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

tommykat1

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After playing a couple of vintage Gretsch kits locally, I'm leaning toward Ludwig or Rogers at this point.
I played a blue sparkle 1967 Gretsch round badge for sale locally awhile back. It wasn't my cup of tea.
 

VintageDrummer

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That matching rogers cleveland bdp with wood powertone looks real nice

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=261140663873&index=9&nav=SEARCH&nid=97445862086
 

JCKOriollo

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I've played just about every decade of Ludwigs minus 80s. I've had mahogany interiors no serial, painted, clear maple interiors, etc...

To me, the best sounding of all my ludwig kits was my 1969 sky blue pearl kit with the clear interiors. It was magical. A little more alive than the 65s but still incredibly warm.

My buddy has a 64 Slingerland. I play on it every week. It sounds good but to me it sounds more "vintage". It's not nearly as versatile IMO.

My step dad has a 69 Rogers. Finally outfitted it with some decent heads and it has beautiful tone. I can't say that I like it more than the Ludwigs, but it was still very nice.
 

Chunkaway

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I've played just about every decade of Ludwigs minus 80s. I've had mahogany interiors no serial, painted, clear maple interiors, etc...

To me, the best sounding of all my ludwig kits was my 1969 sky blue pearl kit with the clear interiors. It was magical. A little more alive than the 65s but still incredibly warm.

My buddy has a 64 Slingerland. I play on it every week. It sounds good but to me it sounds more "vintage". It's not nearly as versatile IMO.

My step dad has a 69 Rogers. Finally outfitted it with some decent heads and it has beautiful tone. I can't say that I like it more than the Ludwigs, but it was still very nice.
My favorite vintage kit that I ever played was a 1969 Ludwig, so I'm holding on to that.
 

BennyK

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Rogers are consistently good. Some, though, have a bit extra. To me, Rogers sing best in the mids, so you have to like that range to begin with.

Gretsch are inconsistent - from excellent to...well, I haven't the heart to articulate.

Ludwigs ? The good ones are big and fat, especially reponsive in the lower ranges. The bad ones ? Very dissapointing.

Slingerland ? The good ones are like the best Ludwigs and there are more of those than the others.The five plies are real nice .

The absolute killers are the undersized LA Camco's. Hands down,miles ahead of the others. Like Sonor 3 ply teardrops on steroids.
 

Chunkaway

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Rogers are consistently good. Some, though, have a bit extra. To me, Rogers sing best in the mids, so you have to like that range to begin with.

Gretsch are inconsistent - from excellent to...well, I haven't the heart to articulate.

Ludwigs ? The good ones are big and fat, especially reponsive in the lower ranges. The bad ones ? Very dissapointing.

Slingerland ? The good ones are like the best Ludwigs and there are more of those than the others.The five plies are real nice .

The absolute killers are the undersized LA Camco's. Hands down,miles ahead of the others. Like Sonor 3 ply teardrops on steroids.
I have heard that Camcos are fantastic, but I have never had a chance to play a kit. I will say, they are really expensive, so either they were not very common when they were originally made, or they are in very high demand.

I have played some Slingerlands before (early 60s model, I believe) and I found them to be sort of similar to Ludwigs but not as expressive. I got the warmth from the drum, but not a real articulate note from it. Could have been the drums or the the heads or the tuning though.
 

hefty

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Since this thread started I sold off my Ludwig Classic Maples to buy a set of '71 Ludwigs (clear interior 3-plys 12-13-16-22) so now I essentially own 3 of the 4 sets you're considering. My Gretsches are early 80's, and my Rogers are mid-60s with a 22" bass drum.

First off I should say that I'm still in the honeymoon period with my Ludwigs. But they sound so nice, especially in the low range. At the same time the tuning range is larger than I expected. There isn't a clunker among the 4 drums but the bigger bassier drums stand out and the floor tom is just killer. First time gigging these the sound guy was raving about the bass drum which is nice.

The Gretsches are great too. Up until my Ludwigs they were my favorite drums I've ever played (now maybe it's tied!). I feel like Gretsches are their own thing and are a distinct sound. I also think there's a lot of misnomers about that sound though (have to be tuned up high to sound good being one). At least the post-RB-over-sized ones. The toms are so musical and note-y, even at lower tunings, they make you want to play melodies on them. And the bass drum is super powerful. To date the Gretsches are my go-to drums for recording.

I like BennyK's mid-rangey description of the Rogers. For me right now that makes these the odd man out and I'm taking out the Ludwigs or the Gretsches over these now. Again though see honeymoon period comment above.... I've loved the sound of the Rogers and will again undoubtedly the next time I set them up.

One last comment is that I noticed in your signature you've got the C&C maple 3-plys (what I gather is there go at Ludwig 3-plys) and Ludwig Club Dates right? Seems like you have that territory covered already.
 

