Jazz Fest Reissue Description Incorrect! Grrrr!

idrum4fun

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OK, I'm just going to say it; I have a beef with Ludwig and their description of the newly released Jazz Festival! Partial text on their website says... "First introduced to the market in the 1950s as the Buddy Rich Model Snare Drum", and "the Jazzfest took on its first form in the early 1960s as a 5.5" depth snare. Here's the link to the page... HERE

Seriously?!! Do they not know that the Buddy Rich snare drum was/is the Super Classic, model 900P? The "P" stands for a "pearl" wrap.

The correct reference should be the Swingster Dance model, catalog 908P, from 1953-1956. In 1957, the model 908P became the Barrett Deems snare drum. Finally, in 1960, it becomes the Jazz Festival, again as the model 908P, but now showing as a 5" depth, not 5.5"!

I really like this new JF reissue, but just wish that Ludwig would get their history right. Come on, you're Ludwig and should know this stuff!!

Here's a link so you can check out the snare drums from their catalogs... HERE

OK, I've vented and feel so much better now!

-Mark
 
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K.O.

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No current drum company has done a better job of marketing based on their history and heritage while conversely almost always somehow missing the mark on any drum(s) designed to reproduce that history.

Although they've gotten somewhat better at it. At least these aren't ten lug classic maple "Jazz Festivals" .
 

Nacci

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Is it Ludwig though? Are there any members of the Ludwig family working there?

Ludwig was sold lock, stock and smoking barrel to Conn Selmar. Who as far as I know let go many of the long standing craftsman and moved production to another State.

I doubt WFL3 would have made that same mistake.
 

K.O.

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Is it Ludwig though? Are there any members of the Ludwig family working there?

Ludwig was sold lock, stock and smoking barrel to Conn Selmar. Who as far as I know let go many of the long standing craftsman and moved production to another State.

I doubt WFL3 would have made that same mistake.
They sold out to Conn twice. Honestly most of the designs we think of as "Ludwig" were actually originated by the WFL company. When the Ludwigs bought their name back in 1955 they didn't really change much besides the name on the letterhead and (eventually) the name on the badge. They did incorporate the L & L Imperial Lug design into their snare line and also the Super Sensitive snare throw but most products remained the same as when they were sold as WFL...still made in the WFL plant on WFL machinery by the WFL workforce. The company that didn't have any Ludwigs working for it for around 20 years was Ludwig and Ludwig. So the company and brand has been around for 110 years but it's gone through some other twists and turns besides the sale in 1984.

Having toured the Chicago plant in the 70's I would say "craftsmen" might be a bit of a stretch. Obviously the more experienced workers were better at their jobs but it was first and foremost a busy factory churning out product as fast as possible. I don't think the family members themselves were too "hands on" as far as building the drums after the late 40's, all were working in a more executive capacity. Bill Jr. stayed on with Conn/Selmer as a consultant and general good-will ambassador for many years after the 1984 sale.

I don't mean any of this as a knock on Ludwig, they do good work. It just seems that whenever the modern company tries to reproduce one of their iconic products of the past they get it about 60-70% of the way there then figure that's good enough. And maybe it is, as hard core vintage drum geeks probably make up just a small portion of their customer base. They do seem to be getting closer of late. Bringing back the small keystone was a cool move as was the 3 ply shell. Gary's Ringo tribute snare showed how close you can get to recreating a vintage Ludwig drum if you really want to...although I guess if they are $30K each you have a good budget to work with.
 
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Nacci

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They sold out to Conn twice. Honestly most of the designs we think of as "Ludwig" were actually originated by the WFL company. When the Ludwigs bought their name back in 1955 they didn't really change much besides the name on the letterhead and (eventually) the name on the badge. They did incorporate the Imperial Lug design into their snare line and also the Super Sensitive snare throw but most products remained the same as when they were when sold as WFL...still made in the WFL plant on WFL machinery by the WFL workforce. The company that didn't have any Ludwigs working for it for around 20 years was Ludwig and Ludwig. So the company and brand has been around for 110 years but it's gone through some other twists and turns besides the sale in 1984.

