Opinions wanted on why Ludwig 14" floor toms seem to be "rare" or uncommon

Ludwigboy

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Since I finally found a 60's Ludwig 14" floor tom to complete my kit, I have been thinking and have had discussion with another DFO'er about the fact that I don't see 60's Ludwig 14" floor toms (and maybe 70's 14" floor toms) in any wrap by themselves come up for sale; is it because sets are rarely separated ? Is it that Downbeat or Jazzette sets are not that common? Love to hear from DFO'er about this......
 

Deafmoon

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Yes very true. I believe the bulk of Ludwig's drum sales came on with the exposure of Ringo & later with, Mitch Mitchell & Ginger Baker. Their configurations had a 16" floor toms. I remember the 70's catalogs more than the earlier 60's and I always remember seeing 16" toms in almost all the configurations except the Jazzette and Downbeat. I think to your point, they were just not that common. The requested sizes from many of the drummers endorsing Ludwig was 16's and then of course John Bonham had the 18" as well. The 70's was really about "bigger is better".
 

cochlea

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According to Gary Astridge's "Ringo Beatle Kits" site, Ringo switched to the larger Super Classic in 1964 and continued to use that configuration until 1968 when he went over to the maple Hollywood kit. That leaves just a very short period during which he used a Downbeat kit. Although many of these were sold, I would bet that by 1964 or 1965, most drummers who wanted a "Ringo kit" opted for the Super Classic, resulting in fewer 14x14 toms overall in OBP. Just a guess on my part.
 

Rich K.

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16" floor toms were the norm before companies even made 14x14s. The old companies made 12x14s, but those were use usually made to hang from the bass drum.
In the '60s, it was common for both gigging drummers and beginners to get a 20 and a 12 with no floor tom.
 

wflkurt

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Everyone pretty much has it covered here but also if you look at the configurations Ludwig made, most of the cataloged sets had 16's. Of course the downbeat and Jazzette had 14's byt 16's came with Super Classics, Hollywoods, Rock Duo's, New Yorker's, Big Beats, Blue Notes, etc.... As most have mentioned also, by 1968 and 1969 the trends were to use bigger drums so most sets had larger sizes. Add all that together and it makes it that more difficult to look for 14" floor toms. It's especially tough when you are looking for one in a finish that came out in the later 60's like Mod Orange, Psych Red, any of the bowling ball oysters, Black Panther and Citrus Mod. At least the 60's Oyster Black was around all through the 60's until it was gradually switched over to the bowling ball version. It's still not easy finding that floor tom as you know but it is a lot more doable then finding say Mod Orange or Citrus Mod. It's not unheard of as a lucked into a 1968 Mod Orange 14x14 around 10 years ago but it can be pretty hard.
 

JDA

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Gretsch was in the City small sizes were the bulk their specialty
cabs, clubs. short distances. Ludwig (Slingerland) , mid-west..catered it seems to a different more expansive drum set crowd, bigger stage

Ha!
 

retrosonic

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What JDA says is spot on. Gretsch was the choice of the NYC jazz drummer. Gretsch was right here in nyc, a short walk from my house. The Gretsch buildings are still here, they are warehouses now. The NYC jazz drummers needed to fit their drums in a cab, and sometimes, carry them up 6 flights of stairs to a recording studio, so they wanted smaller toms, which really helped during transport.
Also, some of the jazz clubs (and the coffee houses ) were the size of your bedroom, so the drummer had a really small space to set up. Look at pictures from that era and you'll see how small they were.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I don't know. Something about the 14x14 whether Ludwig, Gretsch, Rogers or Slingy. I agree about the smaller size for stages. Never had to hail a cab yet to a gig, though.....

I have 2 Ludwigs - one is part of a KB Jazzette kit I restored so it will stay put. The other is a B/O badge rewrapped in blue sparkle (clear inside) Looks good but someone added different leg mounts so there are 3 extra holes. I bought it because I wanted to do a Ludwig build out, but I ended up going with a 12 tom, a 12x15 FT conversion from a marcher and 20 bass. The 12/15 are sky blue pearl rewraps and pretty close to each other, the 14x20 is a vintage KB and they all work well. Plan is this will be my sole gigging kit. It's a nice player's kit.

As for Slingy, I only one as part of a 12/14/16/20 champagne kit and another as part of a 12/14/18 blue flame kit. I bought a 14x14 years ago in chrome and stripped it. It was not ridiculously priced - maybe $200-300? As for Gretsch, I have a few RB's - they are just so dang expensive. My first one was just a shell that was $600! - literally just the stripped shell and maybe the paper tag! I picked up another full RB FT for the same price. I haven't been in the market for a Rogers....at least not yet!

So if anyone is interested in a blue B/O 14, please hit me up.....it won't be an arm and a leg.....maybe just a wrist and some fingers. Thanks.
 
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Ludwigboy

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Thanks for everyone's imput...lots to think about! I just found a 14x14 OBP floor tom for my set and you are right, they are difficult but imagine that the late 60's wraps such as mod orange would be so much rarer.
 

hsosdrum

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Yes very true. I believe the bulk of Ludwig's drum sales came on with the exposure of Ringo & later with, Mitch Mitchell & Ginger Baker. Their configurations had a 16" floor toms...
Both of the kits Ginger Baker used with Cream in the late '60s had 14x14 and 14x16 floor toms. You can see clearly here that both toms of kit #2 are 14" deep (photo taken 10/20/68, in San Diego).

