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  #1  
Old 07-08-2014, 02:18 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Ok... i have been holding back on this for a long time, mainly as im afraid someone is going to come up and tell me "its not special its just crap".... but my curiosity has got the better of me, and im really hoping that bermuda helps out on this as I imagine he would know best.
OK so the story:
In 2009 ludwig were the rage again, 100 years and all that. They had lots of new lines, including the element line. Now I wanted one, BADLY, as I always wanted a luddy, but I couldn't afford one. Few years down the line and I see an add saying:
"Custom Ludwig Element"
With the footnotes saying:
A custom sized element from the 100th anniversary element series used for photography and drum clinics, a professional version! 20x14, 12x8, 16x14. Badges removed but supplied.

Now being young I was hooked, it wasn't that bad money wise and I pulled the trigger. They were lovely 60s sizes (and the same ones I had played on a friends slingerland). So it arrived and I loved it and paid no heed to the badges etc and just loved the kit But recently a friend got himself one of the older birch/poplar elements like I have, but they dont sound at all similar.... so we started taking them apart to have a look. First difference was his were around 3mm out of round, mine was utterly perfect... ok not what im used to with a taiwanese made kit but ok. Secondly mine had some sort of clear coat inside, wheras his was a bit rough. Again a bit unusual. Then we checked bearing edges and his were basic 45 degree but mine were 45 degree with a slight round over and the tip of the bearing edge was further into the drum rather than right at the edge.... again a bit unusual. So we then looked online and both my finish (a matte black with some thin lacquer) was not on there, neither were the bass drum and floor tom sizes.... Here is a pic, any clues anyone? I havent heard of ludwig putting out a really high spec version of a midline drum just to sell more of them, only when the REO speedwagon guy got an epic that was custo specced and interior finished etc

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  #2  
Old 07-08-2014, 02:30 PM
The Old Hyde
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Badges removed but supplied.....why? ive never understood removing a badge and if it were indeed for clinics and photography, wouldn't Ludwig want the badge visible?
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  #3  
Old 07-08-2014, 02:37 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Lots of things dont make sense about the kit. A lot of effort has been made to make it sound superb. The bearing edges are the same as on a friends champagne sparkle classic maple, and why go to all that length to make it so round if its a mid range kit, same for interior finishing. Thats why im so confused.
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  #4  
Old 07-08-2014, 02:47 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Can you give us a clear pic? That picture is almost worthless.
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  #5  
Old 07-08-2014, 03:22 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Hope this is better....




Sorry I dont have any more pictures....
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  #6  
Old 07-08-2014, 04:41 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Not sure about the kit, it would be very unusual to create a one-off kit for photos, since they really couldn't be used to help sell a kit that's not available. The only thing I can think of is that the distributor in the UK modified the drums. Or, someone went out of their way to fake a lower-line Ludwig kit!

If they sound good to you, enjoy!

Bermuda
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  #7  
Old 07-08-2014, 05:03 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

It sounds divine, and the birch has a MUCH and i really emphasise MUCH nicer grain that my mates element. Its just weird that everything about the kits build screams this is a high end kit... espesh when you havent got the ludwig badges on. Oh and when i put the badges on, it is a bit slanted, as i they had been recently drilled.... not sure the badges were meant to be there at the start. Oh and the grommets have been replaced and the hole widened, you can see evidence of it with a small splinter on one of them.... does this give rise to any theories. I also agree that it would be weird to make a kit look like a worse one, but also why would a distributer modify a kit. I mean the cost for that would put it in the far better epic range and so makes a no brainer to have gone with the downbeat epic....
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2014, 05:05 PM
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KarlCrafton KarlCrafton is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

It'd be a real kit, no one would "fake" an Epic, or Element kit.

For one, parts aren't readily available, like the Classic lugs are, and two, who would put effort into faking a line that isn't as known, if they wanted to scam and make money?

Bryan Hitt had a couple custom Epic kits if I remember correctly. They looked pretty cool.

Sounds like you made a pretty nice score on this kit!
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2014, 05:23 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

I love it, il say that. I paid 300 for it only (the elements are 599 and epics are 699 starting) but no snare, said it never came with one. Also the bass drum was virgin, i drilled the rail mount. Every element I know came with a tom mount, even more suspicious perhaps?
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2014, 08:34 PM
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drummerfish drummerfish is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

i agree with bermuda. at the same time i don't think its a "special edition" kit.

i hope this doesn't become a downer for you, as in the end you did get a kit cheap and it seems to look decent (need better pics man)

going off the pics, i'm also assuming that since it has ludwig lugs and related period parts, that the shells would be be element shells.

ludwig would put on badges. they have only 2 screws on each, so someone could of taken them off. i would also think if it was a SE kit a snare would of been made. overall it just doesn't add up to me.

