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Forenote: The first two means of indication, date stamp and serial number/badge style, are the two most accurate for identifying the correct year of production.
Throughout a drum’s life, it may be refinished, re-edged, and re-housed in hardware not from the drum’s era, but the date stamp and serial number will serve as a northern star to correct identification.
The lion’s share of vintage Ludwig drums available on the market hail from the company’s golden years of the '60s, '70s, and early '80s.
The fifty years from Ludwig’s inception in 1909 to the early 1960s deserves its own article, so in order to give you the most pertinent information for dating, we’ll be looking at drums from the early '60s onwards.
For this reason and the aforementioned trend of updating vintage drums, hardware will not be covered in this guide.Ludwig’s expansive past is nearly as long as the line of drummers eager to get their hands on the company’s legendary vintage gear.However, with so many years of history under its belt, accurately identifying the year of manufacture for a Ludwig drum is a daunting task for those unfamiliar with the company’s evolution.Date stamps are simultaneously the best and worst means to properly date a Ludwig drum from the '60s (use of the date stamp was discontinued ca.1970 with the introduction of the “Blue & Olive” badge).
However, if you’re lucky enough to come across a particularly clean specimen with the date stamp intact, you’ll know the exact day that drum came to be.