I got this somewhat mysterious call on Monday. Ron said to me from across the office “There’s some lady on the phone for you. She wants to talk to you about a drum set.”
I picked up the line. “Hello?”
“Mac from Northern Kingdom gave me your name. He said you might be interested in an old Ludwig drum set. I have one. I need to move, and I don’t have a storage location anymore. I need to get rid of it.”
“OK,” I answered, “could you tell me more about it?”
“It’s black.” (For you non-drummers out there, this offers no clue. Every company made black drums.) “A friend of mine told me it was from the ’60s.”
“Does it have a badge on it?”
“Yes. It’s a silver triangle.”
“Does it say “Educator” on the bade? Or maybe “Standard“?”
“No. It says “Ludwig.”
“Is it clear wood on the inside, or does it have some granite flake paint?”
OK, none of this is making sense to me. To my knowledge, the Educator and Standard badges were the only triangular silver badges Ludwig used. In the ’60s, they would have had a Keystone badge. In the ’70s, they would have had the B/O (or blue and olive) parallelogram badge. She was adamant they weren’t blue and olive. Maybe they had the Rocker badge. It was silver, sorta, but not triangular. And, if they were Rockers, I would have expected the Granitone paint on the inside.
“How much are you asking?”
“Make me an offer.”
“Well,” I said, “I can’t make you an offer until I see them. But if you say ‘I want $800,’ then I don’t need to come out at all.”
She said “I’ll take $50.”
I figured I should get out there, regardless.
Alas, it was not to be. When I got there, she did in fact have Ludwig drums. Well, she had two Ludwig drums. Two Ludwig drums with keystone badges that said “Chicago” on them. A badge that was from the mid ’80s, before Ludwig moved to North Carolina. And these two drums were 6″ and 8″ power sized concert toms! They were right out of a hair band drum kit. The rims were rusty. The shells were de-laminating. They were not so nice. There was no mounting hardware. Just the two drums.
She also had three other drum; drums that we know in the business as “asian firewood.” In the ’60s and ’70s, you could by drum sets at Sears, or in the JC Penny catalog. These drum sets were crudely made with inferior wood, bad chrome plating, and hardware that wouldn’t stand up. The drums I saw dreamed of being this nice. The drums she had were red sparkle, and they had been painted a kind of dark teal/green/black color. There was no floor tom.
I had to tell her “Thank you for calling me, but there’s nothing here I’m interested in.” Not even for $50.