Ludwig 60s vs DW

Rotarded

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I owned and gigged both a Performance series and a 1964 Ludwig at the same time. The Performance series was a fine instrument, but it's shell construction was more tuned towards projection, and worked very well, unmic'd, in most situations. The 3ply Ludwig had more warmth. In less acoustically friendly venues, with less sound control, the Ludwigs filled the room with that warmth, without the volume. I still own the Ludwigs.....
 

5 Style

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I'm much bigger fan of Ludwig than DW (though I have used some DW hardware, which is great). I like the sizes of the DWs far better though and to me that might be the most important factor (and I have to stress the "to me" part). I find that a 20" bass drum is as large as I need, even for rock stuff and particularly if you're playing jazz on it, that would be what I'd want (I like the fact that I can have the rack to lower too). That Jazz series I think are thinner, more vintage sounding shells, which would also inspire me to lean that way as I think that I'd dig those more than the regular DW line. Then there's the fact that hardware on the DWs is bound to be far more sturdy and better if you're gigging and setting up/taking down the drums a lot. Between those two, even though as I said I'm not so much of a DW fan, I might be leaning towards the DWs.

Alternatively, you might try to find a kit of Ludwig Standard drums. Those were made to be a cheaper line, but have the same shells as the regular Ludwig line had at the time and they sound great. They have different lugs though which some folks don't like, but I think they look fine. These can often be found cheaper than other vintage Ludwigs and if you were to find some in the sizes that you like, you'd have a great kit and maybe save some money over either one of the two aforementioned kits. The Standard line came in some really funky finishes too, many of which I really like (though admittedly some will think that they're a bit gaudy).
 

bpaluzzi

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I'm much bigger fan of Ludwig than DW (though I have used some DW hardware, which is great). I like the sizes of the DWs far better though and to me that might be the most important factor (and I have to stress the "to me" part). I find that a 20" bass drum is as large as I need, even for rock stuff and particularly if you're playing jazz on it, that would be what I'd want (I like the fact that I can have the rack to lower too). That Jazz series I think are thinner, more vintage sounding shells, which would also inspire me to lean that way as I think that I'd dig those more than the regular DW line. Then there's the fact that hardware on the DWs is bound to be far more sturdy and better if you're gigging and setting up/taking down the drums a lot. Between those two, even though as I said I'm not so much of a DW fan, I might be leaning towards the DWs.

Alternatively, you might try to find a kit of Ludwig Standard drums. Those were made to be a cheaper line, but have the same shells as the regular Ludwig line had at the time and they sound great. They have different lugs though which some folks don't like, but I think they look fine. These can often be found cheaper than other vintage Ludwigs and if you were to find some in the sizes that you like, you'd have a great kit and maybe save some money over either one of the two aforementioned kits. The Standard line came in some really funky finishes too, many of which I really like (though admittedly some will think that they're a bit gaudy).
They're not DW Jazz series. They're DW Performance, their mid-tier line.
 

5 Style

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They're not DW Jazz series. They're DW Performance, their mid-tier line.
Ah... that's different. The ones of those that I've heard, while not awful, aren't really the sound that I like and maybe not as great a fit for jazz. I'd keep looking for a Ludwig or other vintage kit in those smaller sizes then...
 

wflkurt

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I can't answer any of this until I see the actual Ludwig set. I have owned many vintage Ludwig sets and almost all of them have been excellent. It feels great to play jazz on an old set of Ludwig's. That being said, there are just too many variables to an old Ludwig set to make judgements on without a picture or an inspection. Certain colors are also worth more than others and the sizes matter. If there are any modifications, that can greatly affect the price.
 

Shawn Martin

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I've owned several 60's Ludwigs over the years and love them, but for a home jazz kit, the DW sizes are going to be more practical and maybe give you a better sound (although Joe Morello would probably disagree). You kind of have to appreciate the vibe of the old Ludwigs for it to be worth it. As far as build quality goes, I've never had any serious issues with those old kits, but, again the DW's are newer and will be lower maintenance in general.
Joe Morello played DW for the last 12-15 years of his life.
 

