The 5½-inch metal was first seen in 1966, had its major launch as star of the 1968 catalogue and was produced right up to this millennium. According to Premier expert Tam Rankin, the first 2000s may have had brass shells like the Royal Ace drums they replaced. They then had aluminium shells, and finally steel.
The love it or hate it part is the parallel action snare mechanism. It is a fabulous piece of engineering with its ‘Flobeam’ snare bar support and snare brackets detached from the shell to allow full resonance, all operated by the elongated and pleasingly contoured throw-off lever.
The problem, shared with other parallel actions, is that you have to get the twin 12-strand snares exactly parallel to the bottom head or the rattles and buzzes will drive you mad.
The snares came factory-set, and woe betide you once they got out of kilter - restoring the drum to a playable state was the undoing of many a poor drummer.