Chunkaway

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Since this thread started I sold off my Ludwig Classic Maples to buy a set of '71 Ludwigs (clear interior 3-plys 12-13-16-22) so now I essentially own 3 of the 4 sets you're considering. My Gretsches are early 80's, and my Rogers are mid-60s with a 22" bass drum.

First off I should say that I'm still in the honeymoon period with my Ludwigs. But they sound so nice, especially in the low range. At the same time the tuning range is larger than I expected. There isn't a clunker among the 4 drums but the bigger bassier drums stand out and the floor tom is just killer. First time gigging these the sound guy was raving about the bass drum which is nice.

The Gretsches are great too. Up until my Ludwigs they were my favorite drums I've ever played (now maybe it's tied!). I feel like Gretsches are their own thing and are a distinct sound. I also think there's a lot of misnomers about that sound though (have to be tuned up high to sound good being one). At least the post-RB-over-sized ones. The toms are so musical and note-y, even at lower tunings, they make you want to play melodies on them. And the bass drum is super powerful. To date the Gretsches are my go-to drums for recording.

I like BennyK's mid-rangey description of the Rogers. For me right now that makes these the odd man out and I'm taking out the Ludwigs or the Gretsches over these now. Again though see honeymoon period comment above.... I've loved the sound of the Rogers and will again undoubtedly the next time I set them up.

One last comment is that I noticed in your signature you've got the C&C maple 3-plys (what I gather is there go at Ludwig 3-plys) and Ludwig Club Dates right? Seems like you have that territory covered already.
Thanks Hefty for the explanation and run down of each kit. I really appreciate the insights that Benny, MisterNobody, and you have given.

To answer your question about my C&C kit, yes they are modeled after the late 60s Ludwig kits, and I LOVE the sound of these drums! I do also have a 1968 Ludwig Downbeat kit, which also sounds fantastic.

Now, here is where things get tricky. My wife, daughter, and I are moving to Singapore in July. I am able to take one drum set with me (which I'm grateful for), but I will have to break down/set-up the kit each time I want to play. (Bummer!) I practice every day right now, which I doubt I'll be able to continue to do once we move, but I definitely want to practice as much as possible. With that, my C&C kits sound fantastic, but I have found them to be very, very fragile. (I have spoken to Jake at C&C about this, as well as to the dealer I have worked with. They all recognize this has been an issue and are working to improve things.) Since we don't know how long we are going to be in Singapore (we have to sign a two year contract, but we can sign for more if we like it) I would rather leave my C&C kits back in the states and take a more durable kit to Singapore, although I do want the kit to have a vintage sound. (Not really a fan of modern sounding drums.) The 1968 Ludwig Downbeat kit was a gift to me from my mom, and it sounds wonderful! However, over the course of the past few years, I have been teaching my mom to play the drums. (66 and she's rocking!) She's a smaller person, so she really prefers the smaller drums on the Downbeat kit. I could probably take that kit with me, but I think it would negatively impact my mom's playing/practicing, which I would rather not do. Plus there is the connection between us with the kit being a gift to me, so I'd like to continue to let her use the kit. I can use the kit when we come back to visit.

So, I'm really trying to find a vintage kit that sounds great, is durable, and doesn't need a ton of work. I'm trying to decide between early 60s and late 60s/early 70s Ludwig kits. I do remember my drum teacher owning a 1970s Gretsch kit that I always thought sounded fantastic. When I recently played a Gretsch kit (1972 model) I was surprised by how "hard" the drums sounded. (Maybe focused would be a better word.) I did think the kick drum sounded great.
 

VintageDrummer

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I've had a gretsch kit that sounded "hard" and its for sale. But its "hard" in a good way. I'm also pretty sure its because it had old ambassadors. The one i'm keeping is very musical/toneful but has a touch of hardness for stick clarity. But it has brand new ambassadors..
You can find ludwig kits for pretty cheap if you look around. Slingerlands too
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I own a RB and can only fit the Aquarian head on the bass. Kind of a hassle in that regard. Other brands don't have trouble with different head fittings to my knowledge.
 

hoochymama

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Hey for what its worth I've owned all of them and have had them set up in the same room, same size drums, tunned the same, with same heads and they all sound good and similar. You can't go wrong with any of them. I usually stick with early/mid 60's gretsch, ludwig, rogers, and camco stuff, and 30-50's slingerland radio king stuff. All are excellent choices. The rogers chrome seems to be consistantly better most of the time and I like the mounting systems better on the rogers over the rail mounts. Just my opinion
 

RacerBuzz

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OK if I jump in here on my very first post for a quick self promotion of a Rogers owner for 50 years.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/130821361025?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
 

Gary

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OK if I jump in here on my very first post for a quick self promotion of a Rogers owner for 50 years.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/130821361025?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649
Nice kit. There are both for sale and eBay heads up forums on this site for pursuing marketing. Best of luck with your sale.
 

