High on my list of snare drums I’d like to own is a Leedy Broadway snare from the 1940s. I love the Art Deco beavertail lugs, the engraved snare hoop, the classic white marine pearl finish. But while doing my regular eBay scan for a Broadway the other night, I came across another (much cheaper) Leedy snare drum – a 1956 (or 1957) Leedy Utility snare drum in a mahogany finish.
There were a few things about this drum that I liked instantly. First, it looked like it was in really good shape for a 60 year-old drum. The chrome was pretty clean (especially the strainer). None of the snares in my collection have straight hoops and clips, so that was a cool feature. And, it came with the original calfskin heads on the top and bottom – again, something I haven’t had the chance to play with before.
The Utility was Leedy’s student model snare drum, and this drum was made shortly after Conn broke up its Ludwig & Leedy drum division. At this point, I believe Slingerland was making Leedys – it’s essentially a Slingerland snare, but with Leedy hardware and badge (the snare strainer definitely has that classic Slingerland three-point look).
The Utility had six lugs and straight hoops, while the slightly pricier Reliance had eight lugs and a single-flanged hoop. My version is 5.5″ deep, and you could get either model in a 6.5″ depth. This one is in the basic mahogany finish, and for a few bucks more, you could get it in a lacquer or pearl finish.
I haven’t come across many examples of this particular model on-line, so I gave it a quick cleaning and took some photos to share.
The gold Leedy badge was used in 1956 and 1957. The shell is pretty much free of nicks and scrapes.
The three-point strainer is very clean and works flawlessly. Couldn’t get the snare cord back into the small holes, so had to improvise a bit.
No date stamp inside – just the M stamp, which I think was what they used to designate a mahogany shell. The maple re-rings look beautiful.
Close-up of the logo on the calfskin head. Amazing how the humidity affects the head tension from one day to the next.