these are in private collections and not for sale. This original Gladstone snare has a fabulous provenance. It is the drum that Billy built for percussionist Frank Phelan. The drum was owned by Frank for many many years and was sold a number of years ago to the current owner. There is a wealth of additional information here as well, including letters between Frank and Billy documenting the building of the drum as well as a photo copy of the cover of a Not So Modern Drummer magazine from 1995 where the drum was featured. Additionally, the history of the communication between Billy and Frank is documented in Chet Falzerano's incredible book titled "Billy Gladstone" on Centerstream publications and distributed by Hal Leonard. Beginning at the end of page 52 in the book and ending at the start of page 56, the letters between Billy and Frank are extensively documented in this book, and these letters are included with the drum. I will include a copy of the book with the drum. (pics of the book pages are included below). The drum currently is fitted with PureSound wires with a plastic bottom head and a calf batter head. The drum is in excellent original condition with some of the normal lacquer checking you would expect. All of the Gladstone features are here: 3 way tuning; Billy's incredibly simple strainer; Gladstone tone control; correct black lacquer exterior and interior also correct black lacquer. Call Steve at 630-865-6849 for price.  

Here is some background information on Billy Gladstone's snare drums:

Background on Billy Gladstone Snare Drums:

Billy only built approximately 50 drums, many of which have not survived. His drums were prized possessions for serious drummers both then and now, and for many vintage drum collectors an original Gladstone snare drum is the “Holy Grail”.

Billy’s innovative ideas transferred directly to the instruments he built. He was a perfectionist and was a phenomenally talented drummer, as well as an inventor. Billy’s goal was to design the finest sounding snare drums with unique, practical features designed to make the drummer’s job easier:

3 Way Tuning System: Billy invented the 3 way tuning system by which tuning of either the top head, bottom head, or both heads together is accomplished by using a 3-way tuning key that allows all tensioning to occur from the tension rods on the top head. This concept was born out of necessity when Billy played at Radio City Music Hall. In those days, the orchestra pit was three stories below the main stage and when the pit was raised, the changes in humidity had significant impact on the calf heads, therefore requiring tuning. Tuning the drum required removing it from the stand to tune the bottom head. The percussion section area was small and cramped, and Billy thought that removing the drum from the stand did not look professional, so he designed the 3 way tuning mechanism to solve this problem.

Simple Snare Strainer: Billy designed a beautifully simple snare strainer that allowed for quick and easy throw off and engagement of the snares. The snare strainer arm moves away from the drum and is simple and extremely efficient.

Adjustable Internal Muffler: Billy designed an internal muffler that was unique. The muffler utilizes a small lever on the outside, which points to a series of numbers. The numbers allow for the player to remember a particular muffler setting rather than having to guess. For orchestral work this feature is excellent.   

Billy used thin Gretsch shells, which had no reinforcement rings. Billy felt that the drum resonated better if the reinforcement rings were left out. He viewed the bearing edge of the drum the same as a bridge on a violin and felt that reinforcement rings would interfere with the natural vibrations. In almost all cases he lacquered the inside of the shell because he felt that it helped with sound quality. The exterior of the shells was typically natural wood and they were lacquered, typically in black, but occasionally in a gold lacquer. Clear lacquer was used for the few birdseye maple drums he built.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 04 December, 2013.
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