1970's Ludwig Vistalites

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Here's another "is this a good deal?" question. Clear Ludwig Vistalites: 12,13,16,22. Shellpack only, no snare.

Ludwig 70's Clear Vistalite $700

The kicker is, this guy lives less than a mile from me (and it's a pretty nice neighborhood, too). I've checked the ebay "sold" listings, but there just aren't that many "sold" full kits to compare to. It also seems there are a lot of kits that don't sell because the seller is asking a ridiculous price. I've always been a (very) casual Vistalite fan, but not an expert. My understanding is the clears fetch less than the colors...hey, at least this set is not concert toms!

Any Vistalite experts out there who can help me?
 
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harryconway

Platinum Member
Clear and Blue were the most produced. So yes, they tend to fetch less, than some of the other "colors". Not a bad price, if a Vista kit is what you're after.​
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
That's about on price without the snare or hardware, maybe a little lower IMO so not a bad deal. Has the inlays and nice hoops. As long as there aren't any splits or cracks, the swirls and scratches can be polished out.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
I'm going to look at them tonight. Any other tips for what to look for? I've heard before about cracks starting from lug holes; are there issues around the bass drum tom mounts and the mounts on the toms?
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
I always bring a flashlight to look on the inside of the shell. Cracks can form around any of the drilled sections but more often around the tom mounts. Splits happen on the seam. Those white gaskets should all be there but that's not a deal breaker, you can always find some.

This video shows you how the 70's shells (and reissues) should look.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myPaUoASrf0
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
I always bring a flashlight to look on the inside of the shell. Cracks can form around any of the drilled sections but more often around the tom mounts. Splits happen on the seam. Those white gaskets should all be there but that's not a deal breaker, you can always find some.

This video shows you how the 70's shells (and reissues) should look.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myPaUoASrf0
Thanks so much for the input! I ended up buying the set for $660. Serial numbers indicate 1976. They're in fantastic shape -- little to no scratches and no cracks whatsoever. Missing a total of 3 white gaskets. The funny thing is the seams. I watched the linked video. However, the seams on these shells are opposite of what that guy described (and displayed/demonstrated) about 70's Vistalite seams. The V-shape of the seams he describes, on my set, are oriented with the point of the "V" on the inside of the shell, confirmed visually and with the fingernail scratch test.

I haven't had time to set up the kit, but I did tune up the 12 and 13 toms. I think this will be a good sounding set.
 

T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
Thanks so much for the input! I ended up buying the set for $660. Serial numbers indicate 1976. They're in fantastic shape -- little to no scratches and no cracks whatsoever. Missing a total of 3 white gaskets. The funny thing is the seams. I watched the linked video. However, the seams on these shells are opposite of what that guy described (and displayed/demonstrated) about 70's Vistalite seams. The V-shape of the seams he describes, on my set, are oriented with the point of the "V" on the inside of the shell, confirmed visually and with the fingernail scratch test.

I haven't had time to set up the kit, but I did tune up the 12 and 13 toms. I think this will be a good sounding set.
YES! Great buy. That's true, they did change the "V" channel during the Vistalite process which he forgot to mention. That will help you indicate when they were made. In 1975 the V was now positioned on the inside of the shell. Having the mini lugs on the smaller 12" rack tom, placement of mount/muffler/badge are also ways to date them.

The Novus 1/2/3 system will make them like new. 1 is the cleaner, 2 polisher, 3 heavy duty polisher. You'll want to disassemble them, clean with 1 then polish with 2, clean with 1 again. If any light scratches don't come out you can carefully use 3 to buff it out (then 2, then 1). so and so on.

Congrats!
 
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FreDrummer

Silver Member
OK. Here are "my" pics. Despite bearing edges that would be considered a joke by today's standards, these things sound pretty good! I figured I may as well set it up with my recently acquired Acro -- keep it all in the family, you know? I have a new black dot (oops, I'm dating myself there. Hint: I was in high school when these drums were built) on the way for the 13 as well as a set of G1 clear resos.





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T.Underhill

Pioneer Member
It's a beaut Clark, it's a beaut!!

And the bearing edges are pretty bad on them, oh well. Mine are all hit or miss.
 
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FreDrummer

Silver Member
TU, thanks SO much for your inputs here. As far as dating...the serial numbers indicate 1976. You mentioned the mount and muffler as additional indicators, so can I run this by you?

The muffler holes (mufflers were removed) on the two rack toms are in the next space closest to the throne in my pic (i.e. The muffler mounts are back to back, right next to each other where the two toms are closest as mounted). On the floor tom, the muffler mount would be right next to my right knee in the pic. Does this all jive with a 1976?

Yeah, as for the bearing edges, it doesn't look like they've "gone bad", it's just is what it is from the factory...
 

MusiQmaN

Platinum Member
Very nice!

I was wandering. Is $140 a neat price for a 5 piece clear Vistalite with matching serials, a ugly repaired bd shell, missing reso hoops/screws/claws on toms and kick and some extra stuff (vintage ufip and pearl hats, linko, ludwig and pearl hardware, a sonor bongo etc)
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Latest update:

OK, so I'm telling myself, "MUST...NOT...SPEND...MORE...MONEY...ON...DRUMS" for the time being. (Yes, I hear all the snickering from the gallery for THAT comment). I stopped into the local Music-Go-Round store yesterday. There's a stack of snares, and at the bottom is this:



Completes the set nicely, I think. Out the door for $215. I checked the serial number, and it appears to be a '76, just like the rest of the set (Darn! Hee, Hee, Hee!).

 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Lady Luck is obviously on your side right now. (Time to visit the casino and give her a real chance to work for you!) The kit is oh-so-nice. And the price was right, as well. Do use the Novus 1-2-3 system on them, as Mr. Underhill has suggested. That and some hardware polishing and you will be amazed at the results. Congrats!

GeeDeeEmm
 

CompactDrums

Silver Member
Getting new bearing edges cut, or cutting them yourself shouldn't be a big deal. I was supposed to cut edges on some acrylic drums a while back. While that job didn't come through, I did look into it.

Supposedly acrylic can be cut with the same bits used on wood, but needs to be done a lower speeds to avoid melting the acrylic. If you're router doesn't have speed adjustment, a dimmer can be installed on the power cable.
 

bobdylann97

Junior Member
Hey all! I'm new to the forums but certainly not to drumming. I recently bought an old Ludwig vistalite kit from a local music at a sweet price ($200!!!)... Unfortunately not in the best condition.. I have however have had an excellent opportunity to buy all the original hardware (lugs, legs, and whatnot) for surprisingly low as well.. is there any advice as to what I should start with to get the hoops shining and the shells crystal clear again?? I'm super stoked to have this thing and can't wait to hear it in one piece again!
👍🏻🥁👍🏻
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Hey all! I'm new to the forums but certainly not to drumming. I recently bought an old Ludwig vistalite kit from a local music at a sweet price ($200!!!)... Unfortunately not in the best condition.. I have however have had an excellent opportunity to buy all the original hardware (lugs, legs, and whatnot) for surprisingly low as well.. is there any advice as to what I should start with to get the hoops shining and the shells crystal clear again?? I'm super stoked to have this thing and can't wait to hear it in one piece again!
👍🏻🥁👍🏻
I had both a clear Vistalite and a solid black Vistalite. What worked amazingly well was a car buffer and McGuires car polish. Take all the hardware off, apply the McGuires and go to town with the buffer's soft pad. I had them looking like glass.
 
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