Ludwig Centennial Zep kit information

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
So I am looking at a new Ludwig Centennial Zep kit. These kits just seem unavailable used.

I have owned a ton of kits in my day comprised of all woods, of all sizes, with bass drums from 16-22 inches and toms as small as 6 up to 16 inch floors.

I have always admired John Bonham and dont have the cash to drop on a Custom Maple set, and would like to know what peoples's opinions and experiences with this kit are. I am looking for the authentic Bonham sound for a price I can afford. I also feel I am running out of time if I want to aquire this kit.

From what I can gather, its the North American maple exported and assembled in Taiwan with the 2.3 hoops etc. I can not really find any differences besides the fact it is assembled in Taiwan. Considering it is the Ludwig North American shell... is it the same shell used in any of the higher lines from Ludwig? Are the bearing edges the same as the Custom Maple kits?

I dont have a lot of choices and would really like to go Ludwig with this. My only other option that I see as a reality is the Mapex Mydenity kit and if I went that way I might go birch toms over a maple 14x26 bass drum.

I am pretty set on this but I really would appreciate some educated feedback on this kit.

Thanks in advance.
 
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The Old Hyde

Guest
I admire those kits, however the true sound you hear him playing is a 3ply maple with re-rings. unless the Centennials are the same shell it wont be the same. Look for a vintage kit if you really want his sound. get the same heads and tune it the same way ( check Jeff Ocheltree on utube for tuning, he was Bonhams last drum tech).
 

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
I admire those kits, however the true sound you hear him playing is a 3ply maple with re-rings. unless the Centennials are the same shell it wont be the same. Look for a vintage kit if you really want his sound. get the same heads and tune it the same way ( check Jeff Ocheltree on utube for tuning, he was Bonhams last drum tech).
Very familiar with Jeff Ocheltree. Been a Bonzo fan for many many years. I realize he played 3 ply shells. The Centennials are a more modern shell, but I cannot afford a vintage kit either. I believe I can get where I want to get with the American Maple shells. I also realize that the room micing and Jimmy Page had a lot to do with the studio sound. I'm looking for the live sound off of the many, many Zep live recordings I have heard.

I plan on using the same heads on the kit and tuning with the method of Ocheltree.

My main question is the quality that I am looking at. Mainly what are the differences... besides where the kit is assembled... between the Centennial Zep kit and the other higher end modern Ludwig kits such as the Custom Maple line. Things such as bearing edges, plies, etc.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Centennials are 6-8 ply maple shell,with an inner 45 degree edge,with a roundover.It dosen't seem like Ludwig has updated their website recently,but they are not for sale in the USA,.In fact,I understood,that they were out of production as a series.

I would PM Bermuda first about this as an endorcer,before getting my heart set on a new kit.You may have to settle on used or NOS ,if you can find one.You'll also need a Ludwig LM 402 supraphonic,for that Bonzo sound ,or as close as you can get anyway.

Steve B
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
The Centennials were discontinued 2-3 years ago, but they were great drums which may explain why there aren't very many on the used market. There may be a few kits remaining in independent shops, but that would be the last of them.

Although the plies are N American Maple, the shells would be different from the Classic Maple shells made in Monroe, because the mold/heat processes are different. Not better or worse necessarily, just not the same. The Centennial shells actually fare well against everyone else's maple shells, because they're closer to the same construction.

I feel they were the best low/mid-priced drums coming from Asia.

Bermuda
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
The Centennials were discontinued 2-3 years ago,.....

Bermuda

2-3 years ago?: http://www.ludwig-drums.com/centennial.php

OK - Bermuda, this isn't directed just at Ludwig, because plenty of other companies are the same or worse.

But drum companies seem to put a low priority on their web sites. Seems odd, when it's usually one of the first things people look to when wanting to check out a particular kit, line, or manufacturer.

IMO, the Centennials should be in something like an 'archive' section, instead of being shown as part of the currently available lineup.
So people aren't sent off on a wild goose chase, looking for something that hasn't been made in a few years.
Like I said, not directed just at Ludwig, but companies across the board.

End of rant.
 

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
Believe it or not there are still some available through Musician's Friend/Guitar Center. I have even talked with GC and am in the process of possibly trading in a kit toward the Zeps.

But I fear that windown is closing. Which is why I feel I have to act fast before I cant get them anymore.

I am pretty determined to have this kit. I appreciate the information so far. Its tough to find any info on these kits anywhere.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/drums-percussion/ludwig-centennial-zep-4-piece-shell-pack
 

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
Also, the lm 402 is a given.

