Black Beauty Questions and Input Needed!

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Oh man....now you have me thinking!

Check out the 5, 6.5 and 8" BB and play with the tuning. Not sure you will find all three in one shop, so it may take a few visits, but it will be worth your time.
 

BigDrew

Junior Member
That's the problem! I played a hammered 5" and an 8 lug 6.5" and really liked them both. I will probably end up with a 6.5" smooth shell to begin with. I appreciate everyone's insight!
 

Vintage Old School

Gold Member
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.
 

BigDrew

Junior Member
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.
Thank you for your input.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Thanks Chris. Have you played any hammered versions? Are you a fan?
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.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
Yet another vote for the 6.5 normal black beauty with imperial lugs, though I've owned a 5 and it was also great.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I had a smooth 6.5 BB with tube lugs and the P88ac throw. Decent drum, but I sold it and bought another wood snare that I like 10x better. I actually liked the Gretsch Bronze USA 14x6.5 much better than the BB. This one......

 

John Q. Drummer

Well-known member
After reading all the responses thus far, I guess I’m in the extreme minority. I vastly prefer the 5” to the 6.5”, and I do not care for the 8” deep at all. I find the 5” deep to be extremely versatile and can do almost anything the 6.5” deep version can do. (I love 6.5” deep snares in general, just not the BB. I’ve never heard an 8” deep snare from any brand of any material that I’ve liked.)

I want to add that after having three 5” Black Beauties (a late 70’s, a late 90’s and mid 2000’s version) prior to my current one, I also will say that I far and away prefer the newest versions of Ludwig metal snares.

My most recent BB is a 2020 B-stock, non-hammered, 10 lug (Imperial) version with gaskets underneath and the new P88AC(?) throw-off. I’ve left the gaskets on because it sounds way better to my ears. (Which undoubtedly puts me further into the extreme minority.) I like that it tames the very high-end frequencies just enough for my tastes. I use no other muffling. I run it wide open with the stock snare wires. Sounds great.

And all the above is coming from a guy who loathed…despised, even HATED Ludwig metal snares. I wasted so much time over the years chasing “that sound” because other drummers told me I had to have it, I vowed never to own another one and find similar versions from different manufacturers. Even a year ago, if you would have told me I’d own another Black Beauty, I would have laughed in your face. But funny who things work out sometimes.
 

cold fusion

Member
had an LB417KT for awhile, like any BB it sounds great overtones are tamed and not much rubber gaskets,

 
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