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  #1  
Old 02-25-2009, 09:30 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Ok, I've decided to post this to help our fellow Ludwig collectors out by clearing up some of the myths and legends about this rare finish. I do not claim to be an expert on Black Panther, but I have owned a couple of sets in the past and have been reseaching it a bit over the years.

Black Panther is a black vinyl finish that was applied directly to the drumshells in the same method Ludwig used for all of their other wrap finished at the time. It was a matte black textured finish that resembled a leather material....hence the name panther, for the likeness to animal skin, and black because....well.....it was black. It was introduced in 1968 along with psychadelic red, mod orange and citrus mod to capitalize on the then current 60's "hip scene" as it were. It was also a play on words in that it referenced the Black Panther party, then up and coming in the late 60's.....so cool finish gets cool name...right?

Some descrepencies over the years have popped up as to when it was introduced. Most state it was a blue/olive badge era finish and was introduced in 1971. They are going on this assumption because 1971 was the first year that it was featured in a catalog. Ludwig didn't offer a catalog in 1968 (at least I have yet to find one anywhere) but the finish was available starting that year. Alan Dawson had a kit that finish that year. My dad ordered a Jazzette kit that year in this finish (12,14,18 bass) and probably the best and most famously known kit was a double bass kit that Mitch Mitchell played in the last months of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience with Noel Redding on bass. Check you're archived Jimi/Mitch pics.....that double bass Ludwig set is....yep, you guessed it, Black Panther. Mitch also used this with Gypsy Suns & Rainbows at woodstock in 1969, but with only half of the kit. Check out the Hendrix at Woodstock double dvd.....its definately black panther, far earlier than 1971 of course. Mitch explains on the dvd for the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival that half of his kit went missing for that gig, but I'm sure he meant Woodstock and not the Isle of Wight as he clearly has all of his Gretsch kit there for that gig. So this clearly clears up when Black Panther came out.

Another myth was that Ludwig later re-covered Mod orange & citrus mod kits with black panther to try and sell kits that weren't selling in those finishes. I have heard that this is true, but have never actually seen it in person. Inevitable, someone selling a black panther drum on ebay is always asked to peel back a small amount of the wrap to see if an even more rare finish is underneath. While this may have happened on one occasion at Ludwig, I couldn't see it as a normal occurance. Most drum made by Ludwig at the time were finished to order and not cranked out in a particular color with great numbers to make a "stock" kit. Black oyster, white marine pearl, silver sparkle and champagne sparkle were the most common colors they produced, but that was because they were popular because certain celebrity drummers played those colors so thats what everyone had to have. Black panther is on the rare side today, so I would not recommend to anyone to lift the wrap to see if something even more rare (and usually uglier too!) is underneath.

Most consider black panther to be all done and not available after 1975 because it wasn't listed in the catalog any more. Well......I used to agree with that....until I found a Big Beat kit from 1979 on ebay. It was definately the original black panther finish, and it had date stampings on the inside of the 6-ply shells dating it to 1979. It was a matched kit all with the newly released rounded corner blue/olive badges. So Black Panther does exsist later than 1975! These may have been a one off custom order for a customer or maybe even an endorser. Either way pretty cool.

Early versions of black panther were rather thin and could easily get scuffed and torn. I've found that sometime after 1972 the wrap got thicker and is a little more durable. The reason this finish is rare is not because of its unpopularity, I guarantee you its because of its durability....or lack of it would be more correct! Extra care must be made to keep the finish in good order. Regular cleanings with a vinyl cleaner and protectant such as Armour All is a must! Also......cases! Use good protective cases! As I stated above, they can scuff and tear easily if not cared for.

If anyone else has anything to add.......feel free to do so.
Hope this helps clear up some of the common misconceptions.
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2009, 10:11 PM
Roscoe Roscoe is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Cool Finish, Cool Post...

The Mitchell "Panther" kit was displayed at the Experience
Music Museum in Seattle a number of years back.

If memory serves it was retro-fit with Swivo-Matic
double BD spurs and tom mounts.

Most of the actual Woodstock backline was part
of that exhibit including the blonde "SS Banner"
Strat that first belonged to Mitch.

Apparently, Jimi liked it better than his own.

