Vintage Ludwig vs. Rogers vs. Slingerland vs. Gretsch Question

Chunkaway

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So I have been jonesing to let go of one of my modern kits and get a vintage kit. I have had vintage Ludwig and Rogers kits, but I am wondering if there are really any sonic differences between the "big 4"manufacturers from the 60s.

I tend to think of early 60s Ludwigs as very warm sounding, without a ton of volume or attack. The Rogers kit I had seemed sort of like a modern kit, although it was about 15 years ago and I can barely remember. Any Gretsch kit I have heard from the 60s sounds very focused and maybe a bit higher pitched (tuning, maybe?). The Slingerland kits I have heard/played on sounded somewhat similar to the Ludwigs.

Can anybody else throw in their two cents?

Thanks!
 

Joeyboom

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The following opinions are strictly from my experience and taste and I am still in discovery. I have found that early 60's Slingz/Rogers have great BD sound and ringy but deep toms. They can also be nice higher for indoors/smaller rooms no sound man. Out of the several that I had 1 set of Lud Club dates that sounded great as a kit [Champ Spark] deep BD and toms if needed.Great response and feel Rogers. .. just wow real full bottom to the BD and great tone and response to the toms. All sizes are 20BD 12/13 rack and 14 FT. I am pursuing a 20/22 13 16 rogers for the outdoor mic'd gigs. Early 40's radio kings?. . .woa, however you'll have to hunt for a 24BD they are usually 26. I prefer a deeper snares for more tone fullness. I find with most matching 5 or 5.5 they tend to be just to snappy. My 6 lug Sling snare at 5" can be unbelievably deep sounding, much more versitile than the others.

You may have to experiment until you find the sounds that you like. ..For outside/mic get a ported head or buy a mic that will work for no port. Depending upon the sound mans case they will not have a mic to to fully suit a non ported drum therefore you'll get bottom and no real attack.

Why ditch the modern kit?? you may wish you hadn't in the future only because you may need THOSE sounds. I rotate them in and out and its refreshing to have the options. . .I am sure there are gonna be plenty of guys round here with loads of experience and knowledge. . . . .

Good Luck

B O O M

:cool:
 

lossforgain

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It is definitely a process of exploration, Paul. One of my first kits was a Rogers and I eventually sold it because I wanted to put the money into a new kit. STUPID ME for doing that. Many days I have wished I could get those back. So I have owned a few more Rogers kits since then, including one I also should have kept but wanted to flip it because I got it cheap. That was a Cleveland 22/13/16 kit with a matching Powertone. So now I do have another 22/13/16 kit but it's early 60s 3ply Rogers. Ideally I'd like to get the same configuration in 5ply Rogers.

I have often owned vintage Ludwig and Slingerland kits and usually just don't feel they are the sound for me. I do have an orphan Slingerland 3ply kit right now, which I just set up for my drum students, and was actually surprised at how good they sound with ancient pinstripes on them. I've done nothing but a quick tuning but they are pretty cool. Much better than any of the vintage Ludwigs I've owned.

But truly it comes down to YOUR ear and what you like. I know you're someone who appreciates a wide range of drum sounds, so you're going to have to figure out what sound you're going for. My ear REALLY wants a 5ply Rogers kit in 22/13/16. But I'm surprised at how much I like these Slingerlands. Vintage Ludwigs generally aren't for me.

Clear as mud? ;)
 

Chunkaway

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[font="'Book Antiqua"]Jeremy- yes I agree, it definitely is going to come down to my ear. At this point, I'm really just trying to get information. I had been on the prowl for a 1969 Ludwig kit, but I heard a Rogers kit I really liked. Then I saw a 6 ply Gretsch kit that looked fantastic. And so it begins.... :)[/font]
[font="'Book Antiqua"]
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[font="'Book Antiqua"]So when did Rogers switch over to the 5 ply?[/font]
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[font="'Book Antiqua"]Joey- thank you very much for the info. Much appreciated! So would you say the Rogers are better for outdoor gigs because they are louder?[/font]
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[font="'Book Antiqua"]I actually have 5 drum kits right now- 1 vintage and 4 modern, so if I do sell off a modern kit, I'll still have access to a modern sound. [/font]
 

mountainhick

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Definitely biased answer here based on my own experience:

Luds and sling 3 ply, very similar, generally a little sharper attack with the slightly sharper edges of the Luds, but mostly pretty thuddy in overal quality.

