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|Founded||1909 (1909) in Chicago |
|Founder||William F. & Theobald Ludwig |
|Products||Drum kits and hardware, marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones, bar chimes|
Products manufactured by Ludwig include drum kits and hardware. The company also commercialises other percussion instruments (from the Musser Mallet Company acquired in 1965) such as marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones and bar chimes through its parent company Conn-Selmer.
The Ludwig Drum Company was established in 1909 by William F. & Theobald Ludwig, sons of a German immigrant to the United States. William Jr. had been a professional drummer, playing with circuses and touring vaudeville shows, along with the occasional skating-rink gig. Since this work was irregular, he and his brother, Theobald, opened a drum shop in Chicago; they called it Ludwig & Ludwig. The company started with a concept for the design and manufacture of a functional bass drum pedal.
The company added new products to its catalog, such as snare drums and timpani, in 1916. In 1917, Ludwig signed a deal to build rope drums[clarification needed] to support World War I. Theobald Ludwig died in 1918, and William continued on his own. By 1923, the factory was the largest drum manufacturer in the world, employing 240 workers.
In the late 1920s, the company was sold to the C.G. Conn instrument company. William Ludwig stayed on to run the company for Conn (which also owned the Leedy Drum Co. at this time). Eventually, William Ludwig decided to leave Conn and start a new company of his own. He was unable to use the Ludwig name since that trademark now belonged to Conn who continued to market Ludwig & Ludwig drums.
In 1937, William bought a factory building and started The WFL Drum Company (his initials). The company continued producing drums at a small scale for the duration of World War II, but William got back to the idea of making the company a large drum manufacturer after the armistice. WFL was a competitor with Ludwig and Ludwig. Conn combined their two drum brands into one in the early 1950s, forming Leedy & Ludwig, and then decided to quit the drum business altogether. In 1955, William and his son Bill Jr. were able to buy the Ludwig trademark back from Conn, and over the next few years their company and its products transitioned from the WFL brand to being called "Ludwig" again.
Despite initial success, Ludwig's global breakthrough would occur February 9, 1964, when The Beatles made their historic American TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Ludwig logo, displayed on the front of Ringo Starr's bass drum, could be seen by the television audience of about seventy-three million people. As it happens, Starr chose that brand upon joining the band simply because he liked the oyster pearl black color of the drum kit he chose.
[Ringo Starr] put our name on the front of his bass drum head ... [because] he was so proud that he had an imported drum set from America, especially from a famous company like Ludwig, that at the time of purchase he insisted on having the Ludwig name painted on the front of the head!— William Ludwig's grandson
The publicity resulted in Ludwig's sales doubling quickly to $13 million, which prompted production to increase to a 24/7 production as the company became the foremost drum manufacturer in North America for twenty years.
Ludwig acquired the "Musser Mallet Company", a manufacturer of xylophones, marimbas and vibraphones, in 1965. Ludwig was a strong presence in the marching drum market. Their drums along with their Slingerland rivals. During the 1970s, Ludwig's “Challenger” line of snare drums offered sophisticated tuning and strong build quality. Ludwig drums were used by many leading drum and bugle corp.
On 4 November 1981, William F Ludwig II sold the business to the Selmer Company (now Conn-Selmer). Selmer closed the Damen Avenue factory in the ensuing years and moved the drum production business to Monroe, North Carolina, in 1984. In 2002, Ludwig merged with Conn-Selmer, becoming a brand of Conn-Selmer, Inc..
