The Ludwig Curse

mikeo

Senior Member
my only observation is that it's easy to label one drum company when you get on a thread about one person's experience with that brand.... there are stories of the same nature on this forum about every other brand... if there is one thing about the internet that i don't like, is that there are just too many opinions... you read one thing one day and then the exact opposite the next... it makes it hard to know what is actually true and the norm... i'm sure the general rule is that ludwig produces very fine drums without problems, but since i can plug in to the internet, i can hear about one case that makes them sound like i was making them in my shed... i'm not trying to downplay zam's personal experience, it's just an observation in general
 

pieplaysdrums

Senior Member
You are correct Mikeo. Ludwig does produce fine, fine drums everyday. I own some. I'm also willing to bet that the floor tom in question still sounds great! It's just a shame that they have historically had a well known problem with quality control as to what is allowed to leave the factory.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Idaho is very dry and the humidity doesn't fluctuate much, either. I believe they just weren't made well, as another builder has pointed out here.
I think it's worth pointing out that very dry environments are difficult for all woods. If plies aren't glued correctly, & if the sheets have a significantly higher moisture content than the finished drum destination when assembled, then de-lamination can easily occur. In the same environment, solid shells can shrink & suffer minor splitting too, although that rarely equates to a sonic detriment. In very dry environments, we recommend regular application of teak oil, or any similar thin clear oil.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
If plies aren't glued correctly, & if the sheets have a significantly higher moisture content than the finished drum destination when assembled, then de-lamination can easily occur.
Re the plies, I believe Ludwig gets them to 6 or 8° humidity before putting them in the molds. Will try to verify that while in Monroe.

Bermuda
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Re the plies, I believe Ludwig gets them to 6 or 8° humidity before putting them in the molds. Will try to verify that while in Monroe.

Bermuda
Cheers Jon. That wasn't a Ludwig specific comment, it was a general observation that applies to everyone. 6-8% is very low. No matter how low the humidity is in the wood at the point of manufacture, the wood will equalise to the ambient humidity during use over time.

Generally, drum builders have quite a task to ensure that shells are well suited to a wide range of environments. High humidity coupled with high temperature is challenging, as is low humidity. Any instrument moving rapidly from high to low humidity is a big issue.

Multiple ply shells are best suited to varying environments, mainly because they are by far the most processed of constructions. Many are so highly processed, the finished material has few of the original wood properties left. In terms of stability, that's a good thing. Ludwig's bladder mould method offers a slightly less processed result than most, because they don't use very high compression. Sonically, that has some benefits, but it also means they're slightly more reliant on getting everything perfectly correct.

I'm not saying any of this has a direct bearing on Zambizzi's drums, but it's always good to factor in variables when considering anything that starts life as a natural material.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
You are correct Mikeo. Ludwig does produce fine, fine drums everyday. I own some. I'm also willing to bet that the floor tom in question still sounds great! It's just a shame that they have historically had a well known problem with quality control as to what is allowed to leave the factory.
Not disputing quality issues, but note that the floor tom in question is 3+ years old, & it was appeared to be fine until just recently.
So what the heck happened between the manufacturing of it in 2009, and a week ago?
It's just odd.

Is it "just one of those things"?

I know Zam's issues well. I also helped in getting that specifically ordered kit looked over, that ended up also having issues.
I felt pretty bad when the kit came, and it was another disappointment.
Maybe it was the QC team at the time that was there? I don't know, but that person has been gone a little while now.

There has been other companies with documented issues, and "boycots" started against one just recently. I have heard "horror stories" about that company too, and a few other companies as well. It's not just Ludwig like other people have said.

We're a pretty small group here on DWorld, and out of the thousands of kits made/sold each year by anyone, we hear about bad stuff from only a small handful of forum members.
Not excusing any company from serious defects, they should be fixed or replaced.

It's just interesting to me, that for 30+ years I have used Ludwig drums, and have been buying new Ludwig drums for over 20.
Many individual drums in one color (Sable Black w/long lugs), over the course of several years (back when they supposedly really sucked) and a Red Sparkle kit in '07, and I've added drums in RS in the 5 years since.

