Re: What to look for in vintage Ludwig Sets
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.
It's not what you play, as much as how you play it.