Ludwig Element SE series.... any good?

5 Style

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I was "window shopping" on my local internet ads and I see a set of these for sale... at a very attractive price. I'm not really in the market for another kit, but these happen to be the sizes that I like and since they come with cymbals (cheap looking ones) and hardware that I don’t need and could sell off to offset the cost so I could maybe justify buying these to replace a cheap old Pearl stencil kit that I have. That kit is from orphan pieces that all seem to be from about the same era (and are all red sparkle so it matches). The construction on those things is pretty poor though as the drums are made of this splintery cheap wood and though they work well enough as a rehearsal kit, the sound is on the thin side and I figure that some better sounding drums might be a bit more inspiring to play.

Anyway, I don’t even know about this line. What’s the SE designation all about? What do they sound like? I have to say that I’m a little underwhelmed by some cheaper kits that I’ve played; I’ve played a few of the cheaper Gretsch Catalina bop kits and though they weren’t terrible, I found the tone a little lacking. I will say that I have played a newer Yamaha Birch Custom kit that I liked better though… and that’s a cheaper kit too. For comparison purposes, I have a couple old Slingerland kits that I like, a ’66 and ’70.

Also, how is the snare on the Ludwig SE line? If it’s really good, that might be a deciding factor, though I don’t expect kit snare on cheaper kits to be any good. The Catalina one I that a friend bought, I couldn’t get anything like a good sound on and the Stage Custom, though I liked the kit, didn’t love the snare…

Are these kits merely just good for the money or maybe better than that? I like drums that have lots of tone (and volume), even when struck relatively softly. They’d be set up with Ambassador type coated heads and no dampening. I'd be playing rock type of stuff on it but with the lighter touch of someone who's been playing lots of jazz for the last decade or so (which has probably ruined my rock chops to some degree!).
 
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K.O.

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I have a set of the Element SE in Mod orange that I bought new when they were first offered. I mostly bought them because I had always wanted a Mod Orange set but IMO they are pretty impressive for the price (which was around $900 total). The shells are nicely made and if I remember correctly are a cherry and gum combo (certain about the cherry, less so about the gum but I think that's right).

I did some videos at the time. The batter heads on the toms were/are smooth white emperors . They get low and punchy.

here's the best of my three videos as far as sound (the earlier two were inside with the resulting echos)


The SE stands for "Special Edition" and they only offered these for about a year or so in the mod colors. Is that what you are looking at...a used set? If they have brought out a new SE series then I'm not sure how much of the above still applies. They used the same shell for a line of Club Date drums shortly thereafter. They then moved the Club Date line upscale as an American made line with different shells.
 

5 Style

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Cool! That demo made those things sound very good actually. The tuning that you’re using doesn’t seem all that low and yet they have plenty of low end umph, which I dig. Those old, cheap Pearls that I’d be replacing with these, I tune much higher as it seems that it takes that to get these things to start to speak with the softer touch that I use. I think that with these drums, I might use a tuning, closer to yours (though maybe just a hair higher) in that they seem like they would sound the way that I want at that tuning, which is probably a little more ideal for the kind of music that my band plays.
 

K.O.

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Snare is okay. It's in the video. The re-issued mod finishes were the real selling point of these drums but everyone I know that bought them (several on this forum) reported liking the sound. Stock heads weren't great and I had to replace the bass drum reso to get the sort of tone I wanted. If you're looking at a used set it's pretty doubtful it still has the original heads on it, at least as batters.

These were distinct from the regular Element series which used a different shell and were a fair amount cheaper to buy but shared the same lugs.
 

lossforgain

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I was "window shopping" on my local internet ads and I see a set of these for sale... at a very attractive price. I'm not really in the market for another kit, but these happen to be the sizes that I like

Are these kits merely just good for the money or maybe better than that?
I had a set of these at a venue several years ago and they are fantastic drums for the money. I wish I had bought some when they were cheap — the US line that came out afterwards seems to have driven up resale on the import version. If the set is a good price, go for it. I would if it were local to me!
 

5 Style

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False alarm.... they sold already. I should have jumped on them! It's not like I really need any new gear anyway though, so it's probably just as well...
 

the_dude

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I have a set of the Element SE in Mod orange that I bought new when they were first offered. I mostly bought them because I had always wanted a Mod Orange set but IMO they are pretty impressive for the price (which was around $900 total). The shells are nicely made and if I remember correctly are a cherry and gum combo (certain about the cherry, less so about the gum but I think that's right).

I did some videos at the time. The batter heads on the toms were/are smooth white emperors . They get low and punchy.

here's the best of my three videos as far as sound (the earlier two were inside with the resulting echos)


The SE stands for "Special Edition" and they only offered these for about a year or so in the mod colors. Is that what you are looking at...a used set? If they have brought out a new SE series then I'm not sure how much of the above still applies. They used the same shell for a line of Club Date drums shortly thereafter. They then moved the Club Date line upscale as an American made line with different shells.
You’re correct. Cherry\Gum.
 

yetanotherdrummer

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I had a set of them in a blue oyster, they were the "cavern club" set.

I paid $500 for them new, and sold them 8 years later for $750.
 


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