Ludwig Question

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Ok, I love ludwig, and I love vintage gear. The only reason I don't have a full vintage kit anymore is because I don't have the room, had to sell due to money issues, too afraid to use it when not in a studio and got destroyed in a shed flooding. So now I keep mainly to snares, but then 2 years ago ludwig released the Ludwig Element SE Retro, and I was confused. I saw them at NAMM and the wording they gave to me was: "These only carry the price tag of the elements, they aren't at all connected. Ludwig classic lugs, high end finishes and hardware and rail consollettes, these are high end drums at the bottom price. We used wood that sounded vintage that also happened to cost less so we could afford to keep the price this low.". And then I saw a fair few with band for the next few years and each time they astounded me with their sound. Then the had the epic X over, another totally different drum with re-rings and fantastic sound and hybrid shells, that went down such a storm that a lot of industry pros ended up using them. And now more recently the club date SE, same shells as the Ludwig Element SE but different hardware (some would say worse as its not ludwig classic) and different finishes, but yet again went down a real storm to the fact Burn E Carlos and that drummer from the racconteurs now uses it to keep his actual club date for studio use. So my questions are these to people who can help me:
1) Why would ludwig only offer these as special editions and not for very long?
2) I understand VERY little are left, as they were advertised as high end drums with rock bottom prices, but do you see any outside of the studio anymore?
3) Why were they bundled in with low end drums (element) and upper-mid end drums (epic) when they were themselves advertised as higher?
Hoping Bermuda can help out mostly here, but any others are great.
Peace and goodwill, Oli
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Hi Oli,

I'm not sure of the answer, there's been some shifting among the Asian-made lines over the last few years. For example, the Epic line kind of replaced the US Classic Birch, but now the Epic is a Birch/Maple hybrid shell, and an all-Birch Element has been introduced. There's the Element SE (Special Edition) which currently inlcudes the Club Date kits with a Cherry/Gum shell. Just as there is Epic, and for a while, Epic X-over, which had very different shells. And... the Accent kits never completely went away (as I thought was the plan when the Epic and Element lines were introduced.)

So, not sure about the specs of the Asian-made drums, they're hard to pin down.

But, I will say that the Club Date drums are really, really nice. Very vintage sounding, despite being made nothing like Ludwig's classic '60s & '70s shells. Curiously, the toms either want to be tuned low, or high, there's not much inbetween. So it's either punchy rock, or jazz for these. I don't know how long they'll be around, they've been out about 16 months so far, and I hope they stay. They're juist terrific drums.

Bermuda
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Thanks Bermuda, I understand the Epic is meant to be the kind of "budget pro" (though I hate using that word, pro) kit, I saw a fair few endorsees kept theres after being press ganged into them. But why do they keep giving the drums names (element, epic x-over) when they have absoluteness no relation in specs, shell construction or quality to the line they are being bundled in with? I mean compare the element SE retro (near same specs as the club dates but better hardware, actual american hardware in fact) and the old elements.... its comparing a intermediate and high end drum... why did they do that?
 

mandrew

Gold Member
There are a few clips on You Tube of club dates, as well as of big names buying them. They just sound great! I think that these rival the "Gretsch sound", and may well be Ludwigs best kept secret. Reviews are great, they look great, they sound great, and if I were a gigging weekend drummer, these would be at the top of my list.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
In addition to the Club Dates just being cool, I think Bun E Carlos did a lot to push them out front. His YouTube video demonstrating the Club Date Fab 3 I think has a lot to do with their popularity. I love Ludwig too, but like all manufacturers, if you make too many different things its easier to keep track of them when a big artist tells you how great they are. And the fact that they're drawing on the old design makes them even more familiar.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I don't understand Ludwig either, Bermuda has answered a few of my similar questions in the past but just like you I am a bit confused.
I will say this, I love my Club Date SE Fab 3 kit!
It has become my gig kit for Rock, Country, and large venue Jazz gigs.
I still use my Mapex Saturn Manhattan kit for intimate small venue Jazz gigs.
Just like Jon stated, It loves tight and loose tuning and it is not so good for the middle ground.
I am going to do some sound comparisons of the new Club Date SE kit and a late 60's Ludwig 3 ply in the weeks to come.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
So why are the club dates getting more attention than the element SE that were the exact same shell but with the american hardware? I mean Bermuda, you really seemed to like them?
https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1203846496553
Yep, thats you Bermuda :p
Now that's funny... that clip is from almost 4 years ago, well before there was an Element Club Date series, yet there I am saying those words. I wonder... :) But, they sound pretty darn good in that clip, eh?

