Ludwig 2002 Classic Maple Reviews
I acquired the set at Bill Schaeffer's Drum Shop in Flint, MI, special order. Kit was purchased special order. I paid approxiamately $2300 (USD) for drums and cases.
The finish on this kit is Gold Sparkle, which isn't listed as normally available on the Classic Maple kits (although it's available as a stock finish on the Birch kits). The finish work is stunning; simply incandescent, especially under stage lights, and well seamed. The sizes of the drums are as follows: 14x26" bass, 9x13" tom, 16x16" and 16x18" floor toms, and 5x14" maple snare drum. I refitted all of the toms with Remo Fiberskin Ambassador batters and clear Diplomat resonants. I left the stock heads on the snare and bass drums. Quite simply, these drums sound marvelous. I tune fairly high, and the size of the toms allow me to obtain a melodic, somewhat "sweet", warm, and resonant sound whilst maintaining an undercurrent of power, depth, and projection. The diamater of the bass drum lends a huge, resonant sound, while the relatively shallow depth endows the drum with a tight attack. Ludwig has always made beautiful snare drums, and this one is no exception; crisp, throaty, woody, warm, everything you would expect from a wooden Ludwig snare.
Although I am an staunch Ludwig devotee, there are only a few details that bother me about these drums. The major problem are the stock heads on the toms; quite frankly, they're not very good. A top-of-the-line kit should be stocked with top shelf heads, and the factory should use more discretion in head selection (ie, matching heavy weight heads on the top AND bottom of the toms).
Overall, the quality of the kit is very good. The shells are all round, the insides well sanded, bearing edges true (although some filler was obviously used to fill voids, a typical Ludwig practice, tsk tsk), and hardware sturdy. Again, though, Ludwig has come a LONG way since the quality control problems that have plagued them in the past and are building some nice drums (I own another set and love those as well).
The testimonials I received from fellow drummers and other musicians alike, especially the drummers who cannot tear themselves away from my kit once they take a drive, have been nothing but positive. Even those who have been "indoctrinated" by the DWs and Pearls of the world are very impressed by the sound, look, and quality of these drums. And, they're about a fraction of the price!!! I took these to a gig at a large bar and, unmiked, this kit sang, resonated, and projected right to the rear pool table (I had the bass player test them during soundcheck). This kit is excellent!!! I'm pondering purchasing a Fab Four Kit in Blue Sparkle or Black Oyster with an additional 16x18" floor tom. Wish me luck!!!MJAK
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