Ludwig Octoplus


Hi all.

My dad has a 190's Ludwig Octoplus. Any of you who knows the Octoplus will know the size of the kit:

Bass drums: 22 x 18 (2 of them)
Snare: 5 x 14 Supraphonic
Toms (there are freaking 8!): 6, 8, 10, 12, 13 , 14, 15, 16
Floor tom: 18

I just have a few questions regarding the kit:

1. When my dad bought the kit in the 70's, he was told only 2 were ever shipped here (South Africa), and this was one of them. Are they rare kits? Is there a value that can be attached to one in original condition? (He even has the original heads, in storage).

2. The rack toms are concert toms (i.e no bottom head). What is the best batter head for a good sound with enough resonance to carry, but not enough for that 'twang' sound? I have tried a few 2'ply heads (G2 and Pinstripe) but they were very dead.

I don't have any photos of he kit at the moment, but I will try to get some.


My brother-in-law has an Octaplus. He bought hardware and installed bottom heads on all the toms. 100% better sound. The concert style toms were a 70's fad that thankfully never caught on for every kit made since. When Hal Blaine came up with the idea for the Octaplus it was so he had a complete octave range with his kit. Sorry i didnt answer you questions. I love playing on that kit though. I dont think the original heads are worth anythig though, unless they are signed by a drummer with a collectable signiture they are useless to anyone really.


Platinum Member
Here's a pic of an old Octoplus ad from Ludwig:

The term "Octoplus" gets thrown around a lot to refer to any huge concert tom kit by Ludwig. they also made versions in their Vistalite and Stainless Steel lines.

Because of the era when these drums were made, probably most of the original sets were pieced out, and are probably in various states of decay. I would contact Ludwig and ask for some more details/info, and they might give you an idea about what the distribution and current known footprint of these drums are.


Gold Member
I had a slightly smaller kit in the late 1970's but in white:
Bass drums: 22 x 18 (2 of them)
Snare: 5 x 14 Supraphonic
Toms : 8, 10, 12, 13, 14
Floor tom: 16
And lots of cymbals.

Neil Peart was my inspiration back then. Your Pa and I would have had lots to talk about!



Thanks for the replies guys.

The one we have is the same as the pic, just in red.

I would love to play the kit more, but I must be honest, I am frustrated with the toms. Which is why I am trying to find the right heads for them. But then again, somebody once told me they only sound flat from the player's perspective, because all the sound is going toward the audience. Should probably experiment with some different single ply's and see.


Junior Member
I had a octa-plus ludwig in the early 1980s. it was virgin white. I based it on bill wards set from black sabbath. had all the extras. long story short. got married sold the set. the end. 30 years later getting back into it. have a nice 1971 slingerland 9 piece. i do wonder if my set is still out there. was sold from evergreen park il. in the early to mid 1980s. if it is out there and for sale i would like to make an offer

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I played single-headed toms for a few years and I found that regular ol' black dots worked well in that instance - or even regular clear ambassadors (which is what I think Phil Collins used too). The idea is to get that ringy timbale-like sound because the audience doesn't really hear that ring. So the ring gives you piece-of-mind. Some drummers, like John Panozzo of Styx back in '82, said they cut holes in his bottom toms heads so his live engineer could get a more isolated sound, and it was pretty successful. My method was just to hear the note I wanted and then I cranked up the drum to match (evenly, of course). Once there, I just left it that way.

If I can make one correction, Ludwig didn't introduce power sizes until the 1980 catalog, so if you guys got that kit in the 70s, your bass drums are most likely 14x22. They introduced 16" deep bass drums in '80.


Platinum Member
Agreed .They were available with either 14x22 or 24 bass drums and 16" depth in the mid 80's not 18" depth.Those sizes weren't available till early 2000's.

But the OP is around 2 1/2 years old.:):)

Steve B