= are there extra holes anywhere?
= is it painted or wrapped?
= does the interior of the shells look like cheap wood grain?
= 1.6 or 2.3 mil hoops?
= is the blk hdwr a gloss black or flat blk? gloss blk is shown in the catalog.

i used to work for the former ludwig artist rep who also owned a music store at the time. we used to get all the special one offs, b-stock and prototype ludwig stuff. odds are if there was a special edition kit like this (or possible protoype) we most likely would of got it.

i also worked the namm show from 1993 to about 2011 for my old boss for ludwig. we would get all the drums from the booth and take them back to the shop to sell and i did not see that at namm. i never seen or heard of that kit before.

in the 2009 anniversary catalog there's 3 types of element series kits:

= laquer kits with 10 lug kick (w/ blk hdwr on selected finishes) w/ 6 ply birch inner/outer and popler core.

= wrapped kits with a 8 lug kick and chrome hdwr (yours is a 8 lug) in 6 ply "selected hardwood shells".

= element SE (special edition) these are only 2 kits which is the corey miller kit (local guy, his shop is right up the street) and the bandana kit. both of these kits also have 10 lug kicks.

none are offered with a 20" kick. i also do not believe they would of offered a 20" as a option because those kits are budget kits and they would only be offered in the same standard sizes like what everyone else offers. a 14x20 or 14x22 is usually offered only on beginner kits like cd700, maxwin, etc...

the 2011 catalog lists the same things noted above but no SE kits. i'm also not referenceing element kits made after 2009 which the line may have been expanded. you would need to do research to see if your sizes were avail.

there's some minor hdwr differences in the element kits since 2009 (going off the catalogs)like spurs and black or chrome hdwr. all show tom mounts on the kicks. kicks listed as 18x22 and a 4 pc "emo" kit with a 20x22 kick (10 lug) the 2009 catalog lists 2.5 mil hoops on the laquer kits. these type of kits would generally come with 1.6 mil hoops.

i think someone took apart a lower line element kit (or non element kit based on the kick size) wrapped or painted it (incl the hdwr) and called it "custom". take off a lug and see if its black underneath. also do a scratch test on a lug and hoop to see if it was spray painted. and check for seams if its a wrapped.

the reason i say this is because i see CL ads almost everyday from someone trying to sell a "custom kit" when its not really custom, they just took off the wrap of a beginner or mid level / budget kit, stained it or painted the raw shells, maybe spray paint the hdwr then try to sell them.

i used to work for a indie drum company and i have a eye for what is actually custom and what isn't. of course we're talking about a major drum company and not a indie drum company, so there's differences on what a major WILL do vs what a custom company CAN do. but it just seems odd to do a SE kit on a midlevel model line.

i would love to be wrong but just giving you some info.

**update**
check to see if this is some special one off guitar center kit. some companies do this to make a quick buck.
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  #11  
Old 07-08-2014, 08:53 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerfish View Post
i agree with bermuda. at the same time i don't think its a "special edition" kit.

i hope this doesn't become a downer for you, as in the end you did get a kit cheap and it seems to look decent (need better pics man)

going off the pics, i'm also assuming that since it has ludwig lugs and related period parts, that the shells would be be element shells.

ludwig would put on badges. they have only 2 screws on each, so someone could of taken them off. i would also think if it was a SE kit a snare would of been made. overall it just doesn't add up to me.

= are there extra holes anywhere?
= is it painted or wrapped?
= does the interior of the shells look like cheap wood grain?
= 1.6 or 2.3 mil hoops?
= is the blk hdwr a gloss black or flat blk? gloss blk is shown in the catalog.

i used to work for the former ludwig artist rep who also owned a music store at the time. we used to get all the special one offs, b-stock and prototype ludwig stuff. odds are if there was a special edition kit like this (or possible protoype) we most likely would of got it.

i also worked the namm show from 1993 to about 2011 for my old boss for ludwig. we would get all the drums from the booth and take them back to the shop to sell and i did not see that at namm. i never seen or heard of that kit before.

in the 2009 anniversary catalog there's 3 types of element series kits:

= laquer kits with 10 lug kick (w/ blk hdwr on selected finishes) w/ 6 ply birch inner/outer and popler core.

= wrapped kits with a 8 lug kick and chrome hdwr (yours is a 8 lug) in 6 ply "selected hardwood shells".

