The Gold Sparkle Ludwigs

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve really stopped using this site for my occasional postings, and instead I’m mostly posting on Facebook ( I wish there was a way for me to move all my content from there to here, but alas every way I’ve tried thus far has failed.

Facebook used to have a “notes” section, where you could post longer musings–stuff longer than “I had fish for dinner.” I wrote a note on this day in 2014 detailing my purchase of the #goldsparkleludwigs. I’m leaving that note here now for posterity.

In 2012, an investment of mine paid off, and I decided to cash in. I was left with enough money to buy myself a little present. I decided I wanted a lifetime gift—something I could look at and say “Remember when…” I decided a new drum set would make sense.

I wasn’t rich off this deal. I had about $2000. That’s a nice drum set, but it’s pretty easy to spend two grand. But, if I was careful, I could probably get something worthwhile. I thought about the music I play, and what drums I already own. I decided I wanted a maple kit, as maple’s a good wood for all kinds of music. I decided I wanted “traditional” depths; no “power” toms. And, if I could get something that would cover both jazz and rock, I wouldn’t have to keep switching kits depending on what kind of gig I had.

After looking around, and asking for some advice at, I decided a Ludwig Classic Maple was the answer. A 20” bass drum is right between an 18” jazz kit, and a 22” rock kit. A 12” rack tom works for rock and jazz. Most jazz sets come with a 14” floor tom, and most rock sets have a 16” floor. So, like the bass drum, I decided to play the middle ground and get a 15.”

Next up was color. Since I was looking for a kit I could play at all gigs, I couldn’t go too wild. But I didn’t want to be too understated either. Natural wood was out; a plastic covering was in order. Sparkles are timeless. Silver sparkle is nice, but not wild enough. Black sparkle? Nah. Black is too boring. How about gold sparkle? I’m a sucker for orange. Ludwig gold sparkle Classic Maple.

It was decided.

I called my friend Shane of Drum Center of Portsmouth, a Ludwig dealer. He gave me a quote, and he was within budget. I’m not sure why I didn’t just order. But I didn’t. And in the meantime…

While cruising the ebay listings, I found a gold sparkle Classic Maple Luddy. The guy selling it said he just got a deal with another drum company, and so he was selling his Ludwig kit. It had a 22” bass with FOUR toms: a 10”, a 12”, and 14” and 16” floor toms. Those tom diameters are fairly common “fusion” sizes, but this kit was different: no power depth toms! And it came with the matching snare AND a matching canister throne. The guy was even adding a tom stand and a snare stand to sweeten the deal. I watched the auction. It closed, and no one bid. I sent him a message. “If you’d take $1500 and include the shipping, I’ll take it.” I countered with $1500 and $50 shipping. Score! I bought it on 11/16/2012.

Only one thing wrong, though. A 22” bass is pretty big for small stages and for jazz. I wanted something smaller. At first, I thought I could use the 16” floor tom as a “jungle” bass drum. I’d add some spurs and a removable tom mount, put the drum on a bass riser (made specifically to turn floor toms into “bass” drums), and call it good. It took quite a while to find a bass drum riser that worked on a standard tom rim. And, I didn’t want to drill into the shell; I didn’t want to add any extra holes. More patience and watching ebay, and the right part came along. When it arrived, I tried it. It didn’t fit well on the 16” drum. And, it didn’t sound great. Too high in pitch, and too resonant. Bass drums in rock need thump; jazz has a little more life in the drum, but still not just a tom tom turned sideways. I would have to keep looking.

I continued to peruse ebay, waiting for an 18” Ludwig floor tom. I figured if I found something beat up, I could fix it, and recover it in gold sparkle so it would match. The problem was, lots of people were interested in 18” Ludwig floor toms. They would sell for $400 or so. I’d have to add another $100 to get the gold sparkle to make it match. That put me in budget, but I really didn’t want to spend that much for a used drum. And, I didn’t want to take a perfectly good drum, and ruin it. I needed a beat-up donor drum. The right one just didn’t come along.

After about a year passes, I think “Why don’t I just bite the bullet and buy new?” I called Shane at Drum Center NH again, and asked. “What’s a gold sparkle 18” floor tom from Ludwig cost?”

$499, shipped to me.

I waited a year looking for just the right drum so I could save $99? Forget it. “Shane, I’m in.”

So now it’s here.

All the gold sparkle drums a guy could possible need. I can run it as one stupid big kit with two rack toms and three floor toms, or run it as two separate kits: a 10”, 14” kit with 18” bass (like a traditional bop kit), or a 12”, 16” rock kit with a 22” bass.