That pic really shows how great those drums look! IMO, the Canopus vintage wires are perfect for the BB. Canopus describes the vintage wire sound as rich and mild which I think is spot on.
Thank you for your input.If you can only have one Black Beauty my nod goes to the 6-1/2" depth. Smooth shell is the "traditional" sounding Black Beauty sound, but if you prefer it a bit drier sounding go with the hammered shell. Your choice. Great sounding, versatile snare drum.
I've got to give credit where credit is due, and I listened to Bermuda's advice before I purchased my two Black Beauties, so total disclaimer that I'm biased on this response. If you're going to get two two Black Beauties I'd recommend getting a 5" depth shell and an 8" depth shell. That will cover your bases on a wide range of music between the two depths. The 8" depth is a great live gigging snare drum. To my ear it sounds just like a 6-1/2 inch depth BB only with more body and tone.
Although I prefer the look of tube lugs on the 5" shell, I went with Imperial lugs for dependability (less chance of cross threading a tube lug). The one thing I don't like about Ludwig's aesthetics of their tube lugs on deeper shells is that they look way too short. I wish Ludwig made proportionate length tube lugs for their deeper shells. But at the end of the day lugs are a personal preference. 8 lugs or 10 lugs is also personal preference, so trust your ears on what you like.
The quintessential Black Beauty sound is achieved right out of the box with the stock Ludwig heads and snare wires. If you want a slightly more aggressive Black Beauty sound with a bit more presence plan on swapping out the snare wires to either Canopus Vintage Nickel Plated 20-strand wires or Puresound Concert 16-strand wires.
My two cents worth.
No. I have only played an original 1920's BB (engraved), which I still own, and a couple of the basic 70's model. The 70's B/O was my go to snare when I was doing a lot of studio work at the end of the 80's.Thanks Chris. Have you played any hammered versions? Are you a fan?