Ludwig & Ludwig ‘Stipelgold’ Bass Drum

Ludwig & Ludwig ‘Stipelgold’ Bass Drum

Ludwig & Ludwig 14 x 27 ‘Genuine Stipelgold’ Bass Drum decorated with ‘Cabin Scene’ painting. A cymbal is attached to the wood rim of the drum, as is a wire mallet holder with sticks and mallets inserted.

Donated by Joel Leach

This bass drum was the centerpiece of the trap set used during the twenties and thirties by Jack O’Grady’s Varsity Entertainers in Terre Haute, Indiana. John J. ‘Jack’ O’Grady was both the drummer and leader of the band/orchestra.

Typical of bass drums from that time period, this 14 x 27 single-tension drum with calfskin heads was manufactured by Ludwig & Ludwig. It is finished in ‘Genuine Stipelgold,’ which was introduced in 1926, then renamed ‘Ludwigold’ around 1929. Stipelgold shells had a gold-flake, stucco finish, and most drums also had ‘De Luxe’ gold-plated tension rods and posts.

Also typical of the era is the painted scene on the front drumhead. Many scenes were available from Ludwig and other companies, the most popular being landscapes representing the seasons. An electric light inside the bass drum illuminated the scene and helped reduce humidity in the calfskin heads.

Included with this set are two cymbals: a 9 3/4-inch Zenjian (sold by Ludwig) and a 7-inch, unmarked cymbal. The smaller cymbal was mounted vertically in order to be struck by a small beater attached to the bass drum pedal. O’Grady’s bass drum pedal is an improved version of the original 1909 Ludwig drum pedal and bears the date 7/15/24.