History of Pearl Drum Wrap (pt 5)

Featured Articles > History of Drum Wrap © Jammin Sam. All Rights Reserved.
(Continued from History of Sparkle Drum Wrap)

The pearl finishes were very popular in the 60’s and 70’s but saw somewhat of a decrease in popularity from about the mid 70’s to the 90’s. However, for the last 10-15 years, pearl finishes have come back into the “spot light” among the most desired coverings for many drummers.

Pearl Manufacturing

A hardened block of Pearl being sliced.

When manufacturing pearl finishes, the beginning starts with a cultured block of a plastic type material of chips in a fluid which is a process done by hand. This concoction is processed into a hardened state, then cut into thin sheets. The sheets are then laminated with a backing (usually white, blue, or black in color) for added strength and a clear plastic protective top that gives the finish an even deeper appearance. Last, a clear protective peel-off covering is applied to guard the material from scratches until it is installed on a drum. (Note: This same manufacturing is how guitar pick guards and plastic eyeglass frames are made.)

Vintage Smoke Pearl (as we refer to it) has been sold in the past by the “Slingerland Drum Company” (as well as others) and is considered vintage.  It has also been referred to as “Silver Pearl”, “Black Pearl” and “Black Diamond Pearl” (Slingerland has darker enhancements).  Slingerland, in the distant past, had the pattern lightened in color, manufactured with a blue back and called it “Marine Pearl” which was later referred to by many as “White Marine Pearl”. All the above was made with the same pattern but with different colored backings.

Vintage Sky Blue Pearl was sold in the past by Slingerland and Ludwig drum companies. Slingerland called it “Light Blue Pearl”, while Ludwig called it “Sky Blue Pearl” and also had it made with a lighter appearance in color (with a light blue back) and called it “White Marine Pearl”. All the above was made with the same pattern but with different shades of colored backings.

White Pearl and Black Pearl have been sold for many years and are considered vintage. White Pearl is currently sold on many American made drums and many times incorrectly referred to as “white marine pearl.” Black Pearl is usually referred to “Black Diamond Pearl” by different companies.

These two finishes have the same pattern of pearl (same chip size) but differ in color (backing color). White Pearl (both small and large chip) is, by far, the most popular pearl finish among pearl wraps.

Our Vintage White Pearl has the closer look of the old 60s and 70s white pearls with a larger pattern than that of a current white pearl.

Dark Abalone Pearl is a color that we began selling in 2000. It is a fantastic display of color in a three-dimensional, “bottom of the sea” appearance.

We now offer Onyx pearl finishes (Red Onyx, Blue Black Onyx, Black Onyx, Blue White Onyx).  The Onyx colors first came on the scene by the Rogers drum company in the early 1960s who offer “Red Onyx”, Blue Onyx”, and “Black Onyx”.  Slingerland drum company in the later 1960s followed by those colors (calling them “Agate Pearls”) and even added one called “Gray Agate”.  Even though the Slingerland drum company sold more drums than Rogers, the Rogers drum company is more associated with this wrap line.  The reasons:  1) Rogers was the first to come out with the line, and 2) the name attributed by Rogers (“Onyx”) was the most popular description used by the drum public for the finishes.

Now for something different in pearl finishes, we offer newer colors of Red PearlBlue Pearl, and Purple Pearl.  These finishes have a vintage look but with a unique splash of color that gives them a festive look.

This article continues with more about the Tape vs. Glue.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  Click our other selections below (blue headings) to read about our “Guarantee/Warrantee” and other information. We welcome your interest in all our products on this site and hope that you will call us for a free catalog and samples of our drum material.  Thank you for spending the time to read this article.


Contact Us  |  Warranty & Guarantee  |  Custom Shop Form

© 2017 Jammin Sam
All Rights Reserved