Gary

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That matching rogers cleveland bdp with wood powertone looks real nice

http://item.mobilewe...nid=97445862086
She's a beauty, no doubt about it. The thing that is throwing off my search is that I'm looking for a 22" bass drum. I just like the extra "oomph" that a 22" gives over a 20". It seems like it is VERY hard to find a 60s Rogers kit with a 22" kick drum.
Rogers kits with 22s are out there. I have two and I don't even dig that hard, I just keep my eyes open. I got one on eBay and one from a forum friend who knew my interests.

Also, why don't you store all your nice stuff here and just buy anything when you get to Sing? There is an active club music scene there and I guaranty you'll find something to play for two years. Why worry about what's going to happen to your precious acquisitions and sentimental gifts from Mom in transit? They have plenty of music stores there. I've been in some. You'll find drums.
 

Chunkaway

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That matching rogers cleveland bdp with wood powertone looks real nice

http://item.mobilewe...nid=97445862086
She's a beauty, no doubt about it. The thing that is throwing off my search is that I'm looking for a 22" bass drum. I just like the extra "oomph" that a 22" gives over a 20". It seems like it is VERY hard to find a 60s Rogers kit with a 22" kick drum.
Rogers kits with 22s are out there. I have two and I don't even dig that hard, I just keep my eyes open. I got one on eBay and one from a forum friend who knew my interests.

Also, why don't you store all your nice stuff here and just buy anything when you get to Sing? There is an active club music scene there and I guaranty you'll find something to play for two years. Why worry about what's going to happen to your precious acquisitions and sentimental gifts from Mom in transit? They have plenty of music stores there. I've been in some. You'll find drums.


Hmmm...thanks for the head's up. From speaking with a couple of people that live in Singapore currently, there are only a couple of music stores and the drums they have are very expensive. I have actually emailed two different stores in Singapore but neither has responded to me. I'll definitely keep digging. I will say, I definitely prefer the sound of a vintage kit (or modern kit made to sound like a vintage kit) and I'm not sure how prevalent that sound would be in Singapore drum stores.

 

Gary

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That matching rogers cleveland bdp with wood powertone looks real nice

http://item.mobilewe...nid=97445862086
She's a beauty, no doubt about it. The thing that is throwing off my search is that I'm looking for a 22" bass drum. I just like the extra "oomph" that a 22" gives over a 20". It seems like it is VERY hard to find a 60s Rogers kit with a 22" kick drum.
Rogers kits with 22s are out there. I have two and I don't even dig that hard, I just keep my eyes open. I got one on eBay and one from a forum friend who knew my interests.

Also, why don't you store all your nice stuff here and just buy anything when you get to Sing? There is an active club music scene there and I guaranty you'll find something to play for two years. Why worry about what's going to happen to your precious acquisitions and sentimental gifts from Mom in transit? They have plenty of music stores there. I've been in some. You'll find drums.


Hmmm...thanks for the head's up. From speaking with a couple of people that live in Singapore currently, there are only a couple of music stores and the drums they have are very expensive. I have actually emailed two different stores in Singapore but neither has responded to me. I'll definitely keep digging. I will say, I definitely prefer the sound of a vintage kit (or modern kit made to sound like a vintage kit) and I'm not sure how prevalent that sound would be in Singapore drum stores.
Obviously your choice. I'm all about expedience. I don't know how much you'll enjoy your vintage sound if the drums go missing or get smashed in transport. I wasn't suggesting you could get a vintage kit with a 22" bass drum in a Singapore music store. I do know that there are dozens of bars in town that compete with each other by having high quality Asian cover bands with top shelf equipment playing nightly and that a visit to any of the numerous shopping plazas will provide you with music store choices. You'd most likely be looking at a mid range to low end kit offered by many of the current drum companies such as Gretsch and Yamaha and the like. With no effort I found a Gretsch Blackhawk kit offered at S$995 from a Sing vendor. Current FX is .82 USD per Sing$.

Anyhow, whatever you decide, best of luck.
 

tommy1

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Find a set of early to mid 70`s 3 ply Slingerlands. I have a set of the lacquer finished ones and they sound awesome and that is with pinstripes!. I also have a set of 68 Luddys that sound great. I like the sound of those tubs big time. And then there is a set of 52 Radio Kings that I also enjoy playing. The RK`s have there own sound for sure, they don`t sound like the Luddy`s or the 70`s Slingy`s. Heck , I like um all !! I you held a gun on me and made me choose, I would take the Slingy`s. But that is by MY EARS. I am a 3 ply man! and a analog man! LOL Hope that I did not muddy up the water for you. Good luck and post pics when you get a kit. Tommy
 

Pickinator

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I like the Rogers (1963-1968) best. Old Slingerland has a nice feel; they almost play themselves. Ludwigs can sound good but the build quality was hit or miss. Gretsch has never sounded good to me; the snares were especially hard for me to get a good sound out of.

Stay with 60s Rogers or Slingerland as a good 2nd place. I am biased and have both.
 

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