Gigging vintage Ludwig sets

AtlantaDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
3,870
Reaction score
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
Who takes their vintage Ludwig kits out to gigs? One member felt that they sound flat in live settings. I’ve brought my 60s super classic to restaurant gigs and big churches in the past. I always think they sound great from the driver’s seat, but I’ll admit...not sure what the drums sound like out front when the band gets going. Is there any merit to them sounding flat in live settings?

I guess if you think about it, a modern 45 degree edge kit will probably have more projection, and maybe (just maybe) there is something to that point. Or maybe the theory isn’t true at all. Let’s hear your thoughts.
 

RyanR

Underaged Curmudgeon
Joined
Aug 17, 2009
Messages
4,955
Reaction score
198
Location
Athens, OH
Listen to Drum Center NH's shoot out of the modern USA lines. The Legacy drums definitely do no project as well as Classic Maples with the room mics.

Of course it depends on the room.

-Ryan
 

levelpebble

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2009
Messages
460
Reaction score
96
Location
Eastern Shore, MD
My tech always insists on miking everything so for me I suppose it doesn't matter. But I definitely take 60's ludwig superclassics out, will do so this weekend.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
3,870
Reaction score
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
My general thoughts are that Rogers and Gretsch project more than 3 ply Ludwigs. When comparing vintage 60s era drums only.

But...let’s say you tune 3 ply Ludwigs up higher. I’m thinking that they would come through better like that...

So what is it then...is it a frequency range thing where the higher pitches translate better? Or is it a volume thing, where a modern thicker shell (or sharper edge) just carries further out volume wise.
 

drummers_need_coffee.exe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Messages
66
Reaction score
18
Location
Burlington, Vermont
I think they probably are more muted, less of a hard edge to them- more of a warm and fuzzy tone. Depending on the music you play, that sound may or may not fit. I generally play folk jam rock, or classic oldies. I’m looking forward to trying out my 60’s 3 ply set on a gig because I feel like that’s a good fit.
 

TheMattJones88

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2015
Messages
525
Reaction score
185
Location
Massachusetts
I had some late 50's / early 60's Slingerlands I was playing and thought they sounded incredible... ...from behind the kit.

I backlined my kit for a show, and one of my friends who plays like me was using the kit, and I was just so underwhelmed. It sounded flat and had no cut to it. The kick couldn't punch through the mix and it was a 24" kick, only going up against a 20w guitar amp and a bass amp.

That's when I decided to trade kits for a more modern kit, with more modern edges and it cuts through the mix like a hot knife through butter. Don't get me wrong, I loved my Slingerlands, they just didn't work for what I needed them to do.
 

jptrickster

DFO Master
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
8,711
Reaction score
1,456
Location
Fairfield County
I think back to the 60’s 7o’s rock era prolly 7 out of 10 kits were Ludwig, just a guess. Listen to Grand Funk , Humble Pie, Santana, Zeppelin, Doors, Hendrix, Rascals, Beatles, Morrello,Rich, BunE,Ginger,
Trucks, Queen, Blain,Palmer....wait what was the question ?
Oh right, definitely play them out all the time for many decades !
 

jaymandude

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
392
Location
outer limits
That might have been me. And yes, for me, with guitars and bass and keys going on stage I generally can't hear a set of vintage Ludwig toms and bass drums. Doesn't mean they're not great. I mean, look at the answers here. Some guys are taking them out in 2 hours to do a lunch gig.

I sat in on a blues gig the other night. Vintage Slingerland 20-13-16. Terrible, like I was hitting phone books. Put those in the studio with Sennheiser 421's on them ? Magic..

new drums are generally all maple or birch with 45's, compared to the poplar and mahogany in older drums. So yes, they're inherently designed to be " louder" or to translate different frequencies more efficiently. It's trade off tho, when you're getting paid a sheeet ton of money to play behind that sensitive male singer with the man bun and the beard and the right shirt and boots who makes all the 24 year old girls swoon you probably want the Ludwigs. Or the chick singer who knows 6 chords on an expensive Taylor who's dad is putting up the money for the recording and bankrolling the band and you're getting paid for the rehearsals that she needs because " it just doesn't feel right". Yeah, vintage all the way...

It's all what works for you.
 
Last edited:

AtlantaDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
3,870
Reaction score
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
It’s well established (at least I think) that they can record well. The issue here is only with live settings. Out front and in the “mix” when things get a bit rowdy. Then again, as JP pointed out, they worked for live settings back then. I’d be curious to hear some old Ludwigs now in person out front (never had the chance to hear my own out front).

Obviously, there is no right or wrong here. But definitely curious to hear thoughts from members on this one.
 