I haven't had quality issues at all. No bad bass drum hoops (I have 6 BD's), no out of round drums, no bad wraps, no bad heads, no stripped lug screws, or any bad parts or hardware. No bad snares (7 of my 10 are Ludwig)....

I added on a Sable Black 16" floor tom about 8 years (or more) after I bought the original kit (Jan '90).
It wasn't as Black as my others, so I sent it back, no problem.
They returned it in just under 2 weeks, and it was great.
Matched just right. That was my only "problem". The drum itself was fine--still is, it was just a slight color mis-match.

Now, how can I never have an issue, and someone else has a lot of problems??
Not that I want issues if I buy anything else!!
Tons of people buy DW's and never have an issue, and one guy here has a bad experience and the whole company sucks, and there's an uproar. It's great that people "came together" and supported a fellow drummer, but it was kinda silly the way things went overboard for a bit.

As to a new/next kit for Zam, I like the Brooklyn suggestion, but I also like Bermuda's mention of Pork Pie.
PP are some seriously well built drums. Awesome finishes too. They sound fantastic.
 

mikeo

Senior Member
when i used to be a serious guitar player, i purchased a hand made classical once... these kind of guitars have to be kept in a more humid environment to prevent drying out... our summers here are quite humid so there is no problem.. however as winter came and it dried out i neglected to keep the humidor filled up in the case... long story short, crack... guess what?... tough luck!... comes with the territory with those kind of instruments... i had it fixed and moved on... guitar still sounded perfect... i think we expect too much... especially on instruments that are aging
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I am certain that there are many other "problem" drums that arrive at the dealers brand new and no one outside of the dealers and manufacturers knows anything about it. I'll always hold my tongue unless I'm not able to get satisfaction from the dealer or manufacturer, and I believe the people that post their concerns over their kits do the very same, at least I hope so.

Dennis
 

Bull

Gold Member
My Ludwigs are only a year old and I haven't had any issues. I am now dreading my next head change!
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
zambizzi, I just got my Ludwig rack tom back from Pork Pie today. Bill re-edged it and it sounds incredible. It always sounded good at fairly high tunings but was very hard to tune lower. Checking the edges, I found the top was just SLIGHTLY uneven. It was really difficult to even tell. But the Pork Pie edge appears perfect - a 45 with a slight roundover outside. The Ludwig shell has no voids or anything, so Bill's edge work came out beautifully. I highly recommend him for re-edging, or getting a whole kit if you can afford it.

And Larry, if you are reading this - I would also recommend Pork Pie for your vintage Luddies. I think you would be happy!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I returned from Ludwig last night, a whirlwind couple of days with more time spent in the air than in a bed. And what I have to report isn't intended to change Zambizzi's mind, it's just sort of an update for those who'd like to know what Ludwig is thinking these days, and if they know or care that people are talking about them, and it's not all good.

Well, they've known for a while, and they definitely care. Changes and remedies have been slow in implementation, but there are many new policies, attitudes, and checking and re-checking procedures put in place during the last 6 months or so. Quality control people and new management have been added, and others deemed to be less than stellar in a particular job have been re-assigned, or simply fired.

Ludwig never rested on their laurels, although they're painfully aware (now) that it looked that way. Ludwig always cared, and again, they know the perception is that they stopped. They're trying harder than ever to overcome these perceptions, complete and ship orders faster, turn out product that's better the first time around, and quickly remedy problems and their causes so there are fewer issues of the kind we've all heard about.

The dealer summit I attended was much more than just a day at the factory to get dealers fired up. It was a true round-table discussion about what's right and wrong with Ludwig, and how it can and will be better. No holds barred, no punches pulled, and I got my 2¢ in on a few things as well. I could repeat the kind of plans & programs they've put in place already, but I don't think it's my place to repeat exactly what I learned there. It's so much corporate speak anyway, but they're very serious about it. Suffice to say, I'm very impressed, proud really, that they've made and are continuing to make changes. The look and attitude of the factory are noticeably different than when I visited just 8 months ago. Noticeably better, I should say.