Having toured the Chicago plant in the 70's I would say "craftsmen" might be a bit of a stretch. Obviously the more experienced workers were better at their jobs but it was first and foremost a busy factory churning out product as fast as possible. I don't think the family members themselves were too "hands on" as far as building the drums after the late 40's, all were working in a more executive capacity. Bill Jr. stayed on with Conn/Selmer as an advisor and general good-will ambassador for many years after the 1984 sale.

I don't mean any of this as a knock on Ludwig, they do good work. It just seems that whenever the modern company tries to reproduce one of their iconic products of the past they get it about 60-70% of the way there then figure that's good enough. And maybe it is, as hard core vintage drum geeks probably make up just a small portion of their customer base. They do seem to be getting closer of late. Bringing back the small keystone was a cool move as was the 3 ply shell. Gary's Ringo tribute snare showed how close you can get to recreating a vintage Ludwig drum if you really want to...although I guess if they are $30K each you have a good budget to work with.
Very interesting post. Still I will focus my comment as an answer to Idrum4fun’s implied question of how “Ludwig” could make such a fundamental mistake. Conn Selmar does not have a direct lineage with the era that spawned that drum, they just bought the company from the people who did.
 

idrum4fun

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Very interesting post. Still I will focus my comment as an answer to Idrum4fun’s implied question of how “Ludwig” could make such a fundamental mistake. Conn Selmar does not have a direct lineage with the era that spawned that drum, they just bought the company from the people who did.
I'm enjoying the responses to my original post! K.O., I especially appreciate the wealth of information you always bring to both this forum and VDF.

Nacci, I completely agree with your assessment about Ludwig making such a fundamental mistake! Obviously, there is someone who provides this information to the person, or persons, who maintain the website. It just seems that it's so easy to find this Jazz Festival information simply by perusing Ludwig's 50's and early 60's catalogs.

As to that 90th Anniversary "Jazz Festival", honestly, it doesn't even rate, to me, as a Jazz Festival! Come on, 10 lugs, that P-33 cast butt...and that finish! Did they just have Oyster Pink Pearl they needed to unload on the unsuspecting public?!!! Still, as a "collectible", I can certainly see this on the shelves of collectors!

Oh, and one more IMPORTANT detail... the reissue Jazz Fest is LS908, which continues the lineage of the Swingster Dance, Barrett Deems and original Jazz Festival snare drums!

-Mark
 
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K.O.

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It would be tough for anyone to argue that the best made drums to sport the Ludwig badge WEREN'T made in North Carolina. All drums seem to be built to much higher quality standards today. Partially due to improved manufacturing methods and partially due to the fact that customers overall are more clued in and demanding these days, making that a necessity .

Ludwig's most notorious lapses in quality control ( Beatle boom drums of 1964-67 & early 1980s rivited seams ) both happened in Chicago under the Ludwig family's ownership. Those were still great drums for the most part but if you were going to pick eras where things got a bit lax, quality wise, those would be the most notable periods. Even so the Chicago made drums hold a special appeal, at least to me, and are the drums that created the legacy that Ludwig markets so well.

So Ludwig is making the highest quality drums they ever have, which is good, and they have been very adept at using their storied history as a successful marketing tool, but aren't always great at combining the two. Quite possibly exact reproductions of vintage drums are a pipe dream and the reality is that the general market would not support such products. Certainly modern folks would have vocal issues with many of the minor flaws that used to fly under the radar back in the day.

One thing I do know is that I do want one of those new Jazz Festivals, just a matter of having an extra $750 to burn.
 

