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So now it's got some new heads on, and it's been tuned up a bit. I added the floor tom from my old kit- really helps the balance.


Ray's kit all miked up. I have been recording it, tuning it in. The point of getting it was to have a decent drumkit in the studio...

Here's a sample of what it sounds like now. My drumming isn't so good, but this drumset pulls me along, into sort of a Buddy Rich zone... could be Ray's doing somehow.

Something old...

leedy set

I'm the second owner of this 1949 Leedy trap set. Third, if you count his daughter, who kept it in a closet since 1985. Ray Messer ordered this set from someplace in New York City when he was 16. Ray was all about the jazz music. He kept at the drums up until a year or two before his end, playing in local bands here in Lancaster, including Tony and the Tones.

leedy head

I've wanted vintage drums for the studio since playing Art's old set down at a Willy Marble barn jam years ago. That kit, whatever it was, was amazing. It had little chains attached to the ride cymbal to make it sizzle, and was so responsive to the touch that it made a poor player like me feel pretty darn good.

Now I've begun to pursue that sort of thing here. It's an odd set. The kick, 20" in diameter, is small for the 40's, but it delivers a wallop. When I got it, the snare batter head was cracked about 1/3 of the way around, but it still sounded amazing. And the high-hat stand? I've played old drum sets before and usually they're so beat up that you think it's just that they didn't know how to make decent instruments in the old days- but Ray took exceptionally good care of this set. The high hat functions as well as any new one I've played, even considering the fact that one side of the pedal has been worn away from use.

leedy pedal

Ray kept his drums in cases and kept them in good repair. I only wish I had something he'd recorded...

leedy pedal