Vintage Drums- "Fog of Time" Realization

csnow

Senior Member
Let me preface my comment with that I am a product of the 70's and 80's era (I was born in 1970). I grew up loving that Ludwig sound. Big kits with lots of cymbals was the rage back then. Last year, I decided that I would finally own the kit that I had always wanted but could never afford back in the early 80's - a 3 ply maple blue/olive badge Ludwigs. That classic 70's kit that every kid dreamed of.

I found an early 1976 set in Sky Blue Pearl w/6,8,10,12,13,14,16, and 18. I have enjoyed playing these drums, but I think the "fog of time" took it's toll. I love the kit and just thought they were the best sounding drum out there. Nothing could top those Luddies in my mind, especially not new import kits. I recently went into a Guitar Center and test drove a Chinese manufactured Mapex Saturn kit. My goodness, those drums sounded AMAZING. I have always held a bias against anything made in China with regards to quality. I still cannot get over how good these drums sounded. I came home and played my Ludwigs and it felt like a deflated balloon. Those Saturns were just that good that it mad my Luddies feel sloppy and dead. The Saturns were like a Z06 and my Luddies are a 69 Camaro. Both are cool cars but the Camaro doesn't have the linear acceleration, cornering, breaking, and modern conveniences like AC and cruise control. Both iconic ,but the Z06 is in another league while the 69 Camaro has that classic vibe and style.

I guess I am just curious if anyone else has let nostalgia influence their love of vintage drums. Without a doubt, I love those Ludwigs. However, I must be honest with myself as to why I love them. I know the round bearing edges, the imperfections, etc give them that classic Ludwig sound. I guess I just realized that "classic" sound isn't as amazing as I once thought it was. I love them because they are a memory. A tangible asset of a time gone by that is forever cherished.

Just an honest observation about my vintage quest. Oh and yes, I bought a set of Mapex Saturns today. I won't sell my Ludwigs - ever, but I have a new found respect for what I thought was Chinese garbage.

Here is an picture of my Ludwigs that I posted last year.


 

MJD

Silver Member
I am a product of the modern era (born 1987) but have a distinct preference for vintage Ludwig drums over most others. I cant really say it's nostalgia cause i wasnt there and never heard them in their heyday as it were. I used to be all about modern kits and in terms of hardware and general durability i think they are much better, however as a musician it's the sound that moves me and when i played a 3 ply Ludwig kit for the first time i found the drum sound that i had been chasing all my life. I never had any bias against chinese manufacturers or anything but for me i just couldnt get that sound out of the modern kits no matter how i tuned or what heads i used (though with coated vintage emperors i can get close now but this was before the advent of those). I think that your going for the Saturns is a similar situation, the sound has grabbed you. I really dont care about the age of the kits and in fact was kind of disappointed that my aesthetic turned out to be vintage oriented because they are so hard to come by, and the modern drums that do get that sound are super expensive. Your Ludwigs look amazing and i'm sure they have brought you endless pleasure throughout the years. But they do have a specific tonal world just as the saturns do and the important thing is that you found a kit that gives you the sound you were looking for. Tastes evolve over time, in ten years i have no idea if the vintage drums i'm playing will be the sound i want then. as tastes evolve different equipment that can achieve the sound goal of the moment is going to grab you. It may be vintage or modern, expensive or cheap . I have a groove percussion kit that is the perfect kit to get the sound i need for one of the bands i play with (sounds like a Jazz kit but with just enough punch, we're a rock/funk/?? band) and very few other kits work quite as well. Doesnt matter though because i get the sound. Enjoy your new drums, i'm sure you'll get hours of untold enjoyment from them but i wouldnt worry too much about the brand or where they were made or things like that. The sound takes precedence over all else
 

