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.
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.
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.
A refinished RK may be a GREAT players
drum, but you will never get the collector's bucks for it if you sell.
for refinished RK picture)
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.
Beware this phrase or variations: "I
don't know much about drums, I am selling this for (whomever)....
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 -
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
\FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME OR CALL ME IF YOU WOULD
LIKE ME TO LOOK AT AN AD FOR YOU - 919-943-8705.