Ludwig Rocker USA These Are no longer available

thebeebe5

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I’m not a Ludwig guy and am open to correction for any misidentification!!

I believe these have been identified as Rocker USA, maple/poplar shells circa 1989. Brushed stainless wrap. Power Tom sizes. No legs for FT. No mount for hanging toms. Just drums as pictured. “389” marked on each interior, but nothing more. Edges are very good but not like “fresh cut”.
Can ship nested with smaller drum hardware removed and boxed. You will need to assemble upon receipt of course. Questions/comments welcome!
These need a home. OPEN TO OFFERS!
$140 + shipping
 

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Elvis

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If bass shell is thicker than tom shells (6 ply vs 4 ply), I'd say they could be S/L's, but the date stamp would indicate March 1989 manufacture and S/L would've been gone by then.
 

K.O.

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More likely Rockers as the SL (standard line) series had classic lugs as I recall and were gone by the time the power sized toms were popular. Still, pretty great sounding USA made drums.
 

mikesdrums

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S/Ls had 4-ply shells with painted interiors and round bearing edges. The paint was a thin coat of pale yellow. The edges and interior finish were fairly rough.

Here's a pic of the inside of an S/L snare:

SL Snare.JPG
SL Snare 2.JPG
 
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thebeebe5

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If bass shell is thicker than tom shells (6 ply vs 4 ply), I'd say they could be S/L's, but the date stamp would indicate March 1989 manufacture and S/L would've been gone by then.
THIS is the info I needed.

Thanks Elvis, KO and Mikesdrums. So, USA made Rockers? Anyone know the shell construction? Interior looks maple to me...

I don’t have the bass drum unfortunately. And I’m happy to move these cheaply to a new home. Someone make me an offer.
 

K.O.

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THIS is the info I needed.

Thanks Elvis, KO and Mikesdrums. So, USA made Rockers? Anyone know the shell construction? Interior looks maple to me...

I don’t have the bass drum unfortunately. And I’m happy to move these cheaply to a new home. Someone make me an offer.
Rockers varied a bit thru the years between being well made and nice for the price and "nope". The good ones were maple/poplar. The bad ones had the interiors painted with a paint like granitone to hide whatever they were using.
 

Elvis

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Rockers varied a bit thru the years between being well made and nice for the price and "nope". The good ones were maple/poplar. The bad ones had the interiors painted with a paint like granitone to hide whatever they were using.
The way I understand it, initially, there was a Rocker. This was basically a rebranded S/L, but featured deeper shells, which were becoming popular at the time.
The Rocker used a variation of the S/L shell, which was Maple/Poplar.
Around the mid 80's, a more cost effective version was created and named Rocker II. This was the "Assorted Hardwoods" shell with the painted interior.
I think the Rocker II eventually superceded the Rocker (or it was supposed to anyway), but both were available for some time.
The shell was revamped into something a little nicer during the 90's and also split off into Rocker and Rocker Elite, which initially featured the (then new) Elite series hardware that Ludwig was pushing.
At that point, the Rocker II was disposed with.
The Rocker Elite eventually switched over to a mixed wood shell featuring Birch, then went 100% Birch before being renamed Classic Birch.
At that point, the Rocker series ceased to exist.
 
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thebeebe5

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The way I understand it, initially, there was a Rocker. This was basically a rebranded S/L, but featured deeper shells, which were becoming popular at the time.
The Rocker used a variation of the S/L shell, which was Maple/Poplar.
Around the mid 80's, a more cost effective version was created and named Rocker II. This was the "Assorted Hardwoods" shell with the painted interior.
I think the Rocker II eventually superceded the Rocker (or it was supposed to anyway), but both were available for some time.
The shell was revamped into something a little nicer during the 90's and also split off into Rocker and Rocker Elite, which initially featured the (then new) Elite series hardware that Ludwig was pushing.
At that point, the Rocker II was disposed with.
The Rocker Elite eventually switched over to a mixed wood shell featuring Birch, then went 100% Birch before being renamed Classic Birch.
At that point, the Rocker series ceased to exist.
Thanks, Gents. That explains why I thought they were maple interiors when I’d read they were birch. They ARE maple. I should trust my eyes more....
I’ll change the title to “Rocker USA” and hope someone somewhere can use them.
 

lossforgain

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The Rocker Elite eventually switched over to a mixed wood shell featuring Birch, then went 100% Birch before being renamed Classic Birch.
At that point, the Rocker series ceased to exist.
Strange, I thought I had seen somewhere that the Classic Birch line was birch and poplar. I wonder if I made that up.
 

Elvis

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Strange, I thought I had seen somewhere that the Classic Birch line was birch and poplar. I wonder if I made that up.
Sometimes the descriptives get mixed up, but it was The Rocker Elite that went from Birch/(place name of filler wood here) to 100% Birch, THEN renamed Classic Birch.
Classic Birch was always 100% Birch.
 

AaronLatos

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I've heard that, just as the older Classic Maples were actually mixed maple/poplar for quite a while, the same was true with the CB's. And they certainly sound a bit mellower than most birch drums, so that would lend towards a poplar component...