I don't know if those edges were the same as the current Club Date line, but the shell certainly is. In fact, I have a couple of terrific Cherry/Gum/Cherry and Rosewood/Gum/Rosewood prototype snares from 2009 that sound great.

In the past, Ludwig didn't experiment too much, and I think the Element line in particular gives them a chance to put stuff out and see how it does. Honestly, I don't know how well the Club Dates have been doing. I nabbed 2 kits, and love them!

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
But why do they keep giving the drums names (element, epic x-over) when they have absoluteness no relation in specs, shell construction or quality to the line they are being bundled in with? I mean compare the element SE retro (near same specs as the club dates but better hardware, actual american hardware in fact) and the old elements.... its comparing a intermediate and high end drum... why did they do that?
It's confusing, but it's also kinda cool to discover a really great kit that's not a lot of money, buried somewhere in a "budget" line. But I really don't know how they arrive at some of the decisions they do. Best we can do as consumers (or me as a Ludwig artist) is check out everything, and make our own choices.

Bermuda
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
It's almost as if they are trying to put an "acrolite" in each series. A high end but affordable drum kit mixed in with the low end names....
As for element SE and club date, the only thing that puts me off the SE is that well, it says element on it haha. The club dates dont have element written on them and act as a stand alone, but the SE has the horrible element name and mid end stigma about it. As for a comparison of the kits:

Ludwig Element SE Retro:
Slightly rounded bearing edge
american ludwig classic lugs
keystone floor tom brackets
7mm cherry/gum shell
vibra-band tom mount
Rail consolette

Ludwig club date:
fully rounded bearing edge
american made club date lugs
classic floor tom brackets
7mm cherry/gum shell
vibra-band tom mount
Rail consolette

So the main differences are the different hardware (though I did lots of research to find they are from the same factory that does the american ludwig hardware), the bearing edge (slightly rounded and fully rounded), and that the element came with a snare wheras the club date (like most high end drums) does not, but is available separately. I also as of yet, have not seen the club date rolled in with the element line, and that it is utterly separate. The way they are selling it (bare bones shells and optional snare) genuinely sounds like the way you sell high end gear.... so why did they not do that with the element SE retro when they are very similar?
Thanks :)
PS enjoying this bit of Ludwig discussion, very unusual the way they work isnt it?
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's almost as if they are trying to put an "acrolite" in each series. A high end but affordable drum kit mixed in with the low end names....
I think there are just some happy accidents. 40 years ago, the Japanese drums (I'm not even sure there were Chinese-made drums yet) were marginal at best compared to the US and European companies. But it wasn't long before the Japanese drums became excellent, and really gave the US companies a challenge just to stay in business. Some brands were crippled and others disappeared. And when budget/entry-level kits were introduced, the quality wasn't usually very good.

But today's lower-priced Asian offerings are quite excellent. I kid you not, the very best floor tom at NAMM was on a Ludwig Accent kit! It was completely inverse to the series hierarchy within Ludwig, and the price.

Anyway, even though the Elements are almost at the bottom of the Ludwig ladder, they sound great.

Bermuda
 

mandrew

Gold Member
Since it was mentioned that an "Acrolite" was put in the line up, I think it fair to remind ourselves that while the venerable drum was considered entry level, it has since become legendary, and is still a mainstay at Ludwig. Could the Club Date resurgence be the beginning of another drum legend story? Only time will tell. Outstanding drums for the price, and another potential Acrolite story!
 

