Ludwig Acrolite Prototype Refurb

mikyok

Platinum Member
For 58 she scrubs up pretty darn nice! That Never Dull stuff works wonders. I pictured the original Ludwig Aluminium hoops which I'll still keep as they're as rare as hens teeth.

I'd love to know how it ended up in the middle of England when they only made 200 as a test batch.
 

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IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
That's a beautiful drum! The lugs are made of aluminum aren't they?

How does it compare to a regular Acrolite, or have you not had a chance to play one?
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
That's a beautiful drum! The lugs are made of aluminum aren't they?

How does it compare to a regular Acrolite, or have you not had a chance to play one?

Cheers man, yep the lugs are aluminium.

I've never played a normal acrolite. It's insanely light. I'm guessing they sound near enough the same
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
Cheers man, yep the lugs are aluminium.

I've never played a normal acrolite. It's insanely light. I'm guessing they sound near enough the same
I have a acro "prototype", they are first generation acros really, and compared the lugs to the lugs on my '67 acro. The lugs are exactly the same. Chrome plated Zinc. The only difference is that they brushed the finish of the chrome plating to make it match the shell and rims better. Given the color of your lugs I would say they are the same as mine.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I have a acro "prototype", they are first generation acros really, and compared the lugs to the lugs on my '67 acro. The lugs are exactly the same. Chrome plated Zinc. The only difference is that they brushed the finish of the chrome plating to make it match the shell and rims better. Given the color of your lugs I would say they are the same as mine.

A 1st generation acro is a better made drum than the prototype and was improved from the flaws of the prototypes which were lugs and rims failing and the shell not being welded together..


If you have a prototype as well cool, it's worth a lot more than a production model.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Gorgeous! Is that pitting on the shell? I'm viewing on a small laptop and I need my eyes checked. ?

And whether it is or not, it looks frosted on my screen. Very cool looking. (y)
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Gorgeous! Is that pitting on the shell? I'm viewing on a small laptop and I need my eyes checked. ?

And whether it is or not, it looks frosted on my screen. Very cool looking. (y)

Cheers man! No chrome to pit thank god, it's known as orange peel all 60s across have this finish which is kinda cool, no idea how they did it
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Cheers man! No chrome to pit thank god, it's known as orange peel all 60s across have this finish which is kinda cool, no idea how they did it
Ohhhhhh. Excellent. Yes I've seen the orange peel elsewhere. I really need new glasses! Lol
 

Thin Shell

Well-known member
There were two types of Acro's with the welded orange peel shell. The earlier had small knob muffler and Imperials. I think most have standard triple flange hoops but there are some surviving drums with aluminum ones so they may have all had them to start and got replaced over time. Mike Layton of VDF and DFO has or had one of these.

The next one has the baseball bat muffler and bowties. There are supposedly bowties that are aluminum. Others have the same chromed die cast lugs as on production acros but with a brushed finish. I have never seen an aluminum bowtie so I can't comment on that but my welded shell acro has the brushed chrome plated die cast lugs. I also have a '66 or so acro so I took a lug off each and they are 100% identical other than the brushed finish which is a brushed finish applied to a chrome lug. All of the makers marks and other details are the same.

lugwig first gen acro vs 67 acro lugs.jpg


lugwig first gen acro vs 67 acro lugs 2.jpg


The three grooves on the front of the lug are not brushed nor is the line where the sides of the lug meets the foot. The color of the lugs is also decidedly chrome rather than aluminum. This is very easy to spot if you know what to look for. I have never seen one in person or online that doesn't have this exact detail. I question if there were actually any bowtie lugs that were actually made out of aluminum.

lugwig first gen acro lugs.jpg

In '62 Ludwig put out a flyer for the new Acrolite. The copy says that the hoops are the same acrolite material. In other words aluminum. I think that people have misread the copy and inferred that the lugs were also aluminum.

1962-nard-4.jpg

In the '62 catalog they have another description for it. The picture is clearly an orange peel shell and still says aluminum hoops.

acrolite_flyer.jpg




The '63 catalog still identifies the drum as having aluminum hoops.

1963_Ludwig_acrolite.jpg



The 63/64 catalog is the first mention of a seamless acrolite shell. No longer comes with aluminum hoops.

ad 2.PNG


My thoughts, and Mike Layton's, at least at one time, is that the prototypes were the imperial lug versions.

This only required Ludwig to make the new shell and the aluminum rims. Everything else was off their shelf. The shell is a very simple construction and was actually exactly the same as the later Slingerland grooved student snares that came a few years later. They could use all of their existing equipment to make the hoops. They had to have new tooling made for the notched bowties which was expensive which is why it made sense to use the imperials at first. These are much harder to find and fits the 100 or so made story.

The first gen are the bowtie versions with aluminum hoops and baseball bat muffler. Ludwig ran ad and catalog copy for two years for drums that match the description perfectly. They would not have run any ads or catalogs for a prototype. These are rare but not that rare.

The second gen are the first models with the seamless shells. The earliest one had crimped beds just like the early aluminum supras had.

This was very short lived and they soon went to the non crimped beds that we all know.


This "prototype" story is mostly lore and comes from Rob Cook. I believe there were prototypes but the story has been misinterpreted and so first gen acrolites are being misidentified as the very rare and different prototype drums.
 
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