vintage ludwig - I'm a believer!

Iristone

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So I bought a silver sparkle 12" tom in an attempt to expand my Club Date SE set. Build quality was funny to say the least: wood joints were not meeting perfectly, there was something that looks like lifting at both the inner and outer seams (wood itself was nicely glued). Ply separation at reinforcing ring; factory attached (or maybe the previous owner modified an undrilled tom?) Slingerland mount but (thankfully?) didn't drill the large hole in the shell; and no one would ever accuse it of having a bearing edge acceptable by modern standards. I thought, maybe it'd go "thud"?
I put new coated Ambs on and tuned it up. Happily I was proven completely wrong - this drum oozes with tone! All the round warm Ludwig "boing" with more punch and focus thrown in. In fact it's quite thrilling to find a reso head really resonating loud and proud like this. I'm a believer! Gotta save up for a kit from now. ;-)
 

CaptainCrunch

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I’ve torn down and restored close to 1000 vintage kits, probably 3/4 Ludwig. Some were almost NOS, some were holier than the pope’s laundry day boxer shorts road-dog player kits. No matter how deep in the pile of used heads you dig for the least-nasty Pinstripe or Ambassador you can find, they virtually always tuned up and sounded like rock & roll.

Rogers and Camco were better-made, Gretsch have that ineffable “sound”, but if it comes down to it, old Luddy’s can’t be beat.
 

studrum

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Crunch is right. For a long time Ludwig could do no wrong. In the 60's they said, "We've got to quit paying all this money for brass for the shells of our (great sounding) metal drums." Recipe for disaster, right? "Let's make 'em out of aluminum," and they at first don't do the plating right at all, total flaking and peeling. Drum still sounds great, in a totally different way from the brass ones. Becomes the most popular snare ever.
 

fun2drum

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Crunch is right. For a long time Ludwig could do no wrong. In the 60's they said, "We've got to quit paying all this money for brass for the shells of our (great sounding) metal drums." Recipe for disaster, right? "Let's make 'em out of aluminum," and they at first don't do the plating right at all, total flaking and peeling. Drum still sounds great, in a totally different way from the brass ones. Becomes the most popular snare ever.
And then came the rivets. :laughing6:
 

fun2drum

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So I bought a silver sparkle 12" tom in an attempt to expand my Club Date SE set. Build quality was funny to say the least: wood joints were not meeting perfectly, there was something that looks like lifting at both the inner and outer seams (wood itself was nicely glued). Ply separation at reinforcing ring; factory attached (or maybe the previous owner modified an undrilled tom?) Slingerland mount but (thankfully?) didn't drill the large hole in the shell; and no one would ever accuse it of having a bearing edge acceptable by modern standards. I thought, maybe it'd go "thud"?
I put new coated Ambs on and tuned it up. Happily I was proven completely wrong - this drum oozes with tone! All the round warm Ludwig "boing" with more punch and focus thrown in. In fact it's quite thrilling to find a reso head really resonating loud and proud like this. I'm a believer! Gotta save up for a kit from now. ;-)
It's true. The fit and finish on the inside of my old Ludwigs are not exactly pretty, but the sound those old drums put out aren't matched by anything else I've played out there. There's magic in them.
 

vintagedrummersweden

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So I bought a silver sparkle 12" tom in an attempt to expand my Club Date SE set. Build quality was funny to say the least: wood joints were not meeting perfectly, there was something that looks like lifting at both the inner and outer seams (wood itself was nicely glued). Ply separation at reinforcing ring; factory attached (or maybe the previous owner modified an undrilled tom?) Slingerland mount but (thankfully?) didn't drill the large hole in the shell; and no one would ever accuse it of having a bearing edge acceptable by modern standards. I thought, maybe it'd go "thud"?
I put new coated Ambs on and tuned it up. Happily I was proven completely wrong - this drum oozes with tone! All the round warm Ludwig "boing" with more punch and focus thrown in. In fact it's quite thrilling to find a reso head really resonating loud and proud like this. I'm a believer! Gotta save up for a kit from now. ;-)
My 60's BOP kit is made during the second half of the 60's, with a mix of white interiors and natural maple interiors.
The floor tom is almost flat on one side, where the finish is molded into the shell...
But they sound, and feel, great!!
 

fun2drum

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As the above responses narrate, the darn things are just accidental magic!
I've been thinking about this thread for a while and though it may be accidental, this kind of thing is familiar to me from the world of African hand drums, which I also have several of and greatly enjoy. Anybody who's dealt with those would probably agree with me that the mass-produced djembes have their place and can get the job done, but don't come anywhere near the sound-quality and feel of the real hand-carved, rope-tuned djembes. I'm talking about the non-branded djembes with real goat-skin heads made by African drum artizans with hand tools. There's no contest in sound. The unique warmth, depth, tone, and feel is undeniably better than anything with a name brand and made in a modern factory. This flies in the face of conventional thought which would expect the exact specifications of a modern factory to produce a superior sound. I believe Ludwig, though maybe unintentionally, tapped into that human element at the time by doing so many of their processes by sight and hand, not relying completely on calculations and machinery to assemble and sand everything down to perfection.