- Richard "Pistol" Allen (The Funk Brothers)
- Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly & The Crickets)
- Carmine Appice
- Mick Avory (The Kinks)
- Ginger Baker
- Derek Ballard (A Band Called O)
- Danny Barcelona (Louie Armstrong)
- Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull)
- Carlton Barrett (Bob Marley & The Wailers)
- Frank Beard (ZZ Top)
- Fred Below
- Pete Best
- Hal Blaine
- Jason Bonham
- John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
- Cindy Blackman (Lenny Kravitz)
- Don Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad)
- Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, Earthworks)
- Tony Buck
- Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull)
- Clive Burr (Iron Maiden)
- Larry Bunker
- Jim Capaldi (Traffic)
- Eric Carr (KISS)
- Nameless Ghoul (Ghost)
- Luis Cardenas (Renegade)
- Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick)
- Patrick Carney (The Black Keys)
- Karen Carpenter
- Vinnie Colaiuta
- John Cowsill (Cowsills, Beach Boys)
- Mark Craney (Jethro Tull)
- Peter Criss (KISS)
- Dino Danelli (Young Rascals)
- John Densmore (The Doors)
- Michael Derosier (Heart)
- Bobby Elliott (The Hollies)
- Gregg Errico (Sly & The Family Stone)
- Rob Finch (Elemental Joe)
- Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)
- James Gadson
- Charlie Hall (The War on Drugs)
- Roy Haynes
- Don Henley (The Eagles)
- Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil)
- Barry Jenkins (musician) (The Animals)
- Jimmy Johnson, Jr. (Duke Ellington Orchestra)
- Papa Jo Jones
- Kenney Jones (Small Faces / Faces)
- Uriel Jones (The Funk Brothers)
- Brian Keenan (Chambers Brothers)
- Joey Kramer (Aerosmith)
- Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead)
- Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots)
- Gary Lewis (...and the Playboys)
- Stan Levey
- Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)
- Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden)
- Jim McCarty (Yardbirds)
- Rob Minnig (The Ocean Blue)
- Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
- Keith Moon (The Who)
- Joe Morello
- Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes)
- Steve Negus (Saga)
- Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls)
- Ian Paice (Deep Purple)
- Carl Palmer
- Kevin Parker (Tame Impala)
- Melvin Parker (James Brown)
- Neil Peart (Rush)
- Cozy Powell (Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow)
- Questlove (The Roots)
- Marky Ramone (Ramones)
- Buddy Rich
- Max Roach
- Ed Shaughnessy
- Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie)
- Mike "Smitty" Smith (Paul Revere & The Raiders)
- John "Jabo" Starks (James Brown)
- Eric Slick (Dr. Dog)
- Ringo Starr (The Beatles)
- Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown)
- Roger Taylor (Queen)
- Ed Thigpen
- Mick Tucker (Sweet)
- Alex Van Halen (Van Halen)
- Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
- Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones)
- Sandy West (The Runaways)
- Max Weinberg (Bruce Springsteen)
- Alan White (Yes, Plastic Ono Band)
- Andy White
- Woody Woodmansey (The Spiders from Mars)
- Meg White (The White Stripes)
- Tré Cool (Green Day)
- Danny Wagner (Greta Van Fleet)
- Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts)
- Omar Abi Hachem
- "The 1960s" at Vintage Ludwig Drums
- ""The Story Behind Ringo's Drums" by Charlie West". Archived from the original on 2019-07-27. Retrieved 2014-11-13.
- Mallet instruments on Conn-Selmer website
- Our brands on Conn-Selmer website, 11 Nov 2019
- "Ludwig". Our Brands. Conn-Selmer, Inc. Archived from the original on 2016-08-27. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- "The origins of Ludwig drums" on The Chicago Reader
- "Ludwig on Conn-Selmer website". Archived from the original on 2014-11-20. Retrieved 2014-11-13.
- "Makers Alphabetically". vintagebanjomaker.com. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- "The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964" on Ed Sullivan website
- "The Beatles’ first Ed Sullivan Show" on The Beatles Bible
- O'Reilly, Terry. "Bookmarks 2016". Under the Influence. CBC News. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- Selmer's History, 7 Dec 2011
- About: 2000-2009 on Ludwig website
- "Musser". Our Brands. Conn-Selmer. Archived from the original on 2017-10-05. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
- Artists on Ludwig website
- "A Century of the most famous names" on Ludwig website Archived 2014-11-21 at the Wayback Machine
- "Carmine Appice, an exclusive interview", Glide Magazine, 8 Jul 2013
- Drum set up on John Bonham website
- "10 Ways To Sound Like John Bonham" by John Natellion Drum Magazine, Nov 2008
- "Bill Bruford". www.billbruford.com. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
- Official site
- NAMM Oral History Interview with William F Ludwig II July 9, 2002
- NAMM Oral History Interview with William F. Ludwig III January 16, 2009
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