One thing that makes me slightly pause is the fact that IF in fact I can get them, at 1150 I could have a whole lot of kits that are much more highly regarded for the same price or for a few bucks more. And if I went used... Yeah.

So as much as I desperately want the brand and sizes, its the stigma of it being called a low or medium kit that makes me think.

So the shells are not made in the same place as the custom maple shells? What else gives it the feel of a lower quality kit? Less qc in the Asian factories? The shell molding process even though they are north American shells? Does anyone know if ludwig did these shells themselves or subbed them out possibly?

I understand the debate when guys show American maple more love, but this is American maple. Just assembled elsewhere.

I appreciate all of the help and advice. This is big investment for me and I am struggling.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
2-3 years ago?: http://www.ludwig-drums.com/centennial.php

OK - Bermuda, this isn't directed just at Ludwig, because plenty of other companies are the same or worse.

But drum companies seem to put a low priority on their web sites.
Yeah, I know. Ludwig really should be more on top of their site. The fact that it still says ©2012 has driven me nuts for the last 13 months. The Centennials are listed as not being available in the US, and they were out of the catalog as of Jan, 2012.

Given that the hot new line (Signets) doesn't appear on the site, I'd say the status of the Centennials is questionable, even as a non-US line (I never knew Ludwig did that anyway!) I still say they're gone, and only old stock - if any - might still be available in some stores.

To their credit, the Signet Facebook page is live, but the primary site really needs to be brought up to date.

Bermuda
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Also, the lm 402 is a given.

One thing that makes me slightly pause is the fact that IF in fact I can get them, at 1150 I could have a whole lot of kits that are much more highly regarded for the same price or for a few bucks more. And if I went used... Yeah.

So as much as I desperately want the brand and sizes, its the stigma of it being called a low or medium kit that makes me think.

So the shells are not made in the same place as the custom maple shells? What else gives it the feel of a lower quality kit? Less qc in the Asian factories? The shell molding process even though they are north American shells? Does anyone know if ludwig did these shells themselves or subbed them out possibly?

I understand the debate when guys show American maple more love, but this is American maple. Just assembled elsewhere.

I appreciate all of the help and advice. This is big investment for me and I am struggling.
Honestly,let your playing,and the sound of your drums,speak for themselves.Screw stigma,and to hell with the Asian made nonsense.Great drums have been coming out of Asia,since that mid 70's.Tama,Pearl and Yamaha,turned the world of drum manufacturing,on it's ear,and raised the bar,on how a drum set,and it's hardware ,should be built.

Most of the drums,made in the world at this time,are Asian made...period.The "stigma" is percieved,without any real facts to back it up.

I'm sure the shell quality,though not USA made,is up to par.The "feel" of a low quality kit...is a figment of an imagination,and just is not backed up by the facts.

I played one of those kits around a year ago.It sounded HUGE.Great projection and tone for days.My only criticism was I didn't like the badge.Small price to pay ,for the sound and build quality you get,at that price point.

I also own a mid 70's vintage Tama Superstar set,and they and the hardware,are some of the best ever made.......period.They were made in Japan

Buy the kit,and an LM 402,and you'll be half way to the stairway to heaven.....:)

Steve B
 

jodgey4

Silver Member
Going off what Steve said, I bought a set in large Zep-esque sizes and I think it was one heck of a smart purchase. All maple shells, full size quality lugs, good edges and finishes... I really think Ludwig hit a sweet spot in the market where diminishing returns really start to become apparent. You really couldn't get much better without really having starting to dish out the $$ for 'better' American construction/QC, or custom options. Grab your set, check for a used 402, get some coated heads and just start playing. It's a truly fantastic sounding kit that does great at most tunings.
 
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The Old Hyde

Guest
the only thing I dislike about all of the "zep" style kits, from any manufacturer is the snare stand or cymbal mount for the small tom. he only used a snare stand in conjunction with a retro-fitted Rogers swiv-o-matic mount. he switched to a rail consolette and even used that on the vistalited,unlike re-issue vistalites which use a snare stand. that's why for me, get a vintage kit.
 

brianbags

Member
I own the Ludwig Centennial from 2009, their 100 year anniversary kit. 12", 13", 16", 18" toms, 24" bass, and I don't use the snare from it. It's the silver sparkle, and it looks really really nice.

I like it. Granted I've only ever played a few kits in my life so I don't have much to compare it to, but if tuned right (obviously), I think it sounds really great. I've always wanted to mic it to see how good it really sounds. I also know that the bass shakes the house, which may be good or bad for you. It's good for me because it makes it really easy to wake the neighbors.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
It's a complete mystery to me why Ludwig stopped production of these kits. US maple drums that were cost effective enough to keep them well entrenched in the "intermediate" price point. They were the natural contender to go head to head with the Gretsch Renown, which has been a marketing success story in its own right.

