Hal Blaine’s 1950s Original Rogers Blue Sparkle “Tommy Sands” Drum Set. Authenticated!! $31,436.00

Hal Blaine’s 1950s Rogers Constellation Drum Set. The Set That Started it All…

By now, studio drummer Hal Blaine’s legend is well known. He is widely considered the most recorded musician of all time. His prolific career spanned 4 decades from the the 1950s through the 1980s and produced an estimated 35,000 recordings that included 6,000 singles, 150 top 10 hits, 40 number one hits and six consecutive Grammy records of the year. He was so adept at crafting the perfect drum part, that he was routinely asked to replace a band’s existing drummer when it came time to record, for this he’s commonly referred to as “your 10 favorite drummers”.

Hal passed in 2019. It’s impossible to express the magnitude of his legacy. He literally defined rock and pop drumming in the 1960s and helped create the soundtrack for entire generations of music fans.

In the late 1950s, Hal somewhat reluctantly joined rock ‘n’ roll singer, Tommy Sand’s band. He was happy with his current jazz gig and had never played rock, but the opportunity to record for a major label, tour the world and a big pay raise helped change his mind. It was a wise move. As a member of Sands’ band, Hal established himself as the “go-to” rock drummer at a time when rock ’n’ roll was just starting to erupt. Before long he was the most in demand drummer in Los Angeles and his legendary career was kicking into high gear.

During this pivotal period of Hal’s career he played this late 1950’s Rogers “Constellation” drum set. He purchased the set during his tenure with Sands and continued playing it into the early stages of his rock ‘n’ roll studio career. The set includes a 20″ x14” bass drum, 13” x 9” mounted tom, 16” x 16” floor tom and a 14” x 5” snare drum with Rogers Eagle badges. The original 1950s Remo Diplomat heads remain on the top and bottoms of the toms and on the top of the snare. The bass drum has calf skin heads on front and back. The drum is filled with about 6 inches deep with squares of newspaper for muffling. Hal used this combination of calfskin and cut up newsprint for most of his career.

The drums are finished in a Sparkling Blue Pearl wrapped finish with Rogers “Bread and Butter” lugs and early “ Swiv-O-Matic mounts. The bass and toms are 3-ply wooden shells with reinforcing rings. At some point the interiors were hand painted black, working around the original Holiday paper tag labels.

The matching custom made blue sparkle fiberglass snare with Rogers hardware is particularly notable in the evolution of Hal’s drum set. 

In 1959 Bob Yeager opened the Hollywood Professional Drum Shop. The shop soon became the epicenter of the Los Angeles area drum scene. Yeager employed Allan Blaemire in his repair department. Blaemire was constantly tinkering with inventions that could be useful to drummers. By 1962 he perfected an exceptionally deep and resonant fiberglass drum shell. The drum was soon in high demand amongst top Los Angeles drummers like Earl Palmer, Joe Porcaro and Hal Blaine. These three drummers were amongst a handful fortunate players who received one of these snares with an engraved “Custom Built” nameplate. This snare marked the beginning of Blaine’s relationship with Blaemire’s fiberglass drums that would eventually lead to the the creation of his multi-tom fiberglass “Monster” drum set. The “Monster” set would become the most recorded instrument in the history of recorded music.

The Blue Sparkle Rogers set was eventually retired and given to the son of Jack Nitzsche around 1965. Jack Nitzsche was the legendary studio engineer who worked with Hal on countless Phil Spector recording sessions. I acquired the set several years after Nitzsche’s passing in 2000. 

The set remains in excellent condition and is completely functional. It shows obvious signs of being used during the formative years of Hal’s career. There are several modifications to the original hardware with new mounts added and some of the original mounts removed. All resulting holes have been covered by carriage bolts. All the hardware modifications can be seen in the photos. Some of these can be seen in the original 1950s black and white photo of Hal and Tommy Sands. A total of four of the Bread and Butter lugs have a single broken screw receiver inside of the lug. These lugs remain functional but I’d recommend replacing them if you’re planning on playing the set.

The set includes Hal’s Ludwig Speed King bass and hi-hat pedals and the Rogers extended shell mounted cymbal stand seen in the photos. The other hardware in the photos was added to complete the set. It is included but not original to the set.

The set is authenticated with a hand signed letter from Hal Blaine dated 2014 stating that he gave the set to Jack Nitzche Jr. “when he was a young lad”. The set also includes a signed photo, a signed calendar and a set of Hal’s 4 fiber cases. The case for the 13″ tom is Stenciled “Hal Blaine, Tommy Sands Show”. None of the other cases have Hal’s name on them.

Shipping: $600.00 US

PRICE: $31,436.00. Serious offers considered. 

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