Nacci

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It would be tough for anyone to argue that the best made drums to sport the Ludwig badge WEREN'T made in North Carolina. All drums seem to be built to much higher quality standards today. Partially due to improved manufacturing methods and partially due to the fact that customers overall are more clued in and demanding these days, making that a necessity .

Ludwig's most notorious lapses in quality control ( Beatle boom drums of 1964-67 & early 1980s rivited seams ) both happened in Chicago under the Ludwig family's ownership. Those were still great drums for the most part but if you were going to pick eras where things got a bit lax, quality wise, those would be the most notable periods. Even so the Chicago made drums hold a special appeal, at least to me, and are the drums that created the legacy that Ludwig markets so well.

So Ludwig is making the highest quality drums they ever have, which is good, and they have been very adept at using their storied history as a successful marketing tool, but aren't always great at combining the two. Quite possibly exact reproductions of vintage drums are a pipe dream and the reality is that the general market would not support such products. Certainly modern folks would have vocal issues with many of the minor flaws that used to fly under the radar back in the day.

One thing I do know is that I do want one of those new Jazz Festivals, just a matter of having an extra $750 to burn.
Perhaps one more era of notorious lapse in quality control; right after the move to Monroe. I have handle two of their Bronze Supraphonics from that era that were originally Supersensitive shells converted over. On both of these shells the secondary hardware holes looked like they were drill with a .22LR bullet.
 

wflkurt

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OK, I'm just going to say it; I have a beef with Ludwig and their description of the newly released Jazz Festival! Partial text on their website says... "First introduced to the market in the 1950s as the Buddy Rich Model Snare Drum", and "the Jazzfest took on its first form in the early 1960s as a 5.5" depth snare. Here's the link to the page... HERE

Seriously?!! Do they not know that the Buddy Rich snare drum was/is the Super Classic, model 900P? The "P" stands for a "pearl" wrap.

The correct reference should be the Swingster Dance model, catalog 908P, from 1953-1956. In 1957, the model 908P became the Barrett Deems snare drum. Finally, in 1960, it becomes the Jazz Festival, again as the model 908P, but now showing as a 5" depth, not 5.5"!

I really like this new JF reissue, but just wish that Ludwig would get their history right. Come on, you're Ludwig and should know this stuff!!

Here's a link so you can check out the snare drums from their catalogs... HERE

OK, I've vented and feel so much better now!

-Mark

Not many people love Ludwig drums new and old more than me but the jazz festival reissue is just another reissue in the long line of things that Ludwig has done that don't quite hit the mark IMO. Actually I think all of the jazzfests look great with the exception of the mod orange. The color looks great but by the time mod orange appeared(spring 1967), the jazzfest shell was 5" deep and the strainer would have a panel between it and the badge. The look of this new jazzfest covers drums made in the early 60's which works for oyster black, oyster blue and galaxy. It just looks off to me with mod orange.

I'm also not a fan of seeing imperial lugs on club date drums as I am a purist with the classic lug since the club date set was a late 40's thing when the classic lugs were invented. It's too bad the imperial lug was not reissued when Ludwig did the top hat and cane sets as those look funny to me with classic lugs since TH&C sets were made in the early 40's by Conn Ludwig. I also hate seeing keystone badge centered up high on toms and bass drum badges at the players side. The badge placement for most Ludwig drums now(with the exception of the club date set) is in the spot where a B/O badge would be as that is where the location was changed to in 1969 and it has been there ever since. The badge on the bass drum moved to the players side in the late 70's/early 80's when modular hardware came out(that giant triangle had to be put all the way forwards in order to work) and it is still primarily there. Maybe it's different now but in 2012 when I ordered my classic maple set, I asked my dealer if that badge could be moved and I was told no. It's the only thing that bugs me about my set.

They have loosened up a bit though as they made snares ten lug only for years and they finally gave in and allowed customers to get eight lugs after so many people asked about it. Again these are just my silly little gripes and in the big picture I don't think many people care. I am still happy they are making nice drums so I really can't complain.
 

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