So anyway - maybe it is magic, or maybe it's the human spirit element that can't be outdone by numbers fed into a machine.

There. That's my deep thought of the month.
 

frankmott

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So I bought a silver sparkle 12" tom in an attempt to expand my Club Date SE set. Build quality was funny to say the least: wood joints were not meeting perfectly, there was something that looks like lifting at both the inner and outer seams (wood itself was nicely glued). Ply separation at reinforcing ring; factory attached (or maybe the previous owner modified an undrilled tom?) Slingerland mount but (thankfully?) didn't drill the large hole in the shell; and no one would ever accuse it of having a bearing edge acceptable by modern standards. I thought, maybe it'd go "thud"?
I put new coated Ambs on and tuned it up. Happily I was proven completely wrong - this drum oozes with tone! All the round warm Ludwig "boing" with more punch and focus thrown in. In fact it's quite thrilling to find a reso head really resonating loud and proud like this. I'm a believer! Gotta save up for a kit from now. ;-)
I have a similar story. I was working for Pearl, played Pearl too, when I bought a mid-sixties Ludwig Sky Blue Pearl with every intention of flipping it. I cleaned it up, put new heads on it and... whoa! It's all I've played since. Now I have a complete "shell-bank" of sixties Ludwig SBP. That was around 2002. They're not terribly round, have suspect edges, and are a bit fussy to tune, but when they're dialed in, there is no better sounding drum.
 

wflkurt

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I have this 1971 Citrus mod Ludwig that I just restored last year. The drums have some pretty flat sides (pregnant seams) on most of the drums and they sound absolutely fantastic. Easily one of the easiest vintage Ludwig sets I have ever tuned up. There is even a small chunk out of the front edge of the bass drum as it was probably damaged many years ago and it doesn't seem to affect anything. Ludwig was also trying to get rid of citrus mod when this set was made so it wouldn't surprise me if these shells weren't the best to begin with. It's hard to know for sure.

I just remember after I got them, someone on a FB page asked me when I was going to get the edges re-done. I was like why would I do that?? I have rarely had an issue with any vintage Ludwig concerning edges.
 

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Iristone

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Wonder if anyone compared head-to-head these to some newer Legacies? I guess the newer hardware and modern QC will make it sound even better, but maybe it loses its rock and roll mojo in this process. Price difference is palatable, since a good set of old Luddies aren't cheap in (or shipped to) my part of the world. :blackeye:
 

LBCD

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Just a little incentive for you to get your kit together :) I was gifted the tom and bass drum from 67, I bought the 65 floor tom online and they are staying with me forever in their forever place.
The bass drum spur mounts don’t mirror each other and it looks like they eyeballed those when installing. They are off by an inch but everything works as it should. The Silver sparkle turned into ginger ale and they sound great! Great drums!

43D252A2-A6C3-4433-BDFE-A142BEBD6556.jpeg
 
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wflkurt

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Just a little incentive for you to get your kit together :) I was gifted the tom and bass drum from 67, I bought the 65 floor tom online and they are staying with me forever in their forever place.
The bass drum spur mounts don’t mirror each other and it looks like they eyeballed those when installing. They are off by an inch but everything works as it should. The Silver sparkle turned into ginger ale and they sound great! Great drums!

View attachment 437359
Beautiful set!
 

Iristone

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OTOH my premier snare doesn't fare so well... That doesn't hold tune except at very low or high (choked anyway) tunings. This Ludwig doesn't seem to have a high tuning limit.
 

Medium Size Dog

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fun2drum, since you opened the door to being slightly off-topic in this thread, do you know about Shorty Palmer's Djembe Drums and Skins in Seymour TN near Knoxville, kind of in your neck of the woods? He imports djembes and other high quality African drums but also gets drum bodies without heads, has his artisans tweak them and install excellent quality skins. I've gotten great heads from him for my own drum building and he's a good guy to know and deal with. Other places for some of the best African drums are Wuladrum in NY and Drumskull and Motherland Music in CA. BTW I also love my '06 Classic Maples.
 

dingaling

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I’m a sonor guy but I have two 60’s clubdate kits, 12/14/20 and 13/15/22. They sound so great. Something so unique, full, and round about the sound. Plus they are 1/4 the weight of my other kits.
Coated ambassadors on 12/14/20 and clear ambassadors on 13/15/22.
They also look cool.
 

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