Those toms are neat. I've owned a lot of Rockers (in college, a friend and I bought something like two dozen Rocker kits from a local music store fire sale where they'd been used as rentals/backline). I built a nesting kit out of one set, gigged a standard size set for a while, and have worked on quite a few, but this is the first time I think I've ever seen any in that wrap.

As far as I know (and this is from re-edging many and cutting some in half), all of the shells are the same or darn close to it: USA made "Super Classic" 4-ply, maple-poplar-poplar-maple. Clear interior, grey paint, granitone, doesn't matter. Later on, when they switched to long lugs on these, the shells were imported and much lower quality, but still serviceable: I recorded one of my favorite records on a set of those and they were serviceable if finicky.

Tone wise, they're a great, very overlooked sweet spot: they're a LOT like a 3ply kit, but have more bottom and a longer note. Really, a modern take on the 3 ply maple/poplar sound.
 

Elvis

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I've heard that, just as the older Classic Maples were actually mixed maple/poplar for quite a while...
That comes from the confusion some had with the name of those drums.
It was known that the Ludwig Classic was a composition of Maple and Poplar. This goes back to the company's beginning with the infamous "3-ply" shell.
When the market drove Ludwig to create their own 100% Maple shell, it only seemed to make sense to call the new shell "Classic Maple", since the words "Ludwig" and "Classic" had become synonymous.
This caused confusion within the community and some still believe "Classic Maple" stems back to the Maple/Poplar era.
It does not.
The Classic Maple shell was introduced in 1998. It was originally 9 plies, all Maple.
The Classic shell was initially introduced in 1975, but didn't go into full production until around 1978. It was a 6 ply shell comprised of Maple and Poplar.
There was also a Super Classic shell that was a 4 ply Maple/Poplar shell. It was introduced in 1988.
The Super Classic shell changed to a 5 ply Maple/Poplar shell that was actually thinner than the 4 ply shell in 1997.
Both Classic and Super Classic shell production ended in the spring of 1998 (although the 5 ply shell seems to have remained in production for some time after wards, in a line of snare drums).
Remaining stock of Maple/Poplar shells were used up before the year ended.
The Classic Maple shell changed from 9 plies to 7 plies sometime within the first 10 years of production, although the exact year escapes me now (others with that info at hand may interject that year in a future posting).
That 7 ply shell is still in production.

Elvis
 

K.O.

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There does seem to be a lot of confusion about Ludwig's maple content. As Elvis points out in his excellent post above, Ludwig didn't make an all maple shell until the late 1990s. Prior to that there was always poplar content. 3 ply shells were always mostly poplar, sandwiched between two very thin plies of mahogany and/or maple. The 6 ply shells that replaced the 3 ply design were maple and poplar. I am unsure about the ratio of one wood to the other but suspect that there was still more poplar than maple in the mix.

None of this changes the fact that these drums all sound great, even if they aren't 100% maple.
 
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Commodore

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Ludwig started a facility in Monroe, North Carolina in 1983 because at that time the state was a center of furniture and veneer production. What is used in these drums is "North Carolina Poplar." Maple and this "poplar" yield some of the best tone, ever. I've still got two sets of these original Rockers ...and they sound great. Somebody should by these orphans and hope to match them in the future. Good Luck!
 
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K.O.

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Ludwig moved to Monroe, North Carolina in 1983 because at that time the state was a center of furniture and veneer production. What is used in these drums is "North Carolina Poplar." Maple and this "poplar" yield some of the best tone, ever. I've still got two sets of these original Rockers ...and they sound great. Somebody should by these orphans and hope to match them in the future. Good Luck!
1985 was the year they moved from Chicago.They were still on Damen avenue in 84 when they celebrated their 75th anniversary..
 

Commodore

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We are both right. Production in NC started in 1984, as well...
1985 was the year they moved from Chicago.They were still on Damen avenue in 84 when they celebrated their 75th anniversary..
We are both right!!
 

Elvis

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There does seem to be a lot of confusion about Ludwig's maple content. As Elvis points out in his excellent post above, Ludwig didn't make an all maple shell until the late 1990s. Prior to that there was always poplar content. 3 ply shells were always mostly poplar, sandwiched between two very thin plies of mahogany and/or maple. The 6 ply shells that replaced the 3 ply design were maple and poplar. I am unsure about the ratio of one wood to the other but suspect that there was still more poplar than maple in the mix.

None of this changes the fact that these drums all sound great, even if they aren't 100% maple.
From what I've been told, the original Classic shell was two "3-ply-like" layups, one inside the other.
When the shell finally went into production, the layup was changed to 4 middle plies of Poplar surrounded by 2 Maple plies.
The 4 ply shell just had two Poplar plies removed.
It wasn't until the 5 ply shell that those Poplar middle plies became thinner (probably veneer availability combined with more modern slicing techniques).

Elvis
P.S. - correction to my former posts...The Birch shell that became the Classic Birch shell was Rocker PRO, not Rocker Elite. Rocker Elite was a Maple/selected hardwoods shell that was slightly thicker (8mm vs. 7mm for the CB shell). Apologies for the mis-information.
 
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Commodore

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Did they start production in Monroe before leaving Chicago?
Nope... They started the new facility in 1983 and began full production in 1984. (They had to have a building ready to move their old production equipment into) They did not stay in Chicago for the full year of 1984...
 
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