Chuck Riebling of Ellicott City, Maryland, started putting this kit together in 2004 after purchasing four blank maple Keller shells. He then brought the drums—a 10-ply 7×13 snare, 6-ply 8×12 and 14×14 toms, and a 10-ply 14×20 bass drum—to vintage drum restorer Jack Lawton of the Lawton Drum Company to finish building the set and apply a ninetieth-anniversary Ludwig Top Hat wrap.

Riebling took advantage of leftover wrap that the restorer possessed. “Initially the Lawton Drum Company was commissioned by Ludwig to build ninety limited-edition Top Hat snare drums in conjunction with the company’s anniversary,” Riebling explains. “Lawton was then allowed to use the remaining wrap material to refinish other Ludwig drums or build new kits like mine—so long as Ludwig lugs were used on the drums.” Lawton was able to produce fewer than twenty complete sets with the leftover wrap. “Mine,” Riebling says, “was the last.

“I opted to install hidden air holes without badges to get a cleaner look that doesn’t detract from the finish,” Riebling adds. He completed the set with an LP cowbell, Sonor pedals, a Kelly SHU internal bass drum mic mount, Paiste Signature cymbals, and Remo heads on the snare and bass drum and Evans heads on the toms.

With a busy gig schedule, Riebling finds that the set works in a variety of situations. “I’m a freelance drummer,” he says, “and I’ve used the drums to play everything from small blues clubs to wedding gigs to rock shows at outdoor festivals. And the drumset absolutely sings. The smaller sizes result in a higher fundamental pitch that’s clean and punchy, easy to play, and works well for any style of music.”


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