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July 18, 2008 - Fake Vistalites Last viewed: 1 hour ago


Hello forum members!

I thought I would share a story 'bout a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer who barely kept his family fed...

sorry, now to the real story....

I routinely search Ebay for vistalites because I have a large set of Ludwig Green Vistalite drums and I happened upon a set of auctions of some items that caught my curiosity...

Why? because they were mint!

Many moons ago when I purchased my green set (from a well known dealer) I was on the hunt for other green vistalites and came upon a web site with many green drums...

I also saw articles in well know vintage books and magazines with the same collector having this wonderful collection of rare items in every pattern and size..

So with that credibility I made my first purchase, then another, then another, then another.. Yes, 5 or 6 different purchases...

Then one day I get an email from a person which I do not remember with some claims that made me a little uncomfortable....(they turned out to be different claims and a personal issue)

I started contacting everyone I knew in the business, which is a who's who in the vintage world that will not be named... They were skeptical, but did not have any evidence...

In my months of research interestingly enough a group of people were threatened with legal action by the party involved. Yes, a threatening letter to stop talking about their business..

I called the person that sold me the drums (many times over the course of months) and he was pretty definitive about his items. He also uses the word "Rare" more then anyone I have every talked to before and he took a firm stance on the originality of these items I spent $1,000's of dollars on..

He sure made me feel confident about my purchases and I was temporarily satisfied..

Then one day I was looking at all of my vistalite drums which I had other drums in my collection, plus the 6 piece original set and the items I purchased from this seller...

Interestingly I noticed the badges on these drums were all exactly the same badge.. This was intriguing and I then went back to my other drums and they had different badges..

So how then did I purchase a variety of different green drums from a marching snare drum to latin percussion to toms that all had the exact same badge over the course of a few years?

What are the chances of this, knowing Ludwig and the amount of badges they went through over the course of a month! Impossible...

Looking closer I noticed some things that just did not fit the look of the other badges I have seen from Ludwig, In fact I took a variety of B/O badges and none of them matched the badges on the drums I purchased.

So I reported my findings to other people in the business, which contacted a major drum company and they also mentioned that they have no record of those types of badge issues..

In fact, over the past 4 years I look at every B/O badge on any Ludwig drum (even at the Chicago Show) and I have never seen that badge on any other drum besides the drums in question.. Even on Ebay, I look at every badge close up, especially on vistalites and I have never seen that badge on any other drum desides the drums in question.

The funny thing is every drum I see from this seller has the exact same badge.. Even the drums currently up on Ebay have the same two discrepancies as the badges on my drums... I can easily tell by looking at the badges if they are like mine..

That plus other factors. How many times have you purchased an old drum and it had original heads? Lot's of times, search Ebay and look at the drums that have original heads.. None of my drums had the original heads which really is a problem since Ludwig shipped the drums with heads, who is holding 1,000's of original 70's Ludwig heads? I only say this because a mint drum should have mint or barely used heads.

Also, if you look at the new drums being produced and the drums which are original 70's (especially the canister thrones) they are exactly the same. How is that?

Regardless, the new company emerged after all of this was getting to a boiling point and the two parties involved sort of cooled down and work independently of each other...

They can be rather aggressive and the majority of people in the vintage business really do not have the time or money to get involved or publicy start a feud. They will get sued... This is a hobby for most of us and we all make mistakes and unfortunately with books and magazines that are still in print, hard to escape..

In my case, life goes on and I still have the drums which are super nice and in todays market not worth what I paid. Will I be threatened for this post? I have no clue, will it open a can of worms? Probably, but the drums keep coming up and I need to let other people know to be careful what they purchase and even the experts have been fooled... If it can happen in million dollar art work it can happen with $500 drums..

In closing, I do not have any vendetta or personal life mission to destroy these people, life is way to short for that... Also, I rarely talk about it and only try to help people not make the same mistake..



Posted on 16 years ago
Posts: 503 Threads: 29

Geez, knock offs w/ Vistalites? From what I've seen, the green ones are pretty sparce. Maybe why he chose that finish?

Sounds like bad news, and sorry to hear about it,

Posted on 16 years ago
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