Ludwig 3 plys

patrickwitherow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
295
Reaction score
13
Location
Coastal Georgia
I was going over my Ludwigs after they arrived and wondered what types of wood were used when making the 3-ply shells. I heard for a time they used Mahogany/Poplar/Mahogany then around 1968/1969 they started using Maple on the outside (if painted) or Mahogany on the outside (if wrapped)/Poplar/Maple. I heard most of the Maple interior plies were clear and not painted.

So, can anyone tell what these plies are? I'm certain the outside of ply on all my drums are mahogany. Here are some pictures with descriptions/questions maybe you could help me with:

So here is my 13" tom. Clear interior and clearly maple. Dated Jan. 20th, 1969.
IMG_20200508_204659.jpg


Here is the 13" clear tom with its 3 plies. I'm guessing the darker wood is the mahogany.
IMG_20200508_204741_1.jpg


Here is my bass drum dated Feb. 1968.
IMG_20200508_205224_1.jpg


The grain is peeking through the white paint. To me it resembles maple grain. I could be wrong though.
IMG_20200508_205234.jpg


Here is the bass drum 3 ply shell. I'm seeing the darker outer wood (mahogany), but the inner ply definitely is lighter like my 13" tom. Would this be maple?
IMG_20200509_063659.jpg
 

patrickwitherow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
295
Reaction score
13
Location
Coastal Georgia
Wrap, then mahogany/poplar/maple.
So, I have painted maple shells? If so, I know it's not anything big, but I find that really neat. I've only heard of them mostly painting the interior mahogany shells. I know Ludwig was known back then to do or use whatever material they had on hand - but I wonder why they painted the maple shells?
 

thin shell

DFO Master
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,632
Reaction score
800
In '67 or so they switched to maple on the inner ply but were still painting the interiors. There are no hard and fast rules with Ludwig though. If they had a shortage they would use whatever they had to get things out the door.

Early 60's Bass drums were Maple on the inside while their toms and snares were Mahogany.
 

patrickwitherow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
295
Reaction score
13
Location
Coastal Georgia
In '67 or so they switched to maple on the inner ply but were still painting the interiors. There are no hard and fast rules with Ludwig though. If they had a shortage they would use whatever they had to get things out the door.

Early 60's Bass drums were Maple on the inside while their toms and snares were Mahogany.
Thank you for the info! I'm not sure why, but I find it neat they would use whatever they had on hand, yet still produced great sounding drums used to this day.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
19,833
Reaction score
2,092
Location
Illinois
One purpose of the white paint was so they could use either maple or mahogany for the interior ply and still have all the drums look the same when combined into sets. In 1968 they decided to use maple exclusively for the interior plies (on most drums, still had the occasional drum with mahogany interiors) and they went to the clear interiors.
 

drumtimejohn

DFO Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
363
Where is everyone getting this information about shell composition changing to a maple inner ply in ‘67 or ‘68?

I have 18 shells (20”-12”) with white interiors from ‘65-66 and only 1 has a mahogany inner ply (12” CD tom). That means 94.5% of my sampling has a maple inner ply before ‘67! Of those 18, two silver sparkle early ‘65 12’s are maple/poplar/maple. When I expand my sampling to include shells sold the percentage of maple inner ply looks quite similar. In summary, a mahogany inner ply from 1965 and beyond could be considered rare.
 

Iristone

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
578
Reaction score
211
Location
Beijing
Thanks. I was surprised as well. There are a few spots, but for being 52 years old not bad at all. Do you have any pictures of your bearing edges?
I think I'll take a picture next time I change head, etc.. It became a bit unwieldy to tune (due to the edges?) but I've got it up and running now, so I'd prefer to keep it as is now. :)
 

patrickwitherow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
295
Reaction score
13
Location
Coastal Georgia
I think I'll take a picture next time I change head, etc.. It became a bit unwieldy to tune (due to the edges?) but I've got it up and running now, so I'd prefer to keep it as is now. :)
I understand that :) My floor tom is sounding great right now...I'm afraid to touch it! Quick question for you. How tight is your bass resonant head? I had mine pretty loose and it sounded good with no muffling at all. Big and boomy. I then added a felt strip to the front head only to tame down the 'wobble' on the front head a little. Yesterday I tightened the front head quite a bit just to see what it would do, and now it sounds crazy good. I've always heard of most drummers keeping the front head just above wrinkle. (which is what I've always done for the past 15 years)...the 3ply kick just sounds great with it tight.
 