Topsy Turvy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
471
Reaction score
73
Location
United States
It’s funny to read some of these responses. I don’t think being heard comes down to the drum as much as the head/tuning. I have played vintage Ludwigs which cut through the mix just fine with medium-high tuning on coated Ambassador heads. I have also been nearly inaudible on a modern PDP kit where the drummer had pinstripes which were tuned to a finger tight level.

Vintage Ludwigs can certainly work in most situations. Are they potentially as loud as a set of modern Classic Maples, Tamas, Yamahas with all the drums being tuned up? Probably not, but the difference will not be massive.
 

JazzDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
Feb 16, 2016
Messages
7,732
Reaction score
931
Location
Pebble Beach, CA
I've never owned a proper set until very recently. Last year, I picked up a "Jazzette" kit from '67 that had been modded, I refinished it and haven't gigged them (and probably won't).

Recently, I picked up a '68 WMP 13/16/22. I am half way done cleaning them up (condition is 8+/10) and I will FOR SURE be gigging them in July at an outdoor amphitheater (about 400-500 seats).....I can't wait!!!! I'll let you know.......the 13 and 16 sound amazing so far. Just got a super kick for the bass so hope to have it done this weekend......toms have coated emperors over clear ambassadors - an interesting choice, but lots of fundamental tone and resonance. The clear makes up for the thicker top head......
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
3,870
Reaction score
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
It’s funny to read some of these responses. I don’t think being heard comes down to the drum as much as the head/tuning. I have played vintage Ludwigs which cut through the mix just fine with medium-high tuning on coated Ambassador heads. I have also been nearly inaudible on a modern PDP kit where the drummer had pinstripes which were tuned to a finger tight level.

Vintage Ludwigs can certainly work in most situations. Are they potentially as loud as a set of modern Classic Maples, Tamas, Yamahas with all the drums being tuned up? Probably not, but the difference will not be massive.
I tend to think that the higher tuning is the key....unless things are relatively quiet without multiple layers of instruments in the mix. Example might be a four pc band that is singer-songwriter folksy sounding. Lower to mid tuning on old Ludwigs is probably fine there. But when you start getting electric guitars, keys, and all else...seems like “mid-high” tuning will cut through that mix better. Perhaps the reason that Bonham was tuning high, similar to old big band drummers.
 

JDA

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
11,618
Reaction score
1,382
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
You may be a Canopus Player ADG
you want to..get out of the "old stuff"...but don't want to be boxed by the " Gretsch" or Yamaha stare-e-o types...

Think you just may need the third lane " Canopus
Which would be fantastic I think;
Seems you're edging towards a new kit..
 

GeeDeeEmm

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
690
Reaction score
462
Location
Arkansas
A few years ago I joined a very LOUD country band. All I had was a 1966ish Ludwig kit. From the very first night I was aware that I was wearing myself ragged trying to make the kind of volume needed to compete with the band. Within a couple of weeks I bought a new Yamaha Recording Custom kit, and the volume issues were gone. Even the toms were easy to hear, and the rest of the group we're very enthusiastic about them. At home I loved the Ludwig's, but the RCs dominated the stage.
 

funkypoodle

DFO Veteran
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
2,114
Reaction score
311
Location
Québec, Canada
All good here too! I was just listening to Friday's gig both from a cellphone and 2 good mics into an interface & the Luddy 3 plys sound big & full. I guess some of you do really loud gigs unmiked or something. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I wasn't loud enough I still wouldn't be able to afford to take the bus.
 

jaymandude

DFO Veteran
Joined
Nov 20, 2016
Messages
1,977
Reaction score
392
Location
outer limits
Weird isn’t it ? People have different experiences that are unlike someone else’s. That’s so strange. How can that be ? Am I ok with that ? I never considered someone else’s experience? Do I have to change ? Do they have to change ? How do I handle this scenario? My life is designed around me; what do I do now ? Who is right ? Is it me ? Gosh I hope so.
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

DFO Master
Joined
May 10, 2012
Messages
3,870
Reaction score
216
Location
Atlanta, GA
I think I’ll always have at least something vintage and something modern. I’m not in a hurry to jump ship on anything. If it’s a classic rock thing, I’m going to be playing classic drums...regardless. But I won’t be tuning them flabby. I once brought a modern Yamaha to a blues rock cover band gig, and it felt out of place to me. But other times, those drums would be perfect.

But I think for jazz (when that starts up again), I could see myself going either way (new or vintage).

I guess I have a soft spot for old ones. Kind of allows one to be a little different. At the same time, there can be joy in “fighting” the old...hahaha...
 

Latest posts



Top