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Old 03-29-2008, 01:25 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Ludwig 3-ply variations

#1....Mahogany/Poplar/Mahogany

#2....Mahogany/Poplar/Maple

#3....Maple/Poplar/Mahogany

#4....Maple/Poplar/Maple


I reckon the change was related to the increasing cost of importing mahogany wood (it doesn't grow in N. America). A lot of furniture used to be made from mahogany...so it used to be commonly available. It's fairly easy to bend and takes glue and finishes well. But, it takes a long time to grow big trees of it...and, again, the costs of doing business probably meant that an alternative choice was in order. Easily, the most common and practical North American hardwood is maple. You all can figure out the rest of the equation!

That doesn't necessarily mean that the drums made with mahogany veneers sound better than the ones made with maple veneers. The Ludwig 3-ply sound is MUCH more related to the inner-ply of Poplar wood...in my opinion.
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Last edited by O-Lugs; 03-29-2008 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:29 PM
reother4 reother4 is offline
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Default Re: Ludwig 3-ply variations

Maple and mahogany are somewhat similar tonally too, so the varitation in sound isn't tremendous.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:29 PM
MichaelSJ MichaelSJ is offline
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Default Re: Ludwig 3-ply variations

Even though advertised as being Mahogany-Poplar-Mahogany tom-toms in the 60s, under that resa coat most interiors were actually maple. Jack says out of all the shells that he stripped down of paint by someone who added some wacky color themselves, found out that most interiors seemed to end up as maple

Kind of a slap in the face. I can't really tell just looking at the edges, I would have to strip the paint to find out what I got. Given the date of June 1967, it probably is maple on the interior.

Although I would much rather prefer it being Mahogany....
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:56 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is offline
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Default Re: Ludwig 3-ply variations

Yes, by themselves, the two woods are similar in density...BUT, the grain pattern is much more open on mahogany and, it seems to attenuate more high-end frequencies. That aside, when it comes to Ludwig drum 3-ply drum shells, the differences would be very small between maple or mahogany. The reason being that the core ply of Poplar wood is in the middle makes up the greatest mass of the shell wall. The bearing edges are roundovers...the Poplar contacts the drumhead....and so on.

Yes, the inner and outer 1/16th" veneers of maple and/or mahogany do stiffen the shell...but most of the energy created when the drum is struck will seek the path of least resistance...in other words, the Poplar wood.

And, then there is the solid maple re-rings to consider! I think those have much more "bearing" (pun) on the sound than whether or not the inner and/or outer veneers are maple or mahogany. The re-rings really stiffen the ends of the shells.

The truth is that each, individual "little" thing added up to the Ludwig formula. It probably had more to do with economics at the "core" (yes, another pun) of things, but, for whatever reason, it made the Ludwig sound what it was...and something desirable enough for Ludwig to try and revive them into today's marketplace -for a LOT of $$$ I might add! You will find that the Ludwig "Legacy" series drums are some of the most expensive drums on the market, today (speaking of new drums). And they still aren't like the real deal! That's fine with me! I hope even more people continue to realize that the vintage Ludwig sound (and feel) is never going to be able to be RE-created again. What's out there now is all that's ever going to be! Remember those "cheap" Fender guitars that used to hang on the walls of your hometown "Ma & Pa" Music store? Get them while you can, my friends!...or leave them for me!

BTW...In their "pure state", a solid mahogany shell will definitely sound different than a solid maple shell.
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