Anyway, I know some of you will think I'm shilling for Ludwig, or that they've asked me to say something. I'm not, and they didn't. I just think it's important for drummers to know that Ludwig is back on track, and the train is picking up speed. And no, nobody said that in the meetings, I just cooked that up. I know Zam's had more than his share of issues with product, and has rightfully made up his mind. But if anyone is on the fence about buying new Ludwig drums because of the complaints from people in the forums, please consider that the product coming from Monroe now is better than it's ever been. They have really stepped up their game, and like I said, I'm very proud of them, and prouder than ever to be an endorser.

Yeah, I know this reads kinda funny, but it's the only way I convey what I've just seen.

Bermuda
 

mikeo

Senior Member
interesting post Bermuda.. i know i have recently been impressed with my purchase of the new ludwig club date... it is a noticeable improvement over my gretsch club jazz..... so i have no concern that when i purchase the classic maple i am planning on getting hopefully this time next year, that it will be a professional instrument i can depend on... you can't formulate a correct opinion about things in these types of environments... there is too much extremism... personally, and i hope zambizzi does not take offence, i feel from what i see in the picture, and the kit not being brand new, that his statement of the drum being garbage is way over the top... sorry
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, I know this reads kinda funny, but it's the only way I convey what I've just seen.

Bermuda
I think everyone here can take your feelings as sincere Jon. I'm sure you're more than well versed in separating corporate BS from what you feel when on the ground, & as a frequent visitor to the plant, you're in a position to gauge the vibe for yourself. Ludwig have probably the greatest legacy brand power out there. It's a gift that deserves upholding, & the current custodians need to take that very seriously. It's good that they recognise there's been issues, & they're now addressing those. The first step is to admit that you took your eye off the ball. Now they're over that hurdle, I hope they run with it, it sounds like they're making a good start :)
 

Wood Man

Junior Member
Getting ready to go play my 1968 Ludwigs. Identical to what Michael Shrieve played at Woodstock with Santana. I thank my lucky stars for that day in 1982 at the old Pro Percussion in Nashville when I saw these babies, went to the ATM and came back and got 'em. I'll put them up against anything that's ever been made. Yes, I am a Ludwig homer. Peace, Wood Man
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
As to a new/next kit for Zam, I like the Brooklyn suggestion, but I also like Bermuda's mention of Pork Pie.
PP are some seriously well built drums. Awesome finishes too. They sound fantastic.
Putting a Brooklyn "rock" kit on layaway, today! I'm sure Pork Pie is awesome, but I'm looking for distinct tones...and to my ears, Ludwig and Gretsch have an identifiable character that other drums just don't have.

I'll always hold my tongue unless I'm not able to get satisfaction from the dealer or manufacturer, and I believe the people that post their concerns over their kits do the very same, at least I hope so.

Dennis
you can't formulate a correct opinion about things in these types of environments... there is too much extremism... personally, and i hope zambizzi does not take offence, i feel from what i see in the picture, and the kit not being brand new, that his statement of the drum being garbage is way over the top... sorry
None taken, I just think you're wrong. It's not way over the top to call it garbage, either. It IS garbage. The drum went from "fine" to "falling apart" in a year...where will it be next year? Value is subjective and that's my assessment. If you like it as-is, would you like to buy this kit for $2000? That's my asking price, once the floor tom replacement arrives.

I think you're way off. We as individuals have to hold manufacturers accountable for shoddy work, when it happens. Most of us work hard for every dollar we earn and I certainly expect to get what I paid for, every time. The internet provides a way for us to make a direct impact on poor quality control in our favorite products, which makes them either fail (in which case, they likely deserved it, from inaction) or improve, at a much faster pace than ever. We can vote in elections and always get screwed, but one place where we can vote and make a difference every time, is in the market. If you don't speak up and call someone on a bad product, you're a fool. Look no further than the fact that Bermuda is here interacting with us, and is able to convey information directly from the Ludwig factory, reassuring us all that we're not being ignored. The next time someone orders a Ludwig kit, the quality will be much improved over the experience that I've had, because I wasn't afraid to speak my mind in the court of public opinion.