GB San Diego_2 1068_L.jpg
 

wflkurt

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Thanks for everyone's imput...lots to think about! I just found a 14x14 OBP floor tom for my set and you are right, they are difficult but imagine that the late 60's wraps such as mod orange would be so much rarer.

The 14" Mod Orange drum I got was just a crazy find. I saw it on Boston CL (I am an hour away) and when I saw the ad, it had said that the ad had been posted three days ago. The guy wanted $350 for it and I couldn't respond and drive down there fast enough. The guy that had it was super nice and I finally had to ask how the heck he ended up with a lone 1968 Mod Orange 14x14. he said he bought it at Jacks drum shop brand new in 1969. It was part of a larger set that Jack's had and for whatever reason the buyer didn't want the 14" floor. This guy saw it and thought it looked cool so he bought it. It was dragged around as a mis-matched drum for years until he decided to sell it. He kept it in great shape too and he was happy when I told him I had a 1969 set that it was going to be matched with. It would be a dream of mine to find a 20" bass and a 12" tom but I'm not holding my breath and I would also want them to look as nice as this drum. You never know what's out there. It's like mfryed2112's set. I remember seeing that on CL Denver and it looks incredible. Talk about a rare set for 1971.

IMG_5364.JPG
 

retrosonic

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Wow...just wow. Your orange Mod set is just a stunner. If you gig with that I bet all the drummers come up to you after the show and salivate over it. Beautiful set!!!
 

el_37

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What JDA says is spot on. Gretsch was the choice of the NYC jazz drummer. Gretsch was right here in nyc, a short walk from my house. The Gretsch buildings are still here, they are warehouses now. The NYC jazz drummers needed to fit their drums in a cab, and sometimes, carry them up 6 flights of stairs to a recording studio, so they wanted smaller toms, which really helped during transport.
Also, some of the jazz clubs (and the coffee houses ) were the size of your bedroom, so the drummer had a really small space to set up. Look at pictures from that era and you'll see how small they were.
The Gretsch Building is one of the most exclusive condo buildings in NYC now- far from being warehouses! The entire neighborhood Gretsch was in is now home to some of the most expensive real estate in the world. A one bedroom condo is about $1.4M in the Gretsch Building in 2020.

There are just as few 14" Gretsch floor's out there as there are for other brands- regardless of being the choice of most NYC based Jazz Drummers. There just weren't that many NYC Jazz Drummers to begin with. The association with them is what makes the size so popular and in demand today.

Vintage 14x14 in all Brands are a tough find compared to 16x16's. 1950's and 1970's ones are almost non existent and I think I have seen more 3 ply 14x14 Gretsch floors than 5 ply Slingerland or 6 Ply Ludwig ones. I would say 1960's Ludwig is probably the most commonly seen- especially if you count Club Date 14x14's. Rogers probably being the rarest- unless you count Slingerleedy or Camco- but they were much lower production than the other companies.

We also tend to forget many guys were gigging with just bass and snares well into the 60's. No tom or single tom setups were still very common back then.
 

Hulakatt

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Funny, I have a mid 60's Gretsch kit and a mid 60's Ludwig and the Gretsch has a 16" floor tom while the Ludwig has a 14"! The whole Ludwig Club Date I have is smaller than I'm used to seeing from Ludwig in 20/14/12/14.
 

retrosonic

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el_37: Actually, there are several Gretsch buildings down by the FDR drive. You could certainly be right about one of them now being condos, I havent checked that out in awhile. Last time I had checked at least one of the Gretsch buildings was a warehouse. I dont even care what are used for now, I am just glad they are still standing....that is a miracle in itself . I'm an old car buff, and virtually all the factories where autos were built in the early 1900s to 1960 in NYC are no longer standing (a couple still are).

The small KENT factory building in upstate NY is still standing tho. I think its Auto repair now or something like that.
I think it would be funny to walk in there with a Kent snare drum and ask if they have a strainer for it!

As for 14 inch floor toms, the only way any of us could know in 2020 what was actually produced in the 50s and 60s is if we had the production sheets for all the drum companies, which I am sure are long gone. However, I do know that Gretsch had a close relationship with the NYC drummers, whom, I have read would drop in at the factory to get stuff modified.
 
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el_37

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el_37: Actually, there are several Gretsch buildings down by the FDR drive. You could certainly be right about one of them now being condos, I havent checked that out in awhile. Last time I had checked at least one of the Gretsch buildings was a warehouse. I dont even care what are used for now, I am just glad they are still standing....that is a miracle in itself . I'm an old car buff, and virtually all the factories where autos were built in the early 1900s to 1960 in NYC are no longer standing (a couple still are).

The small KENT factory building in upstate NY is still standing tho. I think its Auto repair now or something like that.
I think it would be funny to walk in there with a Kent snare drum and ask if they have a strainer for it!

As for 14 inch floor toms, the only way any of us could know in 2020 what was actually produced in the 50s and 60s is if we had the production sheets for all the drum companies, which I am sure are long gone. However, I do know that Gretsch had a close relationship with the NYC drummers, whom, I have read would drop in at the factory to get stuff modified.
I'm curious about these buildings down by the FDR Drive since everything I have ever read about Gretsch was they were always located in Brooklyn before the sale to Baldwin. I am curious about Manhattan buildings that may have been occupied by Gretsch- not saying it isn't true- it just goes against everything I have ever read both in Guitar and Drum histories.

The Gretsch Building is located at 60 Broadway in Williamsburg, and was built in 1916 as the factory- replacing the earlier factory on South 4th Street. It is at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Here is a Blog post by Fred Gretsch talking about the history of the Gretsch Building.
 


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