How to make my vintage ludwig sound better

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Hello All,

It's been quite some time since I have posted last.

I've been playing my fathers 1970's Ludwig Octaplus with triple flanged hoops. 14/18/24

The kit is in pretty decent shape and after I refurbished it a few years back I managed to breathe new life into it.

I don't care so much to buying another new kit because,well, I'm not gigging as often as I used to, I don't see why I need two kits unless I retire the ludwig. If i did get a new kit I'd probably buy the Yamaha Stage Custom in 12/14/20 or something. I would like something smaller instead of dealing with 14/18/24.

So back to the ludwig. I use G2 coated on top and G1 clear on bottom but the drums just sound too bright because of the 3-ply (maple poplar maple).

Should I put Diecast hoops on tops and bottoms to control the sustain and thicken the sound of the kit. Maybe give it a better boom sound? Or should I put wood hoops on it?

or just buy a newer kit?

If i bought a new kit, is it ok to play a 24" ride with a 20" bass drum or would that not be audible?
 

opentune

Platinum Member
no rules, a 24 ride goes with any size bass drum.
14-18-24 are some big sizes. you say 'bright'? to my ears 3 ply is almost never bright, more like 'warm'. my only suggestion is to tune lower to get rid of 'bright'.
you could consider getting soem orphan ludwig toms that are in smaller sizes, 12, 13 or 16?
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
you could consider getting soem orphan ludwig toms that are in smaller sizes, 12, 13 or 16?
I've gone along these lines before. My Ludwig was 24/14/16/18, I've added a 1966 22" Supper Classic BD which was in a bad way but I refurbed it and it goes everywhere now. I also added a 12" tom which I rebuilt from a shell because I couldn't get on with the 14" tom.

My Ludwig is usually set up 22/12/16/18. I use coated heads top and bottom but I want that warm vintage sound. You can waste a silly £3000 on a DW Classics that's the same thing.

Try clear CS dots or the EC2 heads if you have a few unwelcome tones.
 

IDDrummer

Platinum Member
Octoplus was a huge kit with 8 concert toms (no bottom heads) so it doesn't sound like the kit you have is an Octoplus, FYI.

That aside, I'm with Opentune - vintage Ludwig kits tend to sound a bit warmer and LESS bright than modern kits to my ear, so I don't think a new kit would solve your problem, unless you just want a new kit.

Keep in mind that any kit in a small practice space is going to sound way different than when the sound has had a chance to mature, so that may be part of the issue.

Try coated vintage Emperors, try tuning differently, try a little moongel or other dampening, and/or wear hearing protection. I think those would be better solutions.

Unless, of course, you just want a new kit. Nothing wrong with that.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
About the last thing I'd call my '69-'71 Luddy 3 ply's, is bright. I run coated Emperors over clear Ambassadors, on the toms. Basically, the equivalent of your Evans. Now, if that combo is too bright for you, maybe change out your reso heads to a coated head, as well. Still too much overtone? Maybe a two ply reso. Still too much overtone? Maybe a Powerstroke3 batter. If your an Evans only guy, here http://www.evansdrumheads.com/EvDrumsetTomBatter.Page?ActiveID=3591 they rank their heads dark to bright.​
Yamaha Stage Customs are nice drums, but you'll probably find 'em brighter than your Ludwigs. Straight birch shells. A warmer drum than your 3 ply's, would be the older Ludwig 3 ply's that were mahogany/poplar/maple. If a new kit is what you desire, then the Ludwig Club Date (cherry/gumwood) would be a good choice. http://www.ludwig-drums.com/clubdate_se.php And the Club Date (vintage or modern) is 20, 12, 14.​
 

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bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Octoplus was a huge kit with 8 concert toms (no bottom heads) so it doesn't sound like the kit you have is an Octoplus, FYI.

That aside, I'm with Opentune - vintage Ludwig kits tend to sound a bit warmer and LESS bright than modern kits to my ear, so I don't think a new kit would solve your problem, unless you just want a new kit.

Keep in mind that any kit in a small practice space is going to sound way different than when the sound has had a chance to mature, so that may be part of the issue.

Try coated vintage Emperors, try tuning differently, try a little moongel or other dampening, and/or wear hearing protection. I think those would be better solutions.

Unless, of course, you just want a new kit. Nothing wrong with that.
The whole thing really is just, I don't play them as high as I used to so setting the toms lower I need it more to the left and its just getting really uncomfortable as well.

This is the kit when my dad played it in the 70's and 80's and set up now as a trap kit for when I play.
 

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harryconway

Platinum Member
Here's catalog pages for Ludwig drum sets. http://www.vintagedrumguide.com/ludwig_drumsets.html
Ludwig had Quadra-plus and Octa-plus kits, but the toms were concert toms. So, I'd guess your father special ordered his toms double-headed.​
Looking at the old studio picture, it's had to tell if the drums have reinforcement rings, or not. If there are no reinforcement rings (straight shell), then your shells are 6 ply. And those sound different than 3 ply. I had a few sets of those, also. Again, I wouldn't exactly call them "bright" but they do project more than the 3 ply shells.​
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
What is the room like that your drums are in? The room where my drums usually live sounds like garbage and my drums always come across as bright and cheap and annoying, but whenever I take them out and play them somewhere decent-sounding, then I realize they sound pretty good and I can hear all the tasty warmth and boom. The heads you have on them sound like a good combo, but if it came down to new heads, maybe try something black, since they're usually a bit deader and darker. Or blue hydraulics as a last resort. I don't think hoops would make too drastic a change.

And harryconway; it's always nice to see your toboggan around.
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
To get a warm sound out of your drums, try Earthtone calf skin heads. You will be amazed at how much these warm up your drums.

GJS
 

poika

Silver Member
One other thing to consider also - unless your ear is highly trained and knows exctly what it needs to hear - is that when your drums sound just right (warmish) sitting in the driver's seat they might not sound that good 20 feet away. Even more, adding the rest of the instruments of the band on top makes a huge difference to the sound.

I was in the studio with my band a few weeks ago, and I had the snare "just right" before setting up the mics. But, through the mics it sounded like the snare had a cold, kinda weak and soft. I removed the small pieces of tape I had for muffling, and now there was this metallic boingy ring to it, but in the mix it ended up sounding really good.

A lot of the piercy frequencies get eaten up in the mix, and without those the drums can sound muddy. You can always pull some frequencies back on the eq, but you can't really add
 

bearblastbeats

Senior Member
Well, I don't know but after I played this past weekend the kit sounded better.

I may be just insatiable sometime and think I need to fix everything.


There are two concert toms that have the reinforcement on the shell and then 2 regular toms where he didn't use a bottom head. The floor tom also has a bottom head.
 
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