Greetings Vintage Drum Fans!
First, a VERY Happy 2019 to all the folks who take the time to read the articles here at NSMD. All the writers very much appreciate it. To start off 2019 I am going to feature the last set added to my collection in 2018 and it’s a very special set indeed. For this we go back to the year 1959.
This is a 1959 Ludwig Transition Badge Super Classic No. 980P Outfit in original Oyster Black Pearl with the not so often seen optional 14 x 14 FT. Once again many thanks to Steve Maxwell Vintage Drums for another off the chart kit. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Steve gets the GOOD stuff! This incredible time capsule arrived to me in pristine condition. It was just dirty from sitting in cases for decades. All it needed was some TLC.
Drums are dated as follows in red ink on the beautiful mahogany shells:
14 x 22 bass drum May 6 1959
9 x13 tom May 6 1959
5.5 x 14 snare July 22 1959
14 x 14 FT date is unreadable.
The first bunch of pictures is by Steve. Then what showed up. Then all cleaned up. The condition is really incredible and these are the kind of sets you dream of finding in this kind of condition. The original Oyster Black Pearl wrap is tucked into the plies in all the drums and original calfskin heads are still on the tom and bass drum. I’ve left the calfskin heads on the drums because they are in such good shape and I have never experienced playing with them before. So far so good as they can be a bit temperamental with changes in the temperature but I am enjoying the sound and vintage look very much.
As you can imagine, these drums sing! This is by far, my personal favorite era of Ludwig Drums. These are the shells of greatness. These mahogany shells have amazing tone, warmth & projection. Making this set even more special is the fact that the Transition Badge was used for such a short period of time (58-60) and the incredible optional 14x14 floor tom was ordered, as this kit is a born together set. All the drums match perfectly with zero flaws in the wrap. I am also the proud owner of the earliest known set in OBP from April 1956. You can read about that set as well here at NSMD. There is a difference in the wrap in the 3 plus years of manufacturing and I will be writing a special article on the beloved Oyster Black Pearl earliest examples later this year. I’ve used this set for several shows already and the drums sound amazing. I am truly honored to be the current curator of these amazing instruments. May 2019 bring you much Vintage Happiness!
Until next time, PLAY those drums!!