I can only guess that they just weren't selling......although given all the positive press I've read about them, it's a mystery as to why not.
 

MRollins

Junior Member
My friend, I just got a silver sparkle Centennial Zep set in December and it was hard for me to get good information so I feel your pain. I'll pass on everything i can.

Firstly, I'm super pleased with this kit. You won't find a better deal on the Bonham kit anywhere- especially if you can wait for a sale at Musiciansfriend.com with 15% off.

Availability - This shouldn't be an issue if you want to wait for a spring break sale or something. Musiciansfriend is always getting in more shipments. I had previously ordered the kit in July but had to cancel and they had 1-2 new shipments by December. This tells me they are still being produced or there is a large back stock. Either way it should be available.

Finish - I've only seen the silver sparkle so I can;t comment on any other finishes but I have yet to find a picture on the internet that does it justice. I was real hesitant to get these because I could never see one in person but I am very happy with the finish. It is a very nice laquer and looks a good as any other laquer finish I've seen in the sub-$2000 range.

Hardware- This is the weak point of the kit but for this price it is sufficient. The spurs are a little less heavy duty than I would like but nicer and heavier than the Tama Silverstars. Not as heavy duty as the Gretsch Renown. The lugs are good and they have a gasket that I believe is plastic but it looks okay and gives it a higher end touch. However, this gasket and the rims are the cheapest feeling/looking parts of the kit but they are nice for this price point. And hell, the rims may only feel cheaper to me bcause I have another kit with 3.0 mmtriple flanged rims.

Shells/Sound - These will sound as good or better than any other NA maple shelled kit assembled in Taiwan you will get. I had two sets of Gretch Renowns and playing them side by side I MIGHT have have given the edge to the Gretsch but only because in my head I feel like they are a higher quality based on the hardware and the Gretsch name. In practice, they are almost identical in sound and I really couldn't tell a difference. AND the lower mass lugs, triple flanged hoops and thinner shells make them LIGHT to carry and the thunder is still there!

Overall Appearance - This kit will NOT come off as a "cheap" kit. I understand the trepidation as I ordered a Tama Silverstar kit to compliment my Gretsch Renowns before getting the Centennials. The Silverstars definitely looked anf felt cheaper side by side with the Renowns. The Ludwig sits up there proudly and to be honest, I've gottne more comliements on the Ludwig than the Gretsch's (Had a cherry burst and the Renown Motor City Black).


Overall, the only people who are even going to know that these are "intermediate" drums are other drummers who are into Ludwig so stigma shouldn't play a part. And if they know this line then they SHOULD know that this is a hell of deal on great sounding and looking drums. and I ask again...where else can you get a Ludwig, Maple, Bonham kit??? :)

PM me if you would like some "real world" pics and I can send some over.




TL;DR - GET THE KIT!
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
I've heard the Zep kit in person (shop), live through a PA (friends kit). I also played the Zep kit (natural) as a shared kit, and although the tuning wasn't what I would have done (it was kinda low and tubby), it still had resonance and presence to be heard cleanly.
It's a really nice kit at a reasonable price.

Anyone who would "look down" on a kit like this has rocks in their head.
I've seen the Black, Natural, Silver Sparkle, Green Sparkle, and Red Sparkle in shops and the finishes all looked great to me.

Personally, I liked the look of the badge in person. In pics it kinda looked "eh", but in person it's nice.

This kit, coated heads and a 402 and you're golden IMO.
 

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
All of these posts are getting me more pumped up. Thank you for all of the information and please keep it coming. I have searched all over the internet and its really hard to find any reviews of this kit. Drives me nuts. I am sold on this kit. I only wish I could get the green sparkle.

Heres a question though... The biggest bass drum I have ever played was 24. A 26 looks quite intimidating, not to mention the tom placement. And a 14 as my smallest tom? wow.

For anyone playing, or who has played, this size kit. Is the bass drum responsive enough? Is it spongey at all or at a higher tuning because of the 14" depth does it respond well to the bass drum beater? Also... did you find it tough to adjust to playing on such a big kit? It seems like a mile between the 14 and the 16 floor tom. And the 18... Bonham always made it look effortless... but it seems like a long way to get to it.

Thanks again for the all of the help.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
From Ludwig:

"They are only available to Guitar Center/Musicians Friend and International dealers by direct containers. We no longer stock them or offer them through the independent channel."

So in the States, they're a GC exclusive - ya learn something new every day!

Bermuda
 
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