The One Million Pound Drum Kit
Restoration - The Toms

These are the toms as I received them.

Anyone familiar with American Rogers drums would notice that the collet plate on the smaller tom (12” diameter) tom is a little low. This is standard for English Rogers. The collet plate’s coach bolt is always approximately in line with the inner lug securing screw hole. The position of the collet plate on the larger (13” diameter) of the two mounted toms is clearly even lower, and that is not usual at all.

On the left is a 13” shell that I have had around for some time. Someone has stripped and painted it, and elongated some of the holes. On the right is the 13” tom from the Red Sparkle kit. You can see how low in comparison the collet plate is on the Red Sparkle drum.

The question is, “why has it been set so low?”

I think the following could be the answer.

When you look at the tom arms, the one on the players left (where you would expect to see the 13” tom) is angled, which reduces the height that the tom can achieve compared to the 12”. Extra height could be achieved by mounting the collet plate on the 13” tom extra low. This appears to be what was done.
The inevitable conclusion is then that the 13” was always meant to be on the players left. Its shell was drilled in the factory to take that low collet plate. These drums were not purchased and then set up in that unorthodox way, the set was designed from the outset to be used in that configuration.

The 12”
And rear
The 13”
and rear (the grommet fell out but I replaced it later). Also you might notice that the collet is damaged. I replaced this.
The two toms are identical in the layout of their hardware apart from the location of the dampers. This is perhaps a little surprising as these days, as we would expect two mounted toms to be mirror images of each other, so that badges and mounts end up in correct locations when the two toms are mounted on the bass drum. However, we have to remember that at the time this kit was produced hardly anyone was putting two toms on their bass drum, and Boosey & Hawkes at least look as if they weren’t prepared for it.

Both of these toms have original English Rogers heads fitted. The lower edge of the outer oval of the logo says “Made in England under patent number ??????

The batters have been seen very heavy use but the resonant heads look like they may only have been struck for tuning. These heads could well have been with these drums their whole life.

The photo below I took before commencing work, just in case there were any details I might miss.
From studying photos from of this kit from DC's career it looks like he never moved the resonant heads and the 12" resonant head was still in the same position when I got the kit as it had been when DC used it. It looks as if John had swopped over the the batter and resonant heads on the 13", but made no change to the 12".
Tottenham Royal 14th February 1964
London Paladium 9th February 1964
Cleveland Ohio December 1964
A screen shot from CBS TV special Murray The K – It's What's Happening, Baby. The show aired on June 28, 1965.
Below are the two toms in approx. the usual orientation that they are seen on the set. Note the position of the dampeners.
Dampers were usually only fitted to English Rogers snare drums. I have only ever seen one other set that had them in the toms. It was very likely that they are there by customer request.
Below is a photo of an English Rogers snare drum (I haven’t started the Red Sparkle one yet).
Drummers will recognise that the snare throw mechanism would usually be placed on the player’s left putting the damper at about 2 o’clock, very similar positioning to the two toms. The dampers in American Rogers snare drums are usually at about 10 o’clock. So there is some consistency being expressed here and it is peculiarly English Rogers. With all the drums set up as we would expect to see them the dampers are in approximately the same positions and out of the player’s way. This adds to the argument that the toms were always meant to be in their unorthodox configuration.
If we put the toms in more orthodox  positions then the dampers start to get in the way.
The Shells
The 12” has a shell which is constructed of 3 ply birch plywood wrapped over laminated birch reinforcement rings which have staggered butt joints around the ring. Eddie Ryan, the veteran UK drum maker who served his apprentiship making English Rogers tells me that in the factory they refered to this as an “Edgware shell”. It is the most common seen in English Rogers.
The 13” too has a shell which is constructed of 3 ply birch plywood, but it is wrapped over solid beech rings, which have a scarf joint which is glued and nailed. Eddie refers to this as an “Ajax shell”. These are a little more unusual but I have a few drums that have them, dating from 1961 through to 1967.
The 12” has been drilled for hardware in the standard way. A lug has been positioned at the scarf joint of the shell which would clearly help with the strength of the joint. .

Unfortunately whoever drilled the 13” shell appears to have missed the joint by a whisker and large washers and shims have been used to try and rectify the situation. To make it all match large washers (usually seen helping to secure collet plates) have been used throughout the drum.


The 13” tom has the air of a drum that was custom made.

The 12” has sustained a little damage
The drum was probably dropped and hit the ground on this lug. I managed to improve things slightly.
Collet plate on the 13” was damaged.
This is now replaced. All the lugs on the toms were uncracked. Only one need to be replaced due to the chrome peeling off.

The 16” floor tom has a three ply beech Edgware shell. Being a beech shell (and there being no damper) sets it apart from the rest of the drums and reinforces the observation that it was not original to the kit. This drum is probably one of those that were used by DC at the front of the stage during their live performances.

The shell has similar damage to the bass drum. Something (lighting?) has been secured inside.