csnow

Senior Member
Good points. I still enjoy the sound of the Ludwig; and, your right, there is no other drums that have the 3ply thin shell sound. The reinforcement rings and crappy bearing edges give them a sound you will not get out of a modern drum. What struck me about the Saturns was the tonal quality. The had the warmth of the Ludwigs but were clean, not sloppy. It is hard to describe but there was depth, warmth, and purity but not sterile. I am not sure if it is the walnut/maple combo but it was a sound that grabbed me. It was the same grab that I had back in the 80's. I have played and owned other modern kits. I was a fan of Tama back in the day so I bought a set of birch StarClassic Perfromers. Too much focus and attack (very sterile sounding), I sold them. In my snobbery so to speak, I refused to even look at Mapex or any other Chinese brand. In my mind, it was inferior. Lesson learned, dont judge a drum by the country of origin....lol. The realization I have come to is that if I was able to turn back time to when I was 14 and had both kits to choose from, which one would I take home. As hard is it for me to admit it, it would be the Mapex Saturns over the Ludwigs.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
While I respect and acknowledge that modern drums do sound different and offer some advantages over my 60's Luddies,and 70's Tamas.......I think I'll stay with my old friends.

Modern stuff is nice,but it dosen't blow me away,like my vintage drums do.

Steve B
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If you please sir (Mr. csnow)...does that 10" 2 headed tom sport a 3 ply clear maple interior drum with the re rings? I was under the impression that a factory 2 headed 10" drum like that was never made. What a fantastic kit, in my new fav color, sky blue pearl.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
No "Fog of Time" here. In the 3 ply Ludwig category, I have a set in 26, 13, 16, 18. And an original Club Date set, 20, 12, 14. For a "different" vintage sound, I have my Gretsch Round Badges, in 20, 13, 16 (and an add-on 26). My early-modern era drums kits, a Vistalite kit in 24, 22, 13, 16 ..... and my Premier Baron set, 24, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18. And for modern drums, Yamaha Recording Customs in 22, 22, 12, 13, 14, 14, 16 ..... and my RMV set, 22, 8, 10, 12, 14.​
The "old" drums sound fabulous. So do the new ones. I like variety.​
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
The 6/8/10 are converted concert toms.Just look at the offset lugs.Ludwig didn't make a 6/8/10 double headed tom in the 70's

That era Ludwig concert or melodic toms as Ludwig called them,all used small classic lugs,mounted slightly lower on the shell,which is why the lugs are mounted offset.

Steve B
 

csnow

Senior Member
If you please sir (Mr. csnow)...does that 10" 2 headed tom sport a 3 ply clear maple interior drum with the re rings? I was under the impression that a factory 2 headed 10" drum like that was never made. What a fantastic kit, in my new fav color, sky blue pearl.
Tamadrm is correct, Ludwig never offered a dual headed drum below 13". Maybe a 12" but I think all toms were 13" and 14" prior to 1975. In 75 and 76 they offered the 6-12 in concert. However, they have the bearing edge cut from the factory and they are 3ply with reinforcement rings. Had Ludwig not wanted me to add heads, they shouldn't have cut the bearing edges :) I just did what they failed to do. Only downside is that the lugs had to be offset due to the depth.

Here is the 6"

 

csnow

Senior Member
No "Fog of Time" here. In the 3 ply Ludwig category, I have a set in 26, 13, 16, 18. And an original Club Date set, 20, 12, 14. For a "different" vintage sound, I have my Gretsch Round Badges, in 20, 13, 16 (and an add-on 26). My early-modern era drums kits, a Vistalite kit in 24, 22, 13, 16 ..... and my Premier Baron set, 24, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18. And for modern drums, Yamaha Recording Customs in 22, 22, 12, 13, 14, 14, 16 ..... and my RMV set, 22, 8, 10, 12, 14.​
The "old" drums sound fabulous. So do the new ones. I like variety.​
Trust me, I will never part with these drums. My only comment is that if I am honest with myself, I am attached to them more for sentimental reasons than the sound. They sound great, I just am blown away with that Saturn kit.

Tamadrm,

These drums will always be old friends. I am still a fan..... just more inner reflection that is all.
 
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