70's sling 5 ply, tighter more focused less thuddy response than the 3 plys. Good projection.

Rogers, tighter more focused/pitched sound I think because of the sharper edge profile and denser wood plies rather than poplar core of the Luds/slings.

Gretsch, also denser harder wood layup in the shells, wide range depending on how you set them up, they can be tuned pretty widely, but Jazz players seem to tend to like them because they tune high very well. Less thuddy for sure unless heavily muffled. I play them with little to no muffling engaged on the toms and just a felt strip on the BD heads. Also I'd say a focused kind of tone but also drier perhaps from the die cast rims
 

Chunkaway

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Hey - aren't you still on vacation? What the heck you doing around here?
[/quot


Flying back today, so I thought I'd waste some time in the airport. By the way, I have decided that you should be gigging with your Legacy kit. :)
 

kip

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The kits that really stand out for me are 6 ply Jasper Gretsch kits. There's just something about those drums...

My Gretsch SSB Drop G kit , hands down is the best sounding kit I've ever owned. Nothing like it.
Sounds totally different then an 80s Pearl MX All Maple kit I had (obviously no 30degree bearing edge or diecast on the Pearl). The Gretsch dont sound vintage to me... but they do sound perfect to my ear.... the sound I've been looking for

My new 70s BDP Slingerlands have a less bright sound.., and less of the bark and bite from the Gretsch

An old (sold) 70s Premier kit 13,14,16,22 I owned for a bit, had THE most vintage tone of any kit I ever played. Something about those drums... birch or mahogany w beech re-rings... it just had this total Krupa vibe going for it
 

lossforgain

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[font="'Book Antiqua"]Jeremy- yes I agree, it definitely is going to come down to my ear. At this point, I'm really just trying to get information. I had been on the prowl for a 1969 Ludwig kit, but I heard a Rogers kit I really liked. Then I saw a 6 ply Gretsch kit that looked fantastic. And so it begins.... :)[/font]
[font="'Book Antiqua"]
[/font]

[font="'Book Antiqua"]So when did Rogers switch over to the 5 ply?[/font]
I believe Rogers went to 5ply around the same time they switched to beavertail lugs, but there are a few kits out there with 3ply shells and beavertail lugs - that's what I've got. This would have been either '63 or '64, I think '64 but not totally sure.

You've got the Rogers bug, my friend, just like me ;)!
 

DanC

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Rogers had 3-ply Jaspers/flat edges until 1963. The switch was then made to Keller shells with the sharp edges and tapered rerings. They were originally 3 thin plies of maple, but later in the 60's became 5-ply. The early Keller shells are very light and very hard shells, their tone is considered particularly sweet - especially if you get one of the last b&b kits with the newer shells (made during the transition). But all of the different generations sound great to me, each in their own way: I'm biased....
 

lossforgain

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Thanks for that clarification Dan!!! :) Know anyone who might want a 3ply Keller Rogers kit, very early beavertails?
 

Chunkaway

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The kits that really stand out for me are 6 ply Jasper Gretsch kits. There's just something about those drums...

My Gretsch SSB Drop G kit , hands down is the best sounding kit I've ever owned. Nothing like it.
Sounds totally different then an 80s Pearl MX All Maple kit I had (obviously no 30degree bearing edge or diecast on the Pearl). The Gretsch dont sound vintage to me... but they do sound perfect to my ear.... the sound I've been looking for

My new 70s BDP Slingerlands have a less bright sound.., and less of the bark and bite from the Gretsch

An old (sold) 70s Premier kit 13,14,16,22 I owned for a bit, had THE most vintage tone of any kit I ever played. Something about those drums... birch or mahogany w beech re-rings... it just had this total Krupa vibe going for it
What, to you, makes the Gretsch so great sounding?
 

hefty

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There's a full, resonant quality in those drums with loads of fundamental and very little overtone. One of the best pure drum tones I have ever heard. Focused, with great depth.
That's a nice description of it. I love my early 80's Gretsches. Best sounding drums I've ever had, and I've had a couple sets of Rogers (both that sounded really nice). I'd recommend sticking with the techware era or beyond with Gretsches, but not all would agree with that. I've played but never owned 3-ply Ludwigs or Slingerlands.
 

