Do Vintage WFL Drums Sound Significantly Different Than Vintage Ludwig Drums?

JDA

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Yes. They (Ludwig) still build both new ;) lol

(if you have-to-have ultra low mileage..)
 
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drumtimejohn

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Will an early 60s mahogany/poplar/mahogany Slingerland shell have the same family of sound when compared to the WFL?
 

wflkurt

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I am a big fan of the Ludwig drums from 1968-69. Honestly I love them all including the WFL stuff but everything seemed to come together just right at the end of the 60's for me. The WFL stuff is great but I don't like the two bolt rail mount and the location it was put. I'm also not crazy about the spring loaded legs on the floor toms. The L-arm cymbal stands also did not have teeth and you had to tighten them down pretty hard to keep a cymbal steady. The shells were great though and while I like the finishes they offered, the sparkles would tend to get spotty in places and some of the colors could fade and crack pretty bad. The green sparkle would turn lime colored and the gold sparkle would almost look brown. I'm sure those colors were absolutely stunning when they were new but a lot of them turned a pretty bad shade.

By the last few years of the 60's Ludwig was making shells with with a nice clear maple interior, the four bolt rail mount was in a perfect spot, the rail was using teeth in the adjustment part(VS the telephone dial wheel that was used previously), the spurs worked well(IMO), the floor tom legs and tom brackets were nice and the cymbal arm had teeth so the cymbal was good to go and stayed put. Ludwig was also offering a lot of cool finishes that faired pretty well over the years and the Beatle boom had quieted down a bit.

I have had Ludwigs from every era though and I think it has been mostly hit or miss as far as what you get. In all the years of owning sets I have really ony had one or two bad ones as far as quality goes. One has to remember that people back then did not scrutinize quality the way we do today. Obviously some things can't be overlooked but you just have to find a set that "calls" to you and go from there. If you want to get something that you know is going to be really niceand original then I would just buy a set from someone like Gary Bender. He's got a ton of stuff in near mint condition. It might cost more than a used set somewhere but it will be detailed and ready to go with no work involved.
 

el_37

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Another factor is what sizes do you want? 20" bass drums, and 12" toms are uncommon in the WFL era, and the small floor tom was a 12" x 14" not a 14"x14" until the early transition badge era.

22/13/16 sets and the 24" bass and 18/20 floor toms are easy to find. The 12x14 is very rare.
 

Topsy Turvy

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Another factor is what sizes do you want? 20" bass drums, and 12" toms are uncommon in the WFL era, and the small floor tom was a 12" x 14" not a 14"x14" until the early transition badge era.

22/13/16 sets and the 24" bass and 18/20 floor toms are easy to find. The 12x14 is very rare.
Oh that is good to know, since I absolutely want a 14" floor tom. Are we talking incredibly rare or just a bit difficult to find?
 

pedro navahas

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I didn’t realize the 12x14 was rare.
I’m building a kit around one, a gold sparkle, it has a great sound! Found the 8x12, just need a bass drum!
 

el_37

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I've seen 2 including mine in ten years.

Pedro's now makes it 3. I would also say you see ten 14x22" basses for every 14x20" WFL you spot. In ten years of active watching I have also never seen an 14x18" bass drum- but I am sure at least a few exist. I had a 12x22" WFL in the 90's that was a cannon- probably the best bass drum I ever had. Stupidly left it at a practice space and then never got back there and the people moved on and never saw it again.

I am debating parting with my set- unfortunately someone removed the wrap off of the 12x14 and 14x20 and stained it with what appears to be deck stain........ I had plans to have Precision wrap it in Green Glass Glitter.
 

wflkurt

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I prefer the WFL drums.
The mahogany shells just sound incredible.
Better build quality too. I have several kits.
https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/not-so-modern-drummer/tag/WFL+1956+Buddy+Rich+Super+Classic
I call them the shells of greatness. HIGHLY recommended.
View attachment 393639
Mark, this is an absolutely beautiful set and I certainly don't disagree with anything you have said. I just hate where WFL put the mounts in that era. I have seen a really small number of WFL sets where the rail was move up but probably 90% of them are like yours. It's just a preference thing though. The guitar player from my old band lucked into a 1959 WMP trans badge Ludwig 22,13,16,5.5x14 matching snare and it sounds absolutely amazing. I had a beautiful late 40's WFL 24,13,16 with a matching 6.5x14 Ray McKinley snare a while back and I foolishly let it go. I even had a nice WMP 1967 canister too and the set ended up with Tommy P, who added a second floor tom and displayed the set at the Chicago show several years ago in his Buddy Rich display. I couldn't believe how nice they looked at the show!
 