I'm not going to refrain from pointing out obvious and unacceptable flaws in my high-end, custom made drums, because I might offend the sensibilities of someone at Ludwig...or anyone else for that matter. It's the responsibility of the consumer to do the research and balance opinions in their own minds...good and bad.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I returned from Ludwig last night, a whirlwind couple of days with more time spent in the air than in a bed. And what I have to report isn't intended to change Zambizzi's mind, it's just sort of an update for those who'd like to know what Ludwig is thinking these days, and if they know or care that people are talking about them, and it's not all good.

Well, they've known for a while, and they definitely care. Changes and remedies have been slow in implementation, but there are many new policies, attitudes, and checking and re-checking procedures put in place during the last 6 months or so. Quality control people and new management have been added, and others deemed to be less than stellar in a particular job have been re-assigned, or simply fired.

Ludwig never rested on their laurels, although they're painfully aware (now) that it looked that way. Ludwig always cared, and again, they know the perception is that they stopped. They're trying harder than ever to overcome these perceptions, complete and ship orders faster, turn out product that's better the first time around, and quickly remedy problems and their causes so there are fewer issues of the kind we've all heard about.

The dealer summit I attended was much more than just a day at the factory to get dealers fired up. It was a true round-table discussion about what's right and wrong with Ludwig, and how it can and will be better. No holds barred, no punches pulled, and I got my 2¢ in on a few things as well. I could repeat the kind of plans & programs they've put in place already, but I don't think it's my place to repeat exactly what I learned there. It's so much corporate speak anyway, but they're very serious about it. Suffice to say, I'm very impressed, proud really, that they've made and are continuing to make changes. The look and attitude of the factory are noticeably different than when I visited just 8 months ago. Noticeably better, I should say.

Anyway, I know some of you will think I'm shilling for Ludwig, or that they've asked me to say something. I'm not, and they didn't. I just think it's important for drummers to know that Ludwig is back on track, and the train is picking up speed. And no, nobody said that in the meetings, I just cooked that up. I know Zam's had more than his share of issues with product, and has rightfully made up his mind. But if anyone is on the fence about buying new Ludwig drums because of the complaints from people in the forums, please consider that the product coming from Monroe now is better than it's ever been. They have really stepped up their game, and like I said, I'm very proud of them, and prouder than ever to be an endorser.

Yeah, I know this reads kinda funny, but it's the only way I convey what I've just seen.

Bermuda
Thanks for taking the time, Bermuda. I think it's great that they're taking the necessary steps to improve quality and haven't ignored their consumers. I'm keeping one of my two kits, but I'm afraid that I'd never be willing to order from them again. However, they're the most fantastic sounding drums on the market, like I've said many times...and I would encourage anyone to check them out, if they're indeed stepping up their quality game. :)
 

mikeo

Senior Member
if i ordered that kit brand new and it cost two grand or more, and it arrived with a separation, then yeah for sure, that's on them and it needs to be replaced... i just wonder how far reaching does it go... time, and exchanging hands from different owners... i don't know... i'm just too much of a do it yourself kind of guy... i just get overwhelmed at the variety of extreme opinions i see on the internet... i think what tainted this for me was that whole dw boycott thread awhile back... i just find the truth is hard to decipher when any person can say anything without knowing them or really what happened... perhaps in your case, zam, you just had a run of bad luck... if anything you could have been instrumental in creating a new level in quality control at ludwig that will pay off for me in the future... thanks!
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Any news from Ludwig?
Nothing yet. The dealer sent my photos to his rep but that rep never forwarded them on, or something like that. The next guy up the chain just got wind of it Friday and hadn't responded by end of biz. I guess we'll see what next week brings. The dealer has been great, at least.
 
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