First introduced in 1922, the Master-Model Drum was George B. Stone & Son's premier snare drum offering and remains the most recognizable and iconic instrument produced by the company. Originally marketed as the "All-Weather Drum", the name "Master-Model" was adopted by late 1922.
The Stone Master-Model snare drums were built from staggered three-ply all maple shells, not single-ply maple as is sometimes reported. Counterhoops were constructed from a single ply of maple and were matched specifically to each drum. The Master-Model was cataloged in only one size, initially 5 1/4" x 14" and later 5" x 14". Deeper sizes including 6.5" and 7" were produced on a limited basis with most such examples dating to the mid 1930s.
Master-Model snare drums were offered in a variety of finishes but the most common by far was what Stone described as "Black De Luxe Finish" with "Nickel Trimmings". Hardware was also available in "Nobby Gold finish", and later chromium, for an additional charge. Natural maple is the second most commonly seen finish on Master-Model snare drums with "White De Luxe Finish" being less common.
Examples in wrapped finishes including white marine pearl, black diamond pearl, silver sparkle, gold sparkle, and red sparkle were produced beginning around 1928. An all-metal Master-Model built around a solid aluminum shell with polished aluminum hoops was first introduced in 1925 but was produced only in small quantities. The Stone Master-Models were sold in dwindling numbers into the late 1930s with more than 800 drums ultimately being built.
In the next post we'll have Part I of the Stone Master-Model Dating Guide.
Do you have a Stone Master-Model? I would love to hear about it! Feel free to send Lee an email anytime at email@example.com. And for more on the other turn of the century Boston-based drum makers, please visit BostonDrumBuilders.com.