Iristone

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So, the molds (good and bad), in the Chicago factory were just decoration?
I think he was correct in that the wood was made into plywood first and bent into cylinders in the moulds later, which might leave a bit larger margin of error. But the moulds are essential so they are still round enough to be tunable - and have that iconic sound.
 

huitli

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The Ludwigs probably sound better but the thing with vintage drums is that sometimes they have hardware issues and they’re old you know and don’t work as good as they probably used to.
Yes, as much as I love vintage drums they are a bit like old cars: great to look at but hard to keep running. Vintage drums sound great but, if you started playing in the '60s you know that reliable hardware was a major issue for all brands. (Especially for those of us--meaning most of us at the time-- that started on MIJ kits. They looked fantastic but it was a constant struggle to keep them in place. I honestly can't understand why they are now considered collectible--nostalgia I guess.) My 1st new/special ordered drum set, in 1969/70, was Camco (now DW) exactly because it had the best hardware.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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Yes, as much as I love vintage drums they are a bit like old cars: great to look at but hard to keep running. Vintage drums sound great but, if you started playing in the '60s you know that reliable hardware was a major issue for all brands. (Especially for those of us--meaning most of us at the time-- that started on MIJ kits. They looked fantastic but it was a constant struggle to keep them in place. I honestly can't understand why they are now considered collectible--nostalgia I guess.) My 1st new/special ordered drum set, in 1969/70, was Camco (now DW) exactly because it had the best hardware.
Those old Camcos can sound awesome. Check out this vid of Elvin Jones’ Camco set. It’s the first out of the three drumset demonstrations in the vid and it sounds the best.
 

sdorsey

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Thanks to all who posted--lots of well-considered advice, and I learned a lot. My heart said "Ludwig," as I learned on my dad's ludwig set in the
late '60s. But many posts suggested that, unless you have a lot of experience, maintaining the vintage set could be a challenge. Especially, since
I was purchasing from a distance, and not able to compare live. So, I went with my "head" and purchased the lower-risk DW's. Happy to report that I'm very pleased with the choice. Thanks again, for all your great insights!
 

WesChilton

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DW Performance Series drums are the same USA-made maple shells and finishes as the Collectors Series, just with slightly smaller lugs and much more limited finish, size and configuration options. They are not a mid-tier drum, nor are they made off-shore. They are excellent drums, and if you only have one kit that is the kit to have.

Off-shore models start with DW's Design Series which is made in Taiwan, and are still very good drums.

FWIW, when I bought my '65 Ludwigs, both bass drum hoops were horribly out of round and had to be replaced. The floor tom rims were badly bent, two of the bass drum lugs were split and had to be replaced and many tension rods were rusted. I had to remove all of the lugs and wrap the springs in cotton squares to kill the high pitched ringing. The floor tom legs are ridiculously too short, and the rack tom mount wobbles a lot and chokes all of the tone out of the tom. All of that has been remedied as well. Now I have the drums set up so that they sound their best... at the expense of a lot of extra money as well as modernizing the highly coveted vintage aesthetic. But now that I have them where they sing, I wouldn't trade them for anything... and I could always set them back to stock for re$ale if I needed to.

Vintage drums can be wonderful and definitely have a cool vibe, but they take effort to deal with. Not that they can't be great... but lets not forget that people were dumping these kits by the thousands in the 70s and 80s because the higher quality Japanese kits were killing them. My set '65 of Super Classics are siblings to a 1992 custom-made Eames kit and a modern Gretsch Renown kit. I also played Yamaha Recording Customs for 20 years. They all have their own voice and I love that. But if I could only have one kit, it would be a modern one like the Yamaha's, Gretsch's or a set of DWs with good quality, modern hardware.

You made the right choice.
 

bpaluzzi

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DW Performance Series drums are the same USA-made maple shells and finishes as the Collectors Series, just with slightly smaller lugs and much more limited finish, size and configuration options. They are not a mid-tier drum, nor are they made off-shore. They are excellent drums, and if you only have one kit that is the kit to have.

Off-shore models start with DW's Design Series which is made in Taiwan, and are still very good drums.

FWIW, when I bought my '65 Ludwigs, both bass drum hoops were horribly out of round and had to be replaced. The floor tom rims were badly bent, two of the bass drum lugs were split and had to be replaced and many tension rods were rusted. I had to remove all of the lugs and wrap the springs in cotton squares to kill the high pitched ringing. The floor tom legs are ridiculously too short, and the rack tom mount wobbles a lot and chokes all of the tone out of the tom. All of that has been remedied as well. Now I have the drums set up so that they sound their best... at the expense of a lot of extra money as well as modernizing the highly coveted vintage aesthetic. But now that I have them where they sing, I wouldn't trade them for anything... and I could always set them back to stock for re$ale if I needed to.

