Opinions on the new Ludwig Speed King?

Acidwash

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Howdy all. Now that it has been out a few months, any opinions on the new Speed King? Looking pretty hard at possibly giving it a go. Thanks
 

bellbrass

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Reviving this thread...I don't see them in stock anywhere...anyone getting one? I am thinking about it.
 

Philaiy9

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I'm surprised there aren't more reviews out there, I'm really curious about how the heel plate bearings affect things (compared to the plastic bushings Vitalizer uses).
 

gmiller598

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Are there many pedals out there? I've never seen one in person yet and there are only a couple of listings in reverb.
 

Hop

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I wonder if is has enough beater for a 26" drum?
Looks like a smaller drum that has the beater felt fairly centered, but I can't see any 'extra' shaft in that pedal.
 

Lee Van Kief

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I just received mine. I thought I’d be out of luck since I didn’t pre-order, but if anyone’s looking, zZounds currently has them in stock!

First impressions: the packaging is a nice throwback design, but the line drawing of the pedal on top of the box is pretty pixelated. Not a biggie, but kind of a weird move considering the attention to detail elsewhere. The pedal ships nested in a heavy duty canvas bag with the Ludwig logo printed on it. The bag is a nice touch, seems like it’ll hold up through many years of portage.

Upon taking the pedal out of the bag, it immediately struck me as well made. The fit and finish is excellent. Maybe it’s all in the design, but it feels like quality of a bygone era - thick chrome, smooth casting, and sharp machining. And I do mean sharp! The footboard top appears to be milled rather than part of the cast, leaving the edges of the design angular as opposed to rounded. Bad news for a sock-footed player like me.

Other quality of life items to note: it comes with a somewhat flimsy hoop protector, but the clamp and feet are both padded with rubber. Also included are two rubber clips that alter the mounting depth should you have a shallow hoop. That’s a thoughtful touch, but they seem like they’d be lost easily. Drum key mount on the bottom plate, velcro on the underside. Good stuff. The improved heel hinge is super smooth with no wobble. @Hop , I measured the maxed out beater, and it’s 13” from bearing edge to the top of the felt. Just under center for a 26”. The felt itself is really nice.

One gotcha so far is that I do wish that the connecting link was improved. The metal leaf spring on the footboard that secured the link on the old pedals is no longer a feature, and there is an amount of wobble due to fitment between the link and the pins. Then again, all originals that I’ve played are the same, and one could mod it without too much trouble.

Beyond all that, it’s by far the smoothest Speed King I’ve played on, although my experience with them is a little limited. Most recently, I’ve rebuilt one and reinforced the hinge and link, and it doesn’t come close to being as smooth. Only time will tell if it’s meant for the long haul. I’ve only had a couple hours with it, so take all of this with that into consideration.


98DAB00A-96BB-4F21-BCB7-82DBAA347573.jpeg
 
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bellbrass

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Thanks for the pic and the review. I guess, in a way, I've been trying to re-create the feel of the Speed King all this time, regardless of what brand I played. When chain pedals first came around, I tried several, but they all seemed too heavy. Then the pedals got heavier and slower - although more reliable - but the action just seemed slow. I tried the Camco reissue, but the beater kept flying off. Then I tried the Tama Iron Cobra with the strap, and stuck with that for awhile. I used an Axis single shortboard for 15 years with my band, and it was a reliable, fast-acting tank of a pedal. At home, though, I became hooked on the Sonor Jojo Mayer pedal, and now I am using the simplified version and I love it. But I wonder if I love it because it's the closest thing to a Speed King....
 
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Philaiy9

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I know what you mean with the wobble. Does it cause any noise or side-to-side play when you actually play it?
 

Lee Van Kief

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Sonor Jojo Mayer pedal, and now I am using the simplified version and I love it. But I wonder if I love it because it's the closest thing to a Speed King....
I just sold mine to a member. It was super smooth and a lovely pedal, but always found my heel wanting a shorter footboard. I always felt like I had to be too far back on the pedal. I play heel up, and when resting between notes, my heel was naturally trying rest forward past the hinge.
 

Lee Van Kief

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I know what you mean with the wobble. Does it cause any noise or side-to-side play when you actually play it?
Not so far unless I intentionally land a glancing blow instead of pushing straight down as is natural. Then again, most pedals I’ve played (high-end or otherwise) have some sort of side to side motion, enough to potentially make noise.

I just came back across this linkage upgrade but I’m unsure if it works with the L203, since the tooling changed.
 

Deafmoon

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The Flyer looks very interesting I may check that pedal out. On the Speed King though, I played these all through the 70’s. Frankly, the pedal was always a p.i.t.a. with squeaks, spring casing grease leaks on the drum rug, metal strap rubbing on the batter head, crap rubber glued bottom that always came off and the beater with the Ludwig washer loosens up over time and clicks. The pedal always looked state of the art but was a lot of hype and not much substance for me. I stuck with it til I found DW. But even that has been replaced by my Pearl Eliminator. I’m on the Redline model now with the Firth Wood shaft beater. No complaints.
 

bellbrass

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I just sold mine to a member. It was super smooth and a lovely pedal, but always found my heel wanting a shorter footboard. I always felt like I had to be too far back on the pedal. I play heel up, and when resting between notes, my heel was naturally trying rest forward past the hinge.
Since I am happy with my Sonor Mayer, and you just got the new Speed King, I'd be very interested in a comparison. You know, positives and neagatives of each pedal, as regards actually playing it / feel (your already-noted footboard issue with the Mayer notwithstanding).
 


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