Iconic standard reference point for maple shell drums.

Elvis

The King of Rock'n'Roll
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
10,708
Reaction score
283
Location
Poulsbo, Wa.
Mixed wood shells;
from Ludwig website;

"Historic Fact
Ludwig and Ludwig's 3-ply shell formula was unveiled in 1923; at the time touted as being built "...in accordance with the recognized correct principles used in the manufacture of airplanes." This classic construction evolved into a sound that captured the attention of generations of drummers."

lightness and strength: airplanes.
It was that time.
Airplanes were everything.
If you could associate your product with the aircraft industry, everyone wanted a piece of it.
I've seen wood and fabric air frames before and I didn't notice any composite woods being used, but there was a lot of laminated wood used, due to its ability to bend in many directions and be strong in all of those directions.
I think the fact that composite shells are laminated, with the grain running in different directions, is why Ludwig advertising mentions the aircraft factor (that and they wanted/needed to sell drums!).
I think the shells from those times used as much, if not more, Mahogany in their construction, than Maple. It was a very common construction wood for many years.
WWII PT boats were made of laminated cross-grain plies of Mahogany (thump one of those hulls. I bet they sounded fantastic!).

Elvis
 
  • Like
Reactions: JDA

Mcjnic

DFO Veteran
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
1,765
Reaction score
385
It was that time.
Airplanes were everything.
If you could associate your product with the aircraft industry, everyone wanted a piece of it.
... and they even called them “Aero-Kraft” shells ...
 

VintageUSA

Very well Known Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2016
Messages
1,000
Reaction score
167
Location
The South
In the modern era (post WWII) WFL/Ludwig didn't make an all maple shell until the advent of the Classic Maple series in the 1990's. All the three ply shells were some combination of two thin maple or mahogany plies (or maybe one of each) with a fat poplar ply in between. The six ply shell developed in the late 1970s was a mix of maple and poplar.
I had a blue/olive badge Ludwig kit from either 1972 or 1973........3-ply with mahogany inner ply and re-rings........maple outer ply........don't know what lurked between the two.
 

charlesm

Very well Known Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
1,339
Reaction score
116
Location
NY-metro
I had a blue/olive badge Ludwig kit from either 1972 or 1973........3-ply with mahogany inner ply and re-rings........maple outer ply........don't know what lurked between the two.
Do you mean that in reverse? Maple interior ply? That's what was common.

Between those two plies was poplar, and a lot of it.

The classic 3-ply shells from Ludwig and Slingerland were essentially poplar shells with thinner maple or mahogany inner/outer veneers.

My touchstone for all-maple ply shells is anything Keller...it seems they really wrote the book on it. I think the epitome was the early DW drums that used Keller...I like the sound of those more than modern DW.

Check out Chad Wackerman's work in the '80s for tonal reference.
 

K.O.

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
18,951
Reaction score
925
Location
Illinois
Do you mean that in reverse? Maple interior ply? That's what was common.

Between those two plies was poplar, and a lot of it.

The classic 3-ply shells from Ludwig and Slingerland were essentially poplar shells with thinner maple or mahogany inner/outer veneers.
Below is a cross section picture of a cut down 3ply Ludwig shell from the mid 1960's. This particular one has two mahogany plies but if one or both were maple they'd be that same thickness. The center ply is poplar. Even post-1968 when the inside ply was (almost) always maple the outer ply on wrapped drums was still usually mahogany....so, not a lot of maple in what many call "maple Ludwigs". That shouldn't matter, they sound great regardless of what they are made of.

In further reference to the Rogers XP-8's, they may not have been the first all maple drum shells (certainly the Radio King snares would be a contender for that title but there may have been many earlier examples made of maple prior to the adoption of plywood layups for the construction of most mass-produced drums). The major thing about the XP-8s (in regards to the question that the O.P. put forth) is their advertising is what created the initial interest in drummers to A: know what kind of wood was in their drums, and B: care. Not only that but it elevated " North American Hard Rock Maple" to the pinnacle of what quality drums SHOULD be made of in many people's minds. To the point that wishful thinking has made many folks believe their vintage Ludwigs, etc. must be all maple. I guess if enough people believe that then maybe those drums do epitomize the iconic maple sound...even if 100% maple content drums might not sound like that.

Ludwig's Classic Maple series are all maple and they are great sounding drums. I have one modern set from that line and they are wonderful drums overall.

20190407_201924.jpg
 
Top