K.O.

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
19,833
Reaction score
2,092
Location
Illinois
Where is everyone getting this information about shell composition changing to a maple inner ply in ‘67 or ‘68?

I have 18 shells (20”-12”) with white interiors from ‘65-66 and only 1 has a mahogany inner ply (12” CD tom). That means 94.5% of my sampling has a maple inner ply before ‘67! Of those 18, two silver sparkle early ‘65 12’s are maple/poplar/maple. When I expand my sampling to include shells sold the percentage of maple inner ply looks quite similar. In summary, a mahogany inner ply from 1965 and beyond could be considered rare.
It's not that Ludwig switched to maple inner plies around 1968. That is when they decided to use maple as the inner ply almost exclusively and dropped the white paint since all drums would have the same look to the interior. In 1962 and prior the inner ply was almost always mahogany. It's the years between those two that you might find either wood used as the inner ply, particularly during the "Beatle boom" years where, even running 3 shifts around the clock, they could barely keep up with demand. At that point they used what they had to keep production going. Things started to slow down by 1967 or so and by 1968 they started the transition to various production changes like clear maple interiors, knob mufflers, and, eventually, a new logo and badge design as Ludwig reorganized itself from the Ludwig Drum Co. to Ludwig Industries.
 

drumtimejohn

DFO Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Messages
1,567
Reaction score
363
It's not that Ludwig switched to maple inner plies around 1968. That is when they decided to use maple as the inner ply almost exclusively and dropped the white paint since all drums would have the same look to the interior. In 1962 and prior the inner ply was almost always mahogany. It's the years between those two that you might find either wood used as the inner ply, particularly during the "Beatle boom" years where, even running 3 shifts around the clock, they could barely keep up with demand. At that point they used what they had to keep production going. Things started to slow down by 1967 or so and by 1968 they started the transition to various production changes like clear maple interiors, knob mufflers, and, eventually, a new logo and badge design as Ludwig reorganized itself from the Ludwig Drum Co. to Ludwig Industries.
Thanks, that is my understanding as well. I read misinformation in this thread and elsewhere. Adding statistics from a specific sampling supports the above history but in a different way. Plus, confirming plys fills the idle time. Were there any changes to the shell bearing edge in the late 60’s?
 
Last edited:

Myk

Active Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
38
Reaction score
25
Does that 68 bass have sharp edges? If so I'm surprised, my 68 and 69 toms and 69 bass are all still roundover edges
 

Iristone

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
578
Reaction score
211
Location
Beijing
I understand that :) My floor tom is sounding great right now...I'm afraid to touch it! Quick question for you. How tight is your bass resonant head? I had mine pretty loose and it sounded good with no muffling at all. Big and boomy. I then added a felt strip to the front head only to tame down the 'wobble' on the front head a little. Yesterday I tightened the front head quite a bit just to see what it would do, and now it sounds crazy good. I've always heard of most drummers keeping the front head just above wrinkle. (which is what I've always done for the past 15 years)...the 3ply kick just sounds great with it tight.
Hello,
I found a bracket for the drum so while installing it I was able to take the photo. It has some chippings and un-flatness generally, notice the funny joint at the seams? It still tunes up and sounds huge!
My bass drym is currently a Club Date SE 22" one. I tune it fairly high with a ported reso slightly higher than the batter for a nice punch in the mids. Maybe I should go the whole hog and order a fully vintage set after the pandemic. ;-)
 

Iristone

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
578
Reaction score
211
Location
Beijing
Oops - forgot the attachment.
A slight chipping:
29325A58-65A4-47C8-8B91-C288B6E3B2B1.jpeg

The overlapping seam:
B0F10BA0-EA31-44C3-8A2D-A5FC3DFE6F9B.jpeg
 


Top