problems tuning my new Ludwig set

Junior Member
Hello! First thread for me!

This question may have been done before, but i dont find the answer im looking for, sorry if im doing it wrong.

I recently bought my first Ludwig set. It's a Classic Maple set, bass drum 24x16, floor tom 16x16 and tom tom 13x10. I bought this set because i love the 'Ludwig sound', but im having problems getting that GREAT sound on the toms. With the bass drum, got it quickly, with moderate tension on the batter and resonant heads. good round and full sound, love it. But with the toms, i have a lot of ring and overtones. I know thats the nature of maple wood, and i dont want to cut that ring too much, because i love resonant sounding drums. I just don't reach the point where im getting a good and resonating sound.
So im basically asking for some help and guidelines! my toms come with batter coated, 2 ply, Weathermaster heads, and 'heavy' clear resonant Weathermaster heads. Right now on batter side of the 2 toms i have moderate-medium tension, and "supposedly" very close tension on resonant...
could it be simply poor tuning? What kind of approach to tuning should i have?high tuning?

Thanks in advance


Platinum Member
I love open sounding drums also. But I also love that "big, fat sound" and I usually put clear Remo Powerstroke 3 heads (batter) on all my toms, as a starting point. Clear Ambassador reso.


Senior Member
Welcome to the forum!

I'd like to add that while Power Stroke 3 heads will give you a fat sound, they also cut almost all the overtones. I would start with some ambassidors, which will be the open and round sounding. Then if those arent quite right, and your beating them up excitedly playing your 24" kick, then switch to emporors.

Make sure you check out some guides on tuning drums and selecting heads. After all its all about experimentation. (You'll read taht sentence more than any other single sentence here on the forum.)

Good Luck!


Gold Member
In keeping with that Ludwig sound.....keep a 2-ply coated head. Either the emperor or G2 coated. But, before you give up...try to loosen the resonant head a little more. That is where you get the sustain the batter is where you derive pitch or tone.

Junior Member
Thanks a lot to everybody!
I believe i can get the kind of sound i like with the heads i have now (2 ply coated heads on the batter side, heavy clear heads on reso), maybe just switch the resonant heads for clear ambassadors. But in terms of tuning, what should i aim for? What this drums ask for? right now the reso and batter heads are at same tension, more or less, at medium tension overall. Maybe i'm not really fine tuning my drums?

Thanks for the advice Nodiggie, i'll try lowering the tension on resonant heads ;)


Senior Member
Search for Professor Sound's Drum Tuning Bible - it has all the info you'll need. A little fine tuning and you'll be set.
Sounds like a great kit! I want some Luddies...

Junior Member
I've read the drum tuning bible a lot of times, but here i was searching for first hand advices ad tips to make my new drumset sound as it should sound. Something more specific you know. I know the general theory of tuning, an what to expect of combination of heads, but im looking for specific info about Ludwig drums, about the Ludwig sound, which is the sound i like and the sound i was looking for when i bought my drums

Thanks again!


Platinum Member
... After all its all about experimentation. (You'll read taht sentence more than any other single sentence here on the forum.)
Are you positive? Some sure contenders might be "there are already many threads on this, use the search button" or "it's all about personal preference".


Junior Member
If you are looking for Ludwig drums setups check out the Jeff Ochletree info on the Bonham page he was Bonham's drum tech and worked on Ludwig wood and vistalite drums. He also has a book- I have not seen it but when I get some money I plan to buy it.


Platinum Member
Of course you know that tuning is a very personal thing but having said that place the drum on a soft surface such as carpet, couch etc... to mute the opposite side you are tuning. Place the drum head on the drum and tighten all the tension rods until they are finger tight. Then give each tension rod a full turn or two with a drum key enough to get all the wrinkles out of the head. Now go around each tension rod and tap the head with a stick or drum key about an inch from the edge. Now simply tune each tension rod until they all sound similar (for simplicity, i just select the highest pitch and tune each rod to that). This will ensure that you drum head is tensioned evenly. Now, lift drum off the surface and tap the center. You now can tune the drum either higher or lower depending on the sound you want. Be sure to turn each rod the same amount and use the criss cross method (like a car tire). If you have to, use some moon gel or tape....but try not to!

Junior Member
hahahaha thanks again to everybody!
possibly im not explaining me correctly. I already know the theory of tuning, i was asking for some kind of tips like "dude, in my experience i think that Ludwig shells ring better at high tension" or "try lowering the resonant head" bla bla bla. Specific advises based on your experiences.
I also asked if simply i may not be getting the best the drums can give because poor tuning. Not that i dont know how does tuning work. I previously had a Pearl forum and knowing something about tuning was very important to make that set respond good.

EDIT: thanks gitei, ill check Jeff Ocheltree!!


Platinum Member
What heads did you have on your Forum kit? Let's start there. You may be used to "hearing" a particular tom sound, and the Luddies are a far cry from a Pearl Forum. I beat a Ludwig Vistalite kit for 25+ years. Almost always had Pins on the batter. Acrylic shells being "very live" sounding. Outside of Acrylic shells, however, I have very little use for Pins on a drum. A pro-level kit (like your Luddies) will sound good with just about any head on it. The goal then, being, arrive at the sound your "looking" for. My choice of heads (batter) for your kit would be Ambassador, Controlled Sound, Emperor, Powerstroke 3, Fiberskyn 3 (I'm a Remo guy). All those heads can...and will...sound great. Just maybe not the sound "you" want. Like the Jeff Ocheltree video, I usually tune my reso. head higher than my batter. Much like the Jeff Ocheltree video, I drove a 26, 15, 16, 18 Ludwig kit, for a number of years (6 ply clear maple). Experiment with tape, t-shirt material, felt, whatever. Your stock Ludwig heads (2 ply) are much like Emperor or G2 heads, so going there is kinda moot (you're already there). Going Ambassador is gonna open up your sound even more, which is why I suggested the P3, going in the direction of "less overtone". All a P3 is, is a Ambassador head with a built on ritchie ring. If you're a DIY guy, you can make one, and see if that's the sound you want. The Ocheltree video is great, in the way it expresses drum tuning as an "art", rather than a "science".


Platinum Member
I've owned a few classic maple kits now and still play my small kit everyday. They don't have any special tuning fact I've found them easier to tune than other drums I've had.

Mine definitely have a sweet spot that they "like" to be tuned at. I can usually achieve this in just a couple minutes by tuning up a little too high...then loosening the tension all around, until they sing out nice and clear.

You'll know it when you hit it, I guess.

I usually use coated ambassadors on top, clear on bottom...but just switched out my batters for clear emperors again. I have a powerstroke 3 on the kick batter and a coated ambassador in front...the kick sounds beautiful.


Junior Member
Got me a '63 ludwig with a steel 400 snare, not a bad hand-me-down, some might say!

I cranked the 13" 'till she sang like an angel, and the 16" is pretty low so it growls like a bulldog. Keep the batter & reso heads at equal pitch on each drum (except the snare), that's where the sweet spot is for singing drums.