What to look for in vintage Ludwig Sets

sethlowden

Senior Member
Rather than ask about every individual set that comes up, maybe I should ask what I should be looking for in vintage Ludwigs. I have gotten some fantastically helpful suggestions here so far! Here is another example I ran across, guy says he bought these in the Airforce back in 71 or so. He asked what I wanted to know about them, so I asked about the badges (blue and olive), what the inside finish was (didn't know) and what other stuff came with it (cymbals stands cases). This might make a really nice set for me while I am fixing up the stainless steel beauties, I don't know. I am feeling pretty jazzy lately, could get some nice sounds. Owner is gathering more info for me. Feel free to discuss general buying strategies also. Thanks!
 

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harryconway

Platinum Member
'68 was when Ludwig stopped using the maple/poplar/mahogany shell. The kit you have pictured will have the clear maple interiors, and the shell is maple/poplar/maple. The 3 ply Thermogloss drums I have are from '69 (13", 16") and '71 (18"). Ludwig made the maple/poplar/maple shell up 'til '76, when they switched to the 6 ply shell (no reinforcement ring).​
 

sethlowden

Senior Member
I appreciate the guidance, and that has helped me find some more resources on the web. I think this set should have pointy badges according to what I have seen. I am confused as to how to figure out what model it is? Fascinating to look over the history...
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What to look for? I'd check the bearing edges and look for re-ring ply separation. Wrap separation is another thing to inspect. Some bearing edges are hillier than others. Obviously, the less hilly, the better. Run your finger around the bearing edge and feel for gouges or other damage. Also roundness. With the heads and hoops off, take a good drum head and see if it binds up as you rotate it on the hoopless drum. If it spins without binding, it's probably fine as far as roundness goes. Any yellowing of the wraps can be remedied but the bearing edges, the roundness, no ply separation and no wrap separation are the main points to check...on each drum.

To a lesser extent, missing lug and bracket screws and condition of the mounting brackets on the toms and bass drum feet should be looked over, as well as the condition of the shell itself.

As far as what model it is...AFAIK, ludwig toms were all the same from a given era, the "model" of the set is just a configuration that it was originally sold in. Exceptions are the Club Date model which had center mounted 2 sided lugs. All other Ludwig toms (including Ludwig "Standard" drums) had the same shell for a given era.

The clear maple interiors are considered to be the most coveted, but I think my 60's set with the white painted interiors sound a little clearer than my 1976 set with the clear maple re-ringed interior. Admittedly, the difference is small.

When buying used drums there is no substitute for taking all the heads off to inspect the drum. A cordless drill fitted with a drum key bit is a big help in de-heading it.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
That kit that you are looking at appears to be in real good shape. It will clean up nice. It is great that it is complete as it was delivered way back then too.
I would do what Larry said and pull the heads to inspect for cracks, mold, and rot, etc. My guess is that you won't find any issues but it never hurts to look so that you know exactly what you are buying.
 

sethlowden

Senior Member
Usually I do not do a lot of tire-kicking on CraigsList, but this one caught my attention. Mostly because of the muffler on the bass drum, but also because of the cymbals. I asked the guy if they all came with the set, and he said yes, he bought them as a package. Am I correct to assume they may be Paiste cymbals? And I appreciate the answer about the models. I may or may not check this one out, a bit more out of my way than I am used to, but I am leaning that way. I am getting lazy. Owner sounds like a nice guy, Viet Nam vet. Would be fun to chat with even if I don't buy them.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Usually I do not do a lot of tire-kicking on CraigsList, but this one caught my attention. Mostly because of the muffler on the bass drum, but also because of the cymbals. I asked the guy if they all came with the set, and he said yes......
And being you're dealing with a one-owner kit, chances are it's gonna be in better shape, than say a kit that's passed thru many hands ..... many circumstances. With the "unknown" factor minimized ...... it's probably gonna be in top shape. If it was missing it's reso. hoops, had a rattle can paint job, non-Ludwig parts added ..... those are the kinda kits you need to be more wary of.​
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
Usually I do not do a lot of tire-kicking on CraigsList, but this one caught my attention. Mostly because of the muffler on the bass drum, but also because of the cymbals. I asked the guy if they all came with the set, and he said yes, he bought them as a package. Am I correct to assume they may be Paiste cymbals? And I appreciate the answer about the models. I may or may not check this one out, a bit more out of my way than I am used to, but I am leaning that way. I am getting lazy. Owner sounds like a nice guy, Viet Nam vet. Would be fun to chat with even if I don't buy them.
If he bought them out of the catalog as a set,then they are Paiste 602's which Ludwig was a distributor for at the time.

