Ludwig Vistalites : Looking for opinions of experienced owners

steverok

Silver Member
Hey everyone,

I am close to ordering a set of blue Ludwig Vistalites in the big beat shell pack, which is 22x16 kick, 14x5 snare, 12x8 and 13x9 rack toms, and 16x16 floor tom. These would be used primarily for live shows with a hard-edged original alternative band i play with. I currently have a set of Yamaha Stage Customs for that, but I am hoping to get a bigger sound to compete with the loud guitars in this band. Originally I was thinking to get a set of Classic Maples, but I already own a beautiful set of Premier Signia maple drums, and I'm not really knocked out by the Classic Maple finishes. I have played Vistalites before, but have never owned them. I am hoping to get some feedback from experienced Vistalite owners. How easy are these drums to tune, and do they hold their tune well? How flexible is the tuning range of these drums ? What heads would you recommend ? What is your overall opinion of the direction I am headed in ? I look forward to hearing back from the fine people here.

My Best,
Steve-O
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I played Vistalites (in a live setting) .... from 1980 to 2000, more or less. I had kicks in both 22x14 and 22x16 sizes, and tom sizes 12, 13, 14, 16, 18. Mostly I played 14, 16, 18 configuration. Depending on your head choice, they can be very warm ..... or really bright. And if LOUD is what you need, they will deliver.​
As far as head choices .... I ran Ambassadors reso ... on all the drums. Pinstripe or Controlled Sound (Black Dot) batter.​
Currently, I have a red Vistalite kit, 24x14, 22x14, 13x9, and 16x16.​
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I played a solid black 1978 Vistalite one summer that everyone thought was a warm maple kit. I put coated white ambassadors top and bottom and a PS3 on the bass drum with a white Ludwig logo head and they were warm and had alot of projection. Since mine were old and kinda' beat up, my 13" tom wasn't completely round, but it sounded great anyway.

I would think if you want louder, stick with single-ply heads for the most resonance. But if it was really loud that you're competing with guitars, maybe it's time for microphones too?
 

Roy E. Munson

Senior Member
Extremely easy to tune, and they sound amazing. The only warning I would give would be to prepare yourself for everyone in the bar/venue to pay attention to you and then compliment you after your set. Vistalite drums are like women walking by a construction site.....everyone pays attention and everyone loves them!!!!

Go with Black Dots or Pinstripes up top and Ambassadors on the bottom. You can't go wrong with those.
 

poika

Silver Member
What everyone said.

I have pinstripes on the tom batters and ambassadors on the resos / powerstroke3 on the bd. Not a bad word to say about the drums.

I've found the toms to sound really nice when you tune the resos a third higher than the batters. The tuning range is not that wide I think, but it's pretty easy to get them to sound good.

I have an older set and I had to do some work on them and recut the bearing edges to ge them right, but if you're getting a new set they should be in shape straight from the factory.

Enjoy your new drums, should you decide to get them!
 
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Mdrums

Junior Member
Vistalites sound awesome...very punchy and full. You getting them at M.A.E. or Resurrection drums near you?
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
My teacher has a number of new and vintage VL kits all with EC2s and he tunes them to the sweetest sound. Warm, punchy, long sustain but very little ring. Nice and no "boing" on the larger toms. THink he runs ambs on the resos.
 
I don't have a full set, but I do have a 6.5 x 14" clear snare drum that's either from 71 or 72. I love it, but there's definitely some extra over tones to it. I actually put a clear emperor on top just because the clear head looks cooler, and because it provides for a little bit of muffling.

I can only imagine the rest of the set is the same way as far as the over tones go, so I would probably suggest starter with a thicker head like Emperors, Pinstripes, Controlled Sounds.
 

steverok

Silver Member
I can only imagine the rest of the set is the same way as far as the over tones go, so I would probably suggest starter with a thicker head like Emperors, Pinstripes, Controlled Sounds.
Yeah, this is probably the direction I will go in, or maybe the Evans or Aquarian equivalent of these. I like the smooth rugged sound I get with Pinstripes, so I may end up with those ...
 

steverok

Silver Member
Well, I ordered the Vistalites more than 2 weeks ago, and should have them in the next few weeks. My first order of business will be to tighten up the bass drum sound. My preference is to use only clear heads, with nothing inside the drum. Usually I use the Aquarian Super Kick and Regulator, but the Regulator is not an option, nor is any muffling front head, since nobody makes a clear one. Therefore I will probably stick with the factory front head. Has anyone successfully paired this with a clear batter head and gotten a nice tight sound ? Should I port the front head ?
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
I ran clear Ambassador heads reso, with clear Pinstripes batter, for years .... on my clear Vista's. (22x14's and 22x16's) But, there was some overtone. So, I wouldn't exactly call it tight.​
In a live situation, the overtone really isn't heard. If you want a "tight" sound, you're probably gonna have to at least go with a head like the Powerstroke3, reso. Ludwig makes a similar head, I have one on my 24x14 red Vista.​
As far as porting, I had both ported and un-ported reso heads for my clear Vista's, and I really didn't hear much difference. Certainly, a port is possibly more sound man friendly .... but your environment may be different.​
 

steverok

Silver Member
I don't really know about bass drum overtones. I am thinking more in terms of a punchy sound, as opposed to that boomy resonant sound you can get with a closed chamber and no muffling.
 

steverok

Silver Member
Hi Everyone,

I am so excited to announce the arrival of my new Ludwig Vistalites. I got them today, and got them set up tonight. So far, it's just the heavy factory heads, although I swapped out the bass drum batter head for a Remo Powerstroke 3 that I had lying around. I'm pretty happy with the tom sounds I am getting - the floor tom sustains really well, and they all seem to tune up pretty easily. Of course, with no muffling of the bass drum, it's a bit of a boomy and echo-y chamber. I decided to get an Evans 2 EMAD clear batter. I figure that will give me alot of muffling options, since I want to stick with the factory resonant head with the Ludwig logo, if possible. I am also thinking to go with G1's for the tom resonant heads and G2's for the batters. I figure I can't go wrong with that. What do y'all think ? I haven't unboxed new drums since 1992, so it's like Christmas here.

 

Toolate

Platinum Member
Wow brand new. Nice. SO nice..

I am forever trying to flatten my toms and get them lower and have to say that your toms look too high to play comfoortably to me. Could you flatten them? only ask because another drummer did the same to me and it opened my eyes to the idea and love it now.

ALso, I would try an EC2 batter. I have played 3 VL kits with them and it was the perfectt mix between a nice fat tone and a little sustain but no overtones/ring.
 

steverok

Silver Member
Hey, the tom angles are about what I am accustomed to. They are, however, a little more to the left of what I am used to. The 12" and 13" sizes, with the vibrabands, makes things a little tight. As you know, once you get them set a certain way, it's a big project to change it. I may want to try and get them over to the right a bit, to make room for my little splash cymbal, and as you say, flatten them a tad. Thanks for the tip on the EC2. Will consider those. I am psyched !
 
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