For over a hundred years, drummers have known and trusted drums bearing the names William F. Ludwig, Ludwig & Ludwig, and WFL. Quality has always been associated with products built under the watchful eyes of the Ludwig men. Now a third-generation Ludwig drum maker, Bill Ludwig III, has officially entered the market with WFLIII Drums.
Specializing in high-quality wood and metal snares, the new company aims to not only live up to the standards set by the Ludwig family in the past, but to raise the bar. For this review, WFLIII sent us two 6.5×14 snares to check out—a wood Classic series model and a metal Signature series. (Models with 5″-deep shells are also available.) The hardware is available in chrome, gold, black, and red finishes. The drums share certain design aspects: hoops are 2.3 mm solid steel, amenities include 20-strand German wires etched with the WFLIII logo and a Trick GS007 multi-step strainer, and bearing edges are cut to forty-five degrees. All WFLIII snares feature ten lugs engraved with the company’s “III” logo. Utilizing a twist on an old idea, the threading is built into the lug casing, which allows for a strong connection between the tension rod and the lug while removing the possibility of internal parts loosening and rattling over time.
The Signature series metal snare comes in a white sparkle finish. The shell is made from heavy 1/8″ aluminum, and the inside is finished to match the outside. The snare beds are laser cut, and so is the unique air vent, which is cut in the shape of the “III” logo. The sound of this drum is fat, punchy, and full.
The Classic series wood drum features a beautiful 3-ply shell. WFLIII went back to an older shell design for this drum, with a ply of poplar sandwiched between plies of maple. This drum had a controlled tone that’s warm and fat yet projects very well with a big sound. A 5-ply mahogany version is also available, and both models come with steam-bent maple reinforcement hoops.
I found that both drums fit nicely in many styles of music. They sounded comfortable at different tunings, but I really liked their tones in the mid to lower registers, where they produced punchy, vintage-like sounds. Snare sensitivity was excellent, as both drums responded well to even a light finger touch.
WFLIII snares are high-quality, American-made drums that are deserving of the legacy that inspired them. By combining different shell types with the various hardware options, you can create a custom drum to complement almost any configuration. Check them out at www.wfliiidrums.com.