60s Ludwig Downbeat in Blue Sparkle

Today, we are taking a look at my 3-piece 1965/66 Ludwig Downbeat in Blue Sparkle.

The serial numbers of the toms date ‘65 and the bass drum dates ‘66 according to online records. I was told upon purchase from Badges Drum Shop that these came as one set from a single owner. The toms were likely manufactured near the end of ‘65 and the bass drum in early ‘66 before the kit was first sold.

The original owner passed and his wife sold these to Badges prior to me picking them up. There’s something special about knowing a drum kit’s origin and who may have played them, especially considering a drum’s history isn’t always known. The moment I saw these in the shop and sat down behind them – I was hooked!

Most famously, in 1964 Ringo Starr played a Downbeat kit on the Ed Sullivan show which was a huge turning point for Ludwig drums at the time.

If you are interested in purchasing a similar kit or just curious about this era of Downbeats, I’ve put together information to help you learn more below.

But first… let’s hear these vintage Ludwig drums in action! 

The snare being played is a Yamaha 13″ x 6.5″ Steve Jordan Signature snare – one of my personal favorites.

Downbeat Sizes & Features

  • 8” x 12” rack tom with internal muffler
  • 14” x 14” floor tom with internal muffler
  • 14” x 20” bass drum with original Ludwig resonant head, tom mount & cymbal arm

Drum Shells

  • Ludwig downbeats from the 60s were known for their 3 ply build using 2 mahogany plies and 1 poplar core. (M P M)
  • These drums also include 1” maple reinforcement rings with 45 degree bearing edges.
  • The interior of the shells are painted white which was common during this era of Ludwig and is another great way of knowing when the drums were built.

Serial Numbers & Badges

  • All 3 drums have the 2nd iteration Keystone badge with serial number. The original keystone badge from ‘60 – ’63 didn’t include a serial number. This is another great way of knowing the era of a vintage Ludwig kit.
  • Serial numbers
    • Rack tom: #254109
    • Floor tom: #254382
    • Bass Drum: #287322

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