For most of my drumming life I’ve been hugely inspired by John Bonham. From the first time I heard Led Zeppelin, I was captivated by the power and finesse of his playing, and more importantly the sound of his drums and cymbals (which we’ll get to another time). Naturally, part of the sound is a result of Jimmy Page’s production, and we must remember that the largest contributor to the sound was his personal style. We cannot, however, overlook the importance of the drum sizes and that classic Ludwig sound.
For many years I’ve used a variety of drum sets (DW, Gretsch, PorkPie, Slingerland, etc) and I’ve always pursued that classic, wide-open, non-muffled drum sound, a la Art Blakey, Ian Paice, Earl Palmer, and of course Bonzo. And while I’ve always been able to make my kits sound great, and received many compliments from sound engineers both live and in studio, I always felt as though it was not quite the sound I was after.
So I finally got myself a custom Ludwig Classic Maple kit, built to Bonham’s specs, in beautiful Champagne Sparkle finish (sounds classy huh?) It should be noted that Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, who were both major influences on Bonham, used these sizes:
14″x26″ Bass Drum (w/Rail Consolette Mount)
10″x14″ Mounted Tom
16″x16″ Floor Tom
- 18″x16″ Floor Tom
I already own a beautiful Ludwig Blue Olive Badge Super Sensitive Symphonic Snare that I use with this kit, as well as various other snares. All lugs are classic Ludwig style, and I opted for the larger Keystone Badges, as well as newer keystone mounts for the mounted tom and floor tom legs(w/collar locks).
Right out of the box these drums sound amazing. They were already tuned in the way that I prefer with nice coated heads. The only change I made was one felt strip on the inside of both the batter and resonant bass drum heads. I noticed when I removed the bass drum head, I was able to take a look at how pristine the bearing edge was and the attention to detail that Ludwig puts into their manufacturing. The external heavy duty spurs on the bass drum give it the added support and keep it in place while still retaining a nice classic look, as does the updated heavy duty rail consolette mount for the mounted tom.
I opted for an internal muffler system for all three toms, as this is a classic option. And while I removed the mechanism from the mounted tom, I left it in place on both floor toms. Although these are very large drums and would be well at home in a loud hard rock/heavy metal setting, the real beauty of this kit is the consistent tonal range of each piece.
Overall, it is such a joy to move around this kit. Every time I sit behind it I get to hear the same sound I heard as a kid on those Led Zeppelin records, and that makes it worth 10 times the investment. I would highly recommend this kit to any drummer looking to get a classic sound.
- Haworth Music Brings Back the Beat With Ludwig Drums (virtual-strategy.com)
- My 813 religious cymbals: Rockin’ rev’s monster drum kit (metro.co.uk)