Greeting Vintage Drum Lovers!
Hope everyone is enjoying Summer 2016 as it’s winding near the end and school begins again soon. This installment of Vintage Happiness is one of my earliest finds and a kit that has a great history to them. They belonged to a Chicago high school student many years back in the late 60s. The set was bought by the original owner’s parents for him right off the floor of the Ludwig factory showroom as they lived in the very same neighborhood - So a floor model, if you will. He had taken up drumming in the school band his parents fully supported his musical endeavors.
However, after high school the drums just went up in the attic of his parent’s home and were basically forgotten. In 2009 he is back in Chicago after they passed away and is cleaning out the old house and finds his old set. He takes them back to L.A .where he now lives and GIVES them to his neighbor (a guitar collector & Luthier).
Fast forward another two years and this person now lives within five minutes of me in San Diego. A quick list on CL and within a half hour I am there and seal the deal, as he wanted this kit to go to someone who would appreciate them and not flip them. This is a true story. I am still friends with this person and was able to get this story first hand as well.
What we have is a 1967 Super Classic set in sparkling Blue Pearl in pristine almost NOS condition. All drums dated Aug 2 1967. The drums sat in the parent’s attic for 40+ years then in storage again until I had them (and always in cases). There is no fade, rust, pitting, or issues of any kind. The entire kit has all original heads and came with all correct hardware; Speed King pedal, throne, HH stand, Paiste Standard Ludwig HH cymbals, L cymbal arm. Since he was a student at the time, he received the matching blue Pioneer 5x14 six lug student snare drum set up with the case, brushes, snare stand, sticks & student books instead of the usual Supraphonic. Sizes are the standard 14x22 BD, 9x13 tom and 16x16 floor tom.
I had mentioned above that this was a floor model at the Ludwig factory. I found this to be quite interesting to be able to buy back then as such. But when I took the kit apart to smell the interiors (wink ;-) and check the date stamps, I discovered the initials BL in the drums. I could not help myself, so I reached out to Bill Ludwig III and explained what I had and the story. He was kind to get back to me and told me that it was possible this set belonged to him at some point when he was younger. He explained that he had so many sets as his disposal the only way to tell what was his was by putting his initials in the drums. When he was done with a kit, it was sold on the showroom floor of the factory.
As you can imagine, the drums sound amazing, as you would expect a Super Classic kit should. I’ve used the set for an album recording so far but it has not seen a live show.. yet. I always try to find the history of the drums that make their way into my collection, as it is part of the instruments life. This is exactly why I do that. You never know who may have played that beautiful set of vintage drums before you. Or where it’s been, or what kind of music it has participated in making. I like to think this kit may have had The Chief or even the man WFL sit behind it at one point. I’ll never really know. And that is one reason I love playing vintage drums.
Until next time, PLAY those drums!!