Classic Maple Drumset
by Michael Dawson
Ludwig drums are widely regarded as the sound that defined rock ’n’ roll, thanks in large part to their close association with ’60s/’70s superstars like the Beatles’ Ringo Starr and Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. The company still makes kits that conjure those classic tones, within the vintage-spec 3-ply Legacy and acrylic Vistalite series, but it also offers some very powerful, distinct, and contemporary-sounding drums in the Classic Maple and Keystone lines. We reviewed the Keystone kit, which features 5-ply maple/oak shells with dual 45-degree bearing edges, in the December 2010 issue. Up this month is a beautiful Classic Maple outfit.
All Classic Maple drums feature 6 mm, 7-ply cross-laminated North American maple shells. The inner three plies have staggered grains (horizontal/vertical/horizontal). Twin-ply maple panels are then added to the inside and outside of the core and sealed in place using the company’s proprietary bladder molds and radio-frequency bonding system. The bearing edges are cut to 45 degrees and hand-sanded to a smooth, even surface. The result is a very strong and stable shell with a sharp attack, high sensitivity, and a wide tuning range. Ludwig describes Classic Maple drums as being ideal for large-scale touring and high-volume performances, featuring a big and open tone, extended resonance, and midrange projection.
The Classic Maple kit we were sent ($3,846) came with an 18×22 bass drum (no mount), 8×10 and 9×12 rack toms, and a 16×16 floor tom. Two tom arms are included to hang the rack toms from cymbal stands. The finish is high-gloss natural maple, and each drum is outfitted with Mini Classic lugs and classy cast-brass Keystone badges. The bass drum features new insulated claws and Elite telescoping spurs with retractable rubber feet and spikes.
The six-lug toms have triple-flange steel hoops and Ludwig WeatherMaster Heavy clear batter heads with Medium clear bottoms. The bass drum has a Power Collar batter, which is a clear 10 mil single-ply head with an outer tone ring. The vintage-style front head is a script-logo, smooth-white model.
The most significant update on new Classic Maple drumsets is the Atlas mount. This innovative piece of hardware, which debuted at this year’s Winter NAMM trade show, serves as a dual-purpose lug and universal mount. The Atlas attaches to the drum with the existing lug-casing holes, so no extra drilling is required to use it, and it doesn’t put additional strain on the shell, allowing for full, unrestricted tones.
For more on the Classic Maple drumset, check out the complete review in the October 2013 issue of Modern Drummer.