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Thread: Zickos Info?

  1. #1

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    The local music store has a Zickos 4 pc for sale, no snare, for 600 dollars. I know a little about the brand, I just am not sure how to identify the year and if 600 is a good price or not. I can't figure out how to upload a photo I took of the kit unfortunately. Thank you!

  2. #2

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    I can't tell you a ton about them, but they're going to be of similar build quality to vintage vistalites. They're tabbed and welded seams, so they're not as sturdy as modern seamless shells, but they should still be of decent quality.
    Mmm... Saturns.

  3. #3

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    I had the Zickos 400 kit, circa 1969 (twin 14" rack toms). It was the same model kit that Clyde Stubblefield used for a few tours with James Brown. I traded a Ludwig (Monroe NC) 6.5x14" Black Beauty for it. The seller wanted $575 cash but was willing to trade for it. My Ludwig snare was $650 new so I was in the "ballpark" as far as price.

    My Zickos was meticulously cared for and kept in cases for over 40 years. The shells were 18x22" 10x14" rack toms (2x) and a 18x18" floor tom (no snare). I flipped it for $750.

    Make sure your Zickos kit has all of the original hardware. Many that have survived have been modified, especially the lugs. The Zickos kits made between 1969-1971 have unique lugs. The hoops have notches where the claw of each lug fits into the slotted hoop.

    Check the bearing edges. Zickos kits were known for having good bearing edges unlike the Ludwig Vistalites that came out of that era (late '60's early '70's).

    The Zickos hardware is also unique. The original bass drum spurs for the first Zickos kits were outsourced to Ludwig Drum Co. Bill Zickos needed to find bass drum spurs for the first production run and called Ludwig and ordered the spurs.

    Unbeknownst to Ludwig, Zickos outfitted all of his first run kits with their spurs but Ludwig had to do a cease and desist order to stop Zickos from using their propriety patented hardware without permission. Pictured below are the original Zickos hardware from 1969.

    Note the Ludwig 5/16" bass drum spurs. I added the rubber spur "boots" to keep my carpet from getting ripped up. The top rod of each tom holder were not cut to equal lengths. I found out by trial and error that the shorter top rod allowed the shell to vibrate at a higher rate (less mass) thus producing a higher pitched resonate tone which made tuning the twin rack toms easier. I used the shorter rod on the higher tuned rack tom.

    Last edited by late8; 10-11-2017 at 09:39 AM.

  4. #4

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    The Zickos 400 was in pristine shape. Not one notable scratch on any of the shells and the clarity of the acrylic was mind blowing. Zickos shaped his shells by hand in molds after heating them in a pizza type industrial oven. Some critics say that by baking the acrylic rather than pulling them into cylinders gave the Zickos kits their clarity.

    As mentioned, Zickos used seams on his acrylic shells. Although the debate between seamless vs seamed construction on drum shells still rage on, Zickos kits were known for their sturdy construction, especially around the seams.

    The bass drum mounts were "over" engineered to spread the weight out from under the chrome plate.

    The unusual design of the rack tom holders allowed shells to resonate, sending the vibrations down the tube to the bass drum, which in concert with the rack toms gave the kit such a presence in any room. Both tom holder were specifically cut in different lengths which helped with tuning the twin rack toms within a 4rd of each other. In my opinion, the Zickos kit sounded unlike any modern acrylic kit on the market which made me a fan.

    Last edited by late8; 10-10-2017 at 05:31 PM.

  5. #5

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    Recording the Zickos kit was a far departure from what I was used to with wood (mostly maple shells). I had to resort to using a last minute fix (duct tape) to cut the resonance down, even with using a 2 ply batter over a 1 ply reso, there was too much overtones for the recording.

    I used two kick mics, Beta 52 on the reso and an Audix D6 on the batter. I reversed the phase on the Audix D6 and used an EQ pillow in the kick and had great results.

    In the end, I gave up on the non-ported reso. I stuck a Kickport in the kick with a EQ pillow for live jam sessions.

    Last edited by late8; 10-10-2017 at 06:01 PM.

  6. #6

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    I think Late 8 cleared up a lot of questions

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiderjig View Post
    I think Late 8 cleared up a lot of questions
    Thanks Spiderjig! I miss that kit. I had to sell it since it wasn't practical to tear it down, to move or to fuss with different set ups. The weight of the shells also made it a pain to move around and the static build up on the surface of the acrylic shells made it hard to dust and clean without adding new swirl marks. The view from up top was too cool.

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