The "Hollywood" set cymbals were an 18" thin crash,20" medium ride and 14" hats.

Also check for additional holes and non original hardware.Anything that's non original ,devalues the kit by at least 35% from collector value.

Hard to see but it looks like a pretty faded silver sparkle .

Steve B
 

sethlowden

Senior Member
The guy called back, answered some questions to the best of his ability. He said he has not played them in 40 years, so he must have just played them while in the Air Force. 22 inch kick. The hi hats are 602 Paistes, but the crash and ride are not. He spelled out Zildjian from the crash, and he said the ride was made in England- said it was Knut or something- must be Krut. Anyway, all stands, bags, kick pedal. The front hoop in the pic has no t rods and claws, but he said there was a box with spare hardware. I asked about pitting on the snare, he had no idea (was not near the set when he called).I believe him when he says he knows nothing about drums. He wants a fair amount for them, but they may be ultimate keepers for me. Better than my old Stage Customs anyway, probably.
 
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opentune

Platinum Member
Those are nice 3 ply drums. Clear heads mean you can inspect the bearing edges pretty well and pretty quickly.
Older 602's are sought after by some.
How much is he asking for it all?
Man you have some great deals out there in Hoosierland!
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
The second photo has a supra in it sitting in a stand on top of a fiber trap case,next to a couple of cymbals.

Zildjians from the 70's sound great but not so much Kruts.They would have to be in all original condition without too much fade for 900.That figure in actually pretty ball park for early 70 Ludwigs.

Those 602's 70's hats go for around 350-500 for a good pair all day long.Some even go for more.

Silver sparkle was very common though.Go there with cash in hand and offer 750.See what happens.

Steve B
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
Rather than ask about every individual set that comes up, maybe I should ask what I should be looking for in vintage Ludwigs. Feel free to discuss general buying strategies also. Thanks!


Look for a clueless seller.

Your chances then of getting something good for cheap are increased exponentially.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I personally don't think that his price is unreasonable for a one owner unmolested kit.
Offer him less with cash in your hand and see what happens but I wouldn't hesitate to buy those four drums, cymbals, and hardware for $900 if he won't come down. (just my 2 cents)
This is providing that there are no serious flaws in the shells or wrap.
As an example, I paid full price of almost twice that much for a 68 13' 16, 20" WMP kit without snare and hardware that was in collectors condition last month.
 

sethlowden

Senior Member
I personally don't think that his price is unreasonable for a one owner unmolested kit.
Offer him less with cash in your hand and see what happens but I wouldn't hesitate to buy those four drums, cymbals, and hardware for $900 if he won't come down. (just my 2 cents)
This is providing that there are no serious flaws in the shells or wrap.
As an example, I paid full price of almost twice that much for a 68 13' 16, 20" WMP kit without snare and hardware that was in collectors condition last month.
I am kind of going back and forth on it, since I am guessing it is in excellent shape. If I knew the snare was not pitted I would probably be more confident. Might not be something I see around here for a good while.

I know I asked about general principles, and one of my guiding principles on used gear is that I want to buy at a price I can get all of my money back out of it easily. I have bought and sold lots of woodworking tools and some guitar stuff that way and have had fun with it and kept from squandering family cash. On the other hand, if there was something new I wanted once in a while, I don't worry about it. Case in point for me, a new Dual Fusion pedal from Wampler Pedals I got two weeks ago. Beautiful tone! Full retail!!
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Im sure that you could get your money back if you cleaned the gear up and Bay'ed it with no problem.
I bought a newer Black Beauty to go with my kit because I am anal retentive and I can't deal with the pitting of vintage Ludwig snare drums.
You have to do what pleases you and makes you feel good in your head.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
Those look like they're gonna need some serious work. But for that price if you're looking for a fun project, why not.

(EDIT: referring to the ones in post #18)
 
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AirborneSFC

Gold Member
Those look like they're gonna need some serious work. But for that price if you're looking for a fun project, why not.
+1 If you get them cheap you will likely have the better part of $1k in them to restore them properly. That being said it would be a fun project to do over time if you were not in a rush. Plus they have some history behind them.
 
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