= element SE (special edition) these are only 2 kits which is the corey miller kit (local guy, his shop is right up the street) and the bandana kit. both of these kits also have 10 lug kicks.

none are offered with a 20" kick. i also do not believe they would of offered a 20" as a option because those kits are budget kits and they would only be offered in the same standard sizes like what everyone else offers. a 14x20 or 14x22 is usually offered only on beginner kits like cd700, maxwin, etc...

the 2011 catalog lists the same things noted above but no SE kits. i'm also not referenceing element kits made after 2009 which the line may have been expanded. you would need to do research to see if your sizes were avail.

there's some minor hdwr differences in the element kits since 2009 (going off the catalogs)like spurs and black or chrome hdwr. all show tom mounts on the kicks. kicks listed as 18x22 and a 4 pc "emo" kit with a 20x22 kick (10 lug) the 2009 catalog lists 2.5 mil hoops on the laquer kits. these type of kits would generally come with 1.6 mil hoops.

i think someone took apart a lower line element kit (or non element kit based on the kick size) wrapped or painted it (incl the hdwr) and called it "custom". take off a lug and see if its black underneath. also do a scratch test on a lug and hoop to see if it was spray painted. and check for seams if its a wrapped.

the reason i say this is because i see CL ads almost everyday from someone trying to sell a "custom kit" when its not really custom, they just took off the wrap of a beginner or mid level / budget kit, stained it or painted the raw shells, maybe spray paint the hdwr then try to sell them.

i used to work for a indie drum company and i have a eye for what is actually custom and what isn't. of course we're talking about a major drum company and not a indie drum company, so there's differences on what a major WILL do vs what a custom company CAN do. but it just seems odd to do a SE kit on a midlevel model line.

i would love to be wrong but just giving you some info.

**update**
check to see if this is some special one off guitar center kit. some companies do this to make a quick buck.


Thanks for getting back to me, il provide all info i can:

The only holes are the ones for an element badge, though they dont all line up brilliantly. Its painted, even under the lugs. A scratch leaves a silver mark so its some really thin coating over the paint.
Interior shells are stunning. I mean really really nice. Very strong grain, il try get a pic for you but really does not look low end wood.
Using a spare ISS mount to test, its a 2,3mm hoops. The hoops are powder coated.
The hardware is not really gloss but it deffo isnt matte either, hard to explain.
Not seen it as a guitar center kit.


So basically... it looks like someone got some really lovely shells, put some gibraltar (the spurs are the same as gibraltar ones i ordered for another kit, the same) and the keystone lugs from element/epic/keystone range and put them on it. But WHY imitate a lower line. Makes no sense. Came with the 100th anniversary reso too.
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  #12  
Old 07-08-2014, 08:58 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Here is a pic of me using the floor tom as a bass drum, you can see the interior is BEAUTIFUL and can notice the interior clear coat. Does not look low end that wood.

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  #13  
Old 07-11-2014, 02:21 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Seems like this might remain a mystery then? If you do a zoom in on the interior of the floor tom you can see an utterly gorgeous grain....
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  #14  
Old 07-12-2014, 01:10 AM
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Vintage Old School Vintage Old School is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Just shooting in the dark here, but I think somebody was attempting to do a custom build with different shells. Probably wanted to learn to drill, paint, finish and assemble his own kit. My guess is prior owner purchased and cannibalized an Element kit for the hardware and badges.
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  #15  
Old 07-12-2014, 02:22 PM
StaggerLee StaggerLee is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Ok so I finally got some correspondence from Ludwig.... impressed that they actually responded. It was a prototype,for the SE series was eventually rolled into the SE Retro line but this was before introducing the idea of gum/cherry shells. The shells are birch and poplar but are not the same ones used in element line, they are extra thin (6mm) with left over birch plies from the (at the time) recently discontinued birch classic line. The reason it looks like there have been newly added badges is because when it was sold they requested badges for the kit and so they just sent element badges over and the store had to drill them (they are not sure of the store, but it was in US). So all in all, its a high spec prototype of a mid-line kit. So as for where it sits in the category of pro/semi pro, there is no idea. It uses gibralter hardware (legs, floor tom parts etc are all from gibraltar), ludwig tom mount, lugs, shells and claws. Everything is high quality, including the bearing edges and sealing of the shell with lacquer etc. So now I know why it sounds so much better than my friends, and thanks for sharing this journey with me :)
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  #16  
Old 07-13-2014, 12:48 AM
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Vintage Old School Vintage Old School is offline
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Default Re: Mystery drum kit (ludwig)

Great score! Thanks for sharing this. Glad Ludwig responded with the history of this kit. Great story!
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