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ESPECIALLY ON EBAY!!!!

 

NOT ALL RADIO KINGS ARE WORTH THE MONEY YOU MAY SPEND

Over the years, I have found some great drums on eBay, and some great parts.  I have also been scammed.  Sometimes it was my fault,  I was in a hurry and did not notice some obvious problems.  Many times, the seller is deceptive and will NOT give you all of the information.  BEWARE - but you can find good drums on eBay.  Below is a guide to buying a Radio King on eBay.  It is not the last word - but it will help you.   I know I struck a nerve with some scammer, because he reported me and they took the listing down.  So - this has some information SOME PEOPLE do not want you to know. ALSO - I do not profess to know EVERYTHING there is to know about Slingerland Radio King drums, but I believe what I present here is honest and correct.  If anyone finds anything that may be incorrect OR would like to add to this - please email me.

FIRST: If you are looking to invest in more than one RK -  I suggest getting Rob Cook's book: The Slingerland Book. Rob did a great job of giving you as lot of information, but he did not always tell you what to beware.

when in doubt - feel free to email me and I will look the ad over and give you my thoughts - no charge!
please note: i am very busy and may not get your email right away - if you need information right away, please feel free to call me.

 

  1. There are student Radio Kings - usually 3 ply drums without the gates.  Although a clean RK student model may be worth $100-$200 (if it is beautiful) it is NOT worth $600+ dollars, like some people ask for.
     

  2. A Radio King that has been refinished, rewrapped, or altered is not worth as much as one that is original. ESPECIALLY if they have replaced the strainer! Usually, when they replace the strainer, they drill holes - which means the value of the drum has gone down.
     

  3. A refinished RK may be a GREAT players drum, but you will never get the collector's bucks for it if you sell.  (click here for refinished RK picture)
     

  4. Just because some "famous" drummer may have owned it (yeah right) does not make the drum worth more unless there is documentation and the person is pretty darn great!  Still, if altered - it is not worth it.
     

  5. Beware this phrase or variations:  "I don't know much about drums, I am selling this for (whomever)....
     

  6. Make sure that the BADGE IS ORIGINAL and UNALTERED - ask to see the inside of the drum where the badge is set.  If it looks chopped up, it may have been replaced with another badge.  In some case, people take shells they buy elsewhere, and put the RK hardware on, and call it a Radio King.  Even if they say they took the badge off that drum to refinish the drum and later replaced it (like I did) the value has gone down because you can never prove it to be the original badge. (You may have noticed all the badges for sale on eBay - beware.)
     

  7. MAKE SURE IT IS A ONE-PLY SHELL AND THEY PROVE IT! -    Most legitimate sellers show a picture of the inside of the drum from above and up close.
     

  8. If the drum has been refinished, the quality of the wood may become a factor in the price.  I bought an 8X14 shell that had a duco finish that was worn, chipped, and written-on.  Refinishing it did not matter.  But, after I sanded it down, I was in for a pleasant surprise - birdseye maple!  This is not the birdseye maple you see today - this is quite a piece of wood.  See it here.
     

  9. Some notes:  One reason: Older RKs are worth more than newer ones. 
    A. Older ones were made from old-growth forest.  The wood was much more dense. 
    B. The older drums with the three point strainer and gates were a great design and in demand.
    C. The clamshell strainers are finicky and the throw rod often breaks.  You can buy a replacement.
    D. Zoomatic strainers suck  (my opinion) and I would not buy an RK with a zoomatic . 
    E. Although the TDR strainer is my favorite, if the drum was made in the 80's, or early 90's beware - Slingerland   did some extremely shoddy work during that time. 
     

  10. Student Slingerlands can be identified by the "quick release" strainer , the lower hoop with the extended metal so that the string or tab goes under the hoop, and they did not have gates.  They are not worth the $500=$700 some sellers try to get.  
     

  11. Metal Radio Kings were chrome on BRASS (COB)- NOT chrome on steel (COS).  If a magnet sticks = no RK.  The hoops were also chrome on brass. Older hoops (1936 and before) on Radio Kings were nickel on brass.
     

  12. If you buy a Radio King shell only with the intent on rebuilding the drum:
    A.  If it is "New Old Stock"  (NOS) and undrilled, it may be worth it.  The shell will be from one of the newer models (last 25 years) and you can drill, sand, finish, etc. however -IF IT DOES NOT HAVE A BADGE, THERE IS NO WAY TO PROVE IT IS A RADIO KING. Please do not buy a badge online and put it on the drum, that is just unethical.
    B.  If it is drilled for a clamshell strainer, don't pay as much; the clamshell strainer used is nearly impossible to find.  You can, however, choose to build a "Presto plate"  (click here for example) and attach a newer strainer to the plate and the plate to the drum using the original holes, and wait for a clamshell.
    C.  If it was drilled for a three-point strainer and gates, you can still find those parts.  AK-drums (Italy) makes       strainer repros, but you will pay a LOT.   Gates come up on eBay from time to time.
     

  13. If the hoops have been replaced - once again, the value goes down.  You should get hoops with the Radio King engraving on them.  The older drums had just the top engraved; newer drums may have top and bottom engraved.  If the drum does not come with these hoops - it is not worth as much.  you can, however, find those hoops on eBay from time to time.
     

  14. REMEMBER - nobody can really IMPROVE the RK by doing anything, although the bearing edges may be sometimes re-cut by a knowledgeable person without value loss - anything else is (as we say in Italian) an infamnia!  Adding DIE CAST Rims does nothing but decrease the value (unless the drum came with die casts - 2000 models on - until slingerland finally folded).
     

  15.  ASK if the shell is original.  There are those who buy new shells from Vaughncraft or other dealers and add the RK hardware.  SOME will be honest and tell you, MANY will not.  As far as I know (and I may be wrong) all 1-ply, steambent RKs were maple.  If it is another wood - be careful and do some homework.

     

  16. A NOTE ON SHELLS AND DATES: Many drummers consider the "older" radio King wooden shells (pre 1970) better shells because they were cut from old-growth forests. this gave the wood more density.  newer models often used maple from new-growth forests.  This is just for your own information.  Some collectors will not buy the newer drums.

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    FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME OR CALL ME IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO LOOK AT AN AD FOR YOU - 919-943-8705.
     

 

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