larryz

Platinum Member
Yeah the current Club Dates are really excellent. I haven't read one negative thing about them yet. Get white marine pearl setup like Bob and you're good to go. Total class for around $700-800 new
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
I also haven't heard a bad thing about them. Heck the pros are using them, that should tell us something! The only things I want to ask are the following, mainly to bermuda:
1) in your thread:
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99342&highlight=ludwig+club+date
You stated they are elements, but ludwig have been very sure to just say they are a limited edition release, not tied in to another line. Where did you hear they were elements?
2) Why is it so hard to get hold of the snares in the UK

ps blue oyster isnt guitar centre exclusive, its UK exclusive and GC special ordered some in.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I also haven't heard a bad thing about them. Heck the pros are using them, that should tell us something! The only things I want to ask are the following, mainly to bermuda:
1) in your thread:
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99342&highlight=ludwig+club+date
You stated they are elements, but ludwig have been very sure to just say they are a limited edition release, not tied in to another line. Where did you hear they were elements?
2) Why is it so hard to get hold of the snares in the UK
The Club Dates are in the Element SE line, and the SE stuff has been limited editions, so far. I don't know if the Club Dates will be different and have more longevity.

Not sure about UK/EU distribution on the Asian lines, I'd think the Classic Maple, Legacy and Keystones are readily available.

Bermuda
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
Sorry to bring back this thread, but bermuda is fascinating to me, as in the inside workings of ludwig. It still seems to me that ludwig are unsure of where many of there series belong. I mean it used to be very simple to me:
Accent: beginner
Accent CS: Intermediate
Accent custom: Semi pro
Classic Birch: cheapest pro
Classic maple: professional
Legacy: Flagship

Then we had the major kerfuffle phase:
Accent: Beginner
Element PVC: intermediate
Element Lacquer: budget-pro/high intermediate
Element SE: ???
Epic: Cheapest pro
Centennial: cheap pro?
Professional
Classic maple: professional
Legacy: Flagship

And now we have:
Accent: Beginner
Element PVC: intermediate
Element birch (now thicker and no lovely poplar core)
Element SE: ??? (still)
Epic: Cheapest pro
Centennial: cheap pro?
Keystone: professional
Classic maple: professional
Legacy: Flagship


Above all else what stands out to me, is the element line, as they can NEVER seem to figure out what this line is, so far from drum shows and reviews I have heard this:

Best intermediate drum set around! (musicradar)

Not really a proper line, its an experimental area where we can just make drums for everyone. And right now hyrbid shells! Featured on our element lacquer series with high grade marbled birch, american keystone hardware and super thin 6mm shells. Professional grade and quality kit made offshore without the huge price tag. (some guy at a ludwig stand)

Just ludwigs answer to mapex meridian and pearl vision. (forums)

New element birch does not compare to old ones. thinner, superior shells with the poplar core blow new ones away, maybe they were one off 100th anniversary professional quality/experimental drums afterall? (someone ranting over wanting to get a second set of old elements for his kid to have one aswell).


So what is going on? Its like willy wonkas chocolate factory.
 

StaggerLee

Silver Member
The other thing heard was that all the drums from 2009 that were introduced were "experimental" and dont fit into the usual norms for levels of professionalism and so trying to place them in one will result in either punching bellow its weight or punching above it, and so exist outside the usual gradings. But the finished products when released are set in there levels. As evidenced by in its release many people thinking epic was a brand new american high grade line when they saw and heard it, but it was just an offshore budget pro series, and the element lacquer thought to be filling the role of the old accent cs custom series which got the semi-pro rating from ludwig and musicradar. so all is confusing.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
You forgot the new Signet 105 line,which a few pros are playing,such as Bermuda.They use completely different hardware,and are only offered in 3 finishes,with 100% maple shells.Don't lose sleep over this pidgeon hole thing,as to where different drum lines belong on the beginner to pro ladder.

It often comes down to just finish and hardware.That was the case in the late 60's when Ludwig had the Classic,Clubdate and Standard lines.All three use the same exact shell,but different hardware,and in the case of the Standards,offered different finishes.

Ludwig offers quality drums ,at most pricepoints,just like alll of the major manufacturers.They're just keeping up with ,and at times,staying ahead of the competition,as with the reintroduction of the Clubdate line,Atlas hardware/ mounts/anchors and the customer assembled Signet 105 line,with 100% maple shells for under 900 US.

Steve B
 
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