Vintage drums can be wonderful and definitely have a cool vibe, but they take effort to deal with. Not that they can't be great... but lets not forget that people were dumping these kits by the thousands in the 70s and 80s because the higher quality Japanese kits were killing them. My set '65 of Super Classics are siblings to a 1992 custom-made Eames kit and a modern Gretsch Renown kit. I also played Yamaha Recording Customs for 20 years. They all have their own voice and I love that. But if I could only have one kit, it would be a modern one like the Yamaha's, Gretsch's or a set of DWs with good quality, modern hardware.

You made the right choice.
the performance series and collectors series do not have the same shells.

Performance Series use HVX shells, which are 8-ply (except for snares + 8" toms, which are 10-ply and 7-ply, respectively)

Collectors Series uses a bunch of different shell layups, but none of them match the HVX.
 
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WesChilton

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I knew someone would come at me, Nitpicker. ;)
Yes, they don't match exactly, but I have played both Performance, and multiple Collectors Series maple shell drums in the studio and they sound identical. Changing heads makes more of a difference than all of those different shell layups. In my experience, its close enough to the HVLT of the Collectors Series that it doesn't matter. And you save a ton of money.

Anyway, my point is still valid, they are high quality, USA-made drums, not mid-grade imports.
 

GrandfatherOdin

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This is coming from a former longtime DW Collector player (it was my exclusive kit for years) of which I burned myself out on DW and I had a 60's Ludwig kit (original owner). DW, no question. I've had three Collectors kits over the years (none now). Apples and oranges. Would I want a DW kit now? Uh, no thanks, like I said, been there, done that. Too many fish in the sea.. Would I want I vintage Ludwig kit? Uh yeah. BUT you cannot deny the quality DW holds over a vintage Ludwig kit. And lets not even talk hardware. I still have my DW hardware from the late 90's in my hardware case. Can I say that about old Ludwig hardware? Nope.

Now, I do own a vintage kit which is remarkable. A Rogers Holiday that is at least 55 years old which has great, tight, original wrap and fantastic shells. It compares with any of my modern kits. Any of them. I guess I'm lucky. But I do treat it with gloves. I will not be playing that kit out in the sun. One of my Yamaha kits or my Jenkins-Martin kit is doing that.

View attachment 497168
Mmmm I love that blue onyx on old Rogers. Would absolutely love to own these drums one day!
 

sdorsey

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DW Performance Series drums are the same USA-made maple shells and finishes as the Collectors Series, just with slightly smaller lugs and much more limited finish, size and configuration options. They are not a mid-tier drum, nor are they made off-shore. They are excellent drums, and if you only have one kit that is the kit to have.

Off-shore models start with DW's Design Series which is made in Taiwan, and are still very good drums.

FWIW, when I bought my '65 Ludwigs, both bass drum hoops were horribly out of round and had to be replaced. The floor tom rims were badly bent, two of the bass drum lugs were split and had to be replaced and many tension rods were rusted. I had to remove all of the lugs and wrap the springs in cotton squares to kill the high pitched ringing. The floor tom legs are ridiculously too short, and the rack tom mount wobbles a lot and chokes all of the tone out of the tom. All of that has been remedied as well. Now I have the drums set up so that they sound their best... at the expense of a lot of extra money as well as modernizing the highly coveted vintage aesthetic. But now that I have them where they sing, I wouldn't trade them for anything... and I could always set them back to stock for re$ale if I needed to.

Vintage drums can be wonderful and definitely have a cool vibe, but they take effort to deal with. Not that they can't be great... but lets not forget that people were dumping these kits by the thousands in the 70s and 80s because the higher quality Japanese kits were killing them. My set '65 of Super Classics are siblings to a 1992 custom-made Eames kit and a modern Gretsch Renown kit. I also played Yamaha Recording Customs for 20 years. They all have their own voice and I love that. But if I could only have one kit, it would be a modern one like the Yamaha's, Gretsch's or a set of DWs with good quality, modern hardware.

You made the right choice.
Thanks for affirming my choice. All makes sense, as I really don't have the expertise or the desire to put time and money into dealing with a Vintage set that needs work. I had to laugh about your experience with the '65 Ludwigs with the ridiculously short floor tom legs. That was my dad's set that I learned on, and I did everything I could think to get that floor tom higher! Drove me nuts. Again, thanks!
 


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