jaymandude

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For me the old WFL sound is so sonically and gig specific. It’s not something that I can use on a regular basis for what I do. Obviously kills on Americana and T Bone Burnette styles but I never hear the drums thru the mix for anything contemporary.

Btw .. who is Gary Bender ?
 

BennyK

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Those WFL's are good feeling drums to play ,very warm and full . I think QC for them was more consistent too . I had a virgin 24x14 that was like being hit by a giant marshmallow , I wish that I'd kept it . Just a beautiful drum - natural mahogany inside and out . Used clip on spurs .
 

wflkurt

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For me the old WFL sound is so sonically and gig specific. It’s not something that I can use on a regular basis for what I do. Obviously kills on Americana and T Bone Burnette styles but I never hear the drums thru the mix for anything contemporary.

Btw .. who is Gary Bender ?

I'm not sure if Gary is on here or not but he is on facebook a lot and he has a lots of really nice Ludwig sets in top condition. He never sells singles either. He hangs on to anything he has that is a lone drum so that he can put it with a set that needs a missing drum. A lot of his sets are either super classic sets or downbeats though he sells lots of vistalites and other Ludwig configurations from 60's and 70's. I just mention him as a go to seller if you are looking to buy a set that needs no work, looks practically new and is ready to play.
 

jaymandude

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I'm not sure if Gary is on here or not but he is on facebook a lot and he has a lots of really nice Ludwig sets in top condition. He never sells singles either. He hangs on to anything he has that is a lone drum so that he can put it with a set that needs a missing drum. A lot of his sets are either super classic sets or downbeats though he sells lots of vistalites and other Ludwig configurations from 60's and 70's. I just mention him as a go to seller if you are looking to buy a set that needs no work, looks practically new and is ready to play.
Thanks
 

pedro navahas

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I've seen 2 including mine in ten years.

Pedro's now makes it 3. I would also say you see ten 14x22" basses for every 14x20" WFL you spot. In ten years of active watching I have also never seen an 14x18" bass drum- but I am sure at least a few exist. I had a 12x22" WFL in the 90's that was a cannon- probably the best bass drum I ever had. Stupidly left it at a practice space and then never got back there and the people moved on and never saw it again.

I am debating parting with my set- unfortunately someone removed the wrap off of the 12x14 and 14x20 and stained it with what appears to be deck stain........ I had plans to have Precision wrap it in Green Glass Glitter.
Well, if you decide to part with the 14x20 I’d be interested!
I have a 12x17, 12x22 and 14x24 all WFL mahogany interiors , the 22 being probably the best bass drum I ever had!
 

Ludwigboy

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I have found the 1965-1966 Ludwig drums great for great sound and ease of working on.

I do agree with Andlours and Dexter74 above that Ludwig quality control appeared to fluctuate during the "Beatle boom/Ringo boom years " but on the the 2 sets I have (1965 and 1966) , they have been fine.

I don't really know much about WFL drums so can't comment but there are those above who have given their comments above.

I think that like with anything you buy, ask questions, get good photos of the item and do some research on the different problems associated with Ludwig and WFL drums tha from the era(s) you are interested in.

Remember, these drums you are interested in are most likely 50+ years old and have bumps and bruises....much like us of those age and older :)

Most of all, don't be afraid to ask people on this Forum for advice. I have found this invaluable and I find they are willing to share their knowledge with others interested in drums!

Wishing you good luck on your future purchase!
 

RyanR

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FWIW, late 1950's WFL's are very much the same as Early Ludwig. same edges.

I, too have a 1965 set with a '66 floor tom. They sound great utterly fantastic.... but there are cosmetic problems with the paint in the shell of the '66. Just funny runs in the paint, that have a little historical significance. ;)

-Ryan
 

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