I still have a postcard of that guitar that I bought
in the gift shop.

None with the kit were available...

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  #3  
Old 02-25-2009, 10:42 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: Cool Finish, Cool Post...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoe View Post
The Mitchell "Panther" kit was displayed at the Experience
Music Museum in Seattle a number of years back.

If memory serves it was retro-fit with Swivo-Matic
double BD spurs and tom mounts.

Most of the actual Woodstock backline was part
of that exhibit including the blonde "SS Banner"
Strat that first belonged to Mitch.

Apparently, Jimi liked it better than his own.

I still have a postcard of that guitar that I bought
in the gift shop.

None with the kit were available...

Do you remember if it was the full double bass kit or was it as used at woodstock with the single bass?

Either way still waaaay cool!
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2009, 12:47 AM
Roscoe Roscoe is offline
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Question Re: Black Panther Thread...

Now that you mention it, I want to say it was the
single kick, 1 up 2 down. ( 26, 14, 16, 18? )

Battered, bruised and the logo head was cockeyed.

That place is somewhat of an overload. Way too much
to take in 3 1/2 hours...

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Last edited by Roscoe; 02-26-2009 at 12:50 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2009, 07:47 AM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: Black Panther Thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoe View Post
Now that you mention it, I want to say it was the
single kick, 1 up 2 down. ( 26, 14, 16, 18? )

Battered, bruised and the logo head was cockeyed.

That place is somewhat of an overload. Way too much
to take in 3 1/2 hours...

Yep thats the kit......Mitch for some reason thought it was cool to offset the logo on the heads of the bass drums.....the right one was cocked to the right and the left one was cocked to the left. He also had them fitted with the swiv-o-matic legs and tom mounts. Lots of guys did that back then....the hardware was just that much better than everyone elses back then.

Seems the story is true then....that half the kit went missing.....I wonder who has the other 26" bass drum and the 13" tom? Sombody's got a cool piece of history somewhere........an illegally aquired one, but cool none the less....
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2009, 09:29 AM
GoneDrumming GoneDrumming is offline
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Default Re: The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Ludwig Dude,

Did you get my PM?
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2009, 10:03 AM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneDrumming View Post
Ludwig Dude,

Did you get my PM?

Yes I did thanks....but thats not the kit I'm looking for.
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  #8  
Old 02-26-2009, 06:03 PM
agogobil agogobil is offline
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Default Re: The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludwig-dude View Post
...

Black Panther is a black vinyl finish that was applied directly to the drumshells in the same method Ludwig used for all of their other wrap finished at the time. ...
Thanks for the info. I recently purchased a Black Panther kit (1971), and wanted to know more about this unique finish.

When did Ludwig stop the practice of putting wrap on the plywood before it was bent/formed into the shell (where you can see the wrap in the scarf joint)? On my kit, the wrap was applied like normal wrap, after the shell had been formed.

Is there a layer of thin vinyl material beneath the Black Panter wrap?

Another thing I read about Black Panther was that it was the same material that Chrysler used for their black vinyl automobile roofs. ??
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  #9  
Old 02-26-2009, 06:25 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Quote:
Originally Posted by agogobil View Post
Thanks for the info. I recently purchased a Black Panther kit (1971), and wanted to know more about this unique finish.

When did Ludwig stop the practice of putting wrap on the plywood before it was bent/formed into the shell (where you can see the wrap in the scarf joint)? On my kit, the wrap was applied like normal wrap, after the shell had been formed.

Is there a layer of thin vinyl material beneath the Black Panter wrap?

Another thing I read about Black Panther was that it was the same material that Chrysler used for their black vinyl automobile roofs. ??
The wrap was applied like a normal wrap because it couldn't take the heat like a normal thick pvc wrap could. It was applied after the shell was formed. The panther wrap is vinyl so there wouldn't be a need for another layer of vinyl under it. And as far as I know, it was not the same as what Chrysler used. Vinyl roofs are generally a thicker material and have some sort of padding bonded to the back of the material, so I would be hard pressed to believe that it was the exact same material. It may have a similar grain pattern, but thats probably about it.
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  #10  
Old 02-26-2009, 11:34 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: The Ludwig Black Panther Info Thread...

Found a clip of the Lulu performance on youtube.....check it out!

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