Richie Paradise

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boy that's a hard question but id say get one of each just to be sure :rolleyes:

i have a 60's/70's Ludwig which i'd say has a nice wide tuning range, so i play that for all sorts, 20", 10", 14FT, 16FT

i also have a 70's Slingerland which i have tuned to bop sounds a i feel it suits the thin shells best but i have also done big band gigs on it (as above), 20, 12, 14FT

and i have a Rogers 72 Fullerton, 22, 13, 16FT which i play big band on but could also tune for rockier stuff as those drums sing more than any I've ever played. So responsive it's amazing. easy to tune too.
So it depends what you're after really, the smaller vintage drums suit older styles I'd say, the bigger ones can handle anything as they're thin enough to project buut maybe the hardware is an issue?

I'm sure someone will contradict me on this but they're also correct, horses/courses.
 

Ludwig Von Buzztoven

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I've owned them all (well, almost). And they have all come and gone, save for Ludwig. IMO, the 3ply shells with nat interiors are the best they have ever made. The 3ply natties are the perfect blend of warmth, volume, resonance, and tunability.

Buzz
 

Chunkaway

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I've owned them all (well, almost). And they have all come and gone, save for Ludwig. IMO, the 3ply shells with nat interiors are the best they have ever made. The 3ply natties are the perfect blend of warmth, volume, resonance, and tunability.

Buzz
I LOVE my 1968 Ludwig kit with clear interiors. If they were different sizes they would be my main kit, but I almost never use a 20" kick any more. I will say I have had issues with consistency in my Ludwig kits. The floor tom will sound like crap, but the rack will sound really nice. Frustrating!
 

TommyWells

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Chunk: I had that same issue with my Ludwig floor toms, until I isolated them from the floor. Then they opened up just like the other toms. I first did this by putting the legs on cymbal felsts. Then foam pads. Then we created the BIGFEET. The first floor tom iso feet. I used the felts and foam pad method on my Ludwigs and then on my Blaemires in the studios back then. Works really well. Of course I still use the iso feet. Either the BIGFEET or Gibraltar ones.
 

Chunkaway

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Chunk: I had that same issue with my Ludwig floor toms, until I isolated them from the floor. Then they opened up just like the other toms. I first did this by putting the legs on cymbal felsts. Then foam pads. Then we created the BIGFEET. The first floor tom iso feet. I used the felts and foam pad method on my Ludwigs and then on my Blaemires in the studios back then. Works really well. Of course I still use the iso feet. Either the BIGFEET or Gibraltar ones.
Oh Tommy, I'm already hooked on what you are selling. You sold me on the Pearl iso-feet things a few years back. I actually put them on the kick drum legs as well, which helps a bit too.

I actually had a 1967 Ludwig kit that had a terrible sounding floor AND rack tom- the kick was sublime. I used the iso-feet on the floor which really helped it, although it never sounded great. I had to have JR Frondelli redo the edges on the rack. It sounded MUCH better after JR finished with the drum, although it never sounded great either. I sold it to a local shop that now uses it as a rental kit for touring bands. The kit was not in great shape and didn't sound great, but I'm sure it has paid for itself several times over now.
 

Ludwig Von Buzztoven

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Chunk - you know, in all of my years of playing vintage Ludwig, I've never had any problems with like that.

Now, Gretsch is another story... I'll never own a RB kit again.

Buzz
 

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So I have been jonesing to let go of one of my modern kits and get a vintage kit. I have had vintage Ludwig and Rogers kits, but I am wondering if there are really any sonic differences between the "big 4"manufacturers from the 60s.

I tend to think of early 60s Ludwigs as very warm sounding, without a ton of volume or attack. The Rogers kit I had seemed sort of like a modern kit, although it was about 15 years ago and I can barely remember. Any Gretsch kit I have heard from the 60s sounds very focused and maybe a bit higher pitched (tuning, maybe?). The Slingerland kits I have heard/played on sounded somewhat similar to the Ludwigs.

Can anybody else throw in their two cents?

Thanks!
In general I follow along with this, although I think the differences are more acute than that. I love the tone of a vintage drum set. You just put the sonic differences in a nutshell.
 

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