Finding Ludwig's Classic '60s sound
I recently had the opportunity to hunt down an awesome vintage 1960's Ludwig drum kit for the Tour de Fat summer concert series put on by Colorado's own New Belgium Brewing. They asked me to keep a lookout for this awesome era of vintage Luddys to add a classic vintage drum tone to the back-line for their summer concert tour.
I was stoked, but finding a 1960's era vintage Ludwig drum kit at an affordable price is not easy—collectors LOVE these drums for their warm sounding 3 ply mahogany/poplar/mahogany shells.
These drums sell for top dollar on eBay with irrational exuberance even when they're in bad condition—vintage drum dealers often grab the unique tom brackets, bass spurs, drum mufflers and other hardware for restoration projects.
Nonetheless, after 3 weeks I finally found an awesome set of vintage Ludwigs:
A Champagne Sparkle Super Classic Ludwig drum set stamped May 1965 in damn-near new condition!!
Showroom Ready Vintage Ludwigs
These Ludwigs are a drum dealer's dream:
The original owner bought this drum kit (manufacture stamp May, 1965) and played it for a bit before meeting his wife. She custom-sewed drum cases for him out of denim and asked him to put his drums in storage since she hated the loud noise. He quit drumming and stored the drum kit for over 40 years when I bought them in like-new condition at an estate sale in Utah. They are truly mint.
These Luddys have an amazing vintage tone that's got the warmth and darkness of poplar and mahogany. Although they don't project in the same way modern birch drums do the depth and quality of the tone is well worth it since it sounds less harsh. Vintage Ludwigs record and mic up especially well, sitting comfortably in the mix.
These are beautiful vintage Ludwigs:
Drum shells are 12˝ and 13˝ hanging toms, with 14˝ and 16˝ floor toms, and a huge-sounding but tiny 14˝ × 20˝ bass drum that glitter beautifully under stage lights. The '60s shells were painted white on the inside and have 1˝ solid reinforcement rings. Features classic 1960s knurled hardware and white felt baseball bat drum mufflers.
Getting the Ludwigs Ready for Tour De Fat
I couldn't find a nicer set of vintage Ludwigs, but I still needed a snare drum and cymbals to round out the vintage drum tone for Tour de Fat.
Fortunately I had the perfect snare drum:
A vintage Ludwig aluminum Acrolite from the early 1960s. I added this snare from my personal stash and it sounds great.
I also picked up a giant lot of vintage Zildjian cymbals and outfitted the kit with a set of vintage Zildjian A cymbals. These cymbals, like vintage Ludwigs, feature a darker, warmer tone designed for the lower volumes of the 1960s. These warm tones sound great with mics on stage or recordings and are one of the reasons '60s records sound so great.
I asked a buddy from Geffen what drum heads I should use and he recommended Remo coated heads. After slapping them on and tuning them up I delivered an awesome '60s drum kit in complete and perfect condition to Fat Tire.
Hear the vintage Ludwig & Zildjian tone
This awesome drum kit will be at Civic Center Park in Fort Collins on 9/5 and at City Park in Denver on 9/12 if you want to check it out for yourself. After that, it will be on tour throughout the summer with New Belgium's Tour De Fat.
You can find more details about where to see the vintage Ludwigs on New Belgium's Tour de Fat site.