We tell the Beatles story through their fabulous photos.

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"The Beatles saved the world from boredom."-George Harrison

Monday, April 20, 2009


by Russ Lease

The 60’s mental image of the Beatles playing live includes Ringo Starr sitting behind his oyster black pearl drums with the famous ‘drop-T’Beatle logo blazoned across the bass drumhead.

In most people’s minds, the drum set that appears in this image doesn’t change from photo-to-
photo or year-to-year, only Ringo’s clothing or length of hair seem to. But to us drum hardware/artifact junkies, the changes are obviously much more substantial.

Ringo owned four different oyster black pearl Ludwig drum kits during his Beatle days. Photographic evidence strongly suggests that Ringo used only four specific drum sets from May 12, 1963, through to mid-1968. How can you tell? The swirl design of the oyster black pearl creates an abstract, non-repeating pattern around the wooden shell of the drums. This unique pattern, in relation to the hardware mounted on the drums, makes each manufactured drum
completely identifiable to the exclusion of all others.

This obviously does not apply to Ringo’s peripheral hardware – cymbals, drum and hi-hat stands, etc. It is known that from time-to-time, Starr interchanged this hardware from his
inventory.The purpose of this article, though, is not to delve into the hardware changes and histories of these four sets. That would be a separate story unto itself for another time.

Rather, I’ll explore the ‘drop-T’logo drum heads themselves, as it is a topic that has rarely, if ever, been written about.

read the full article here

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