I drove an hour today into the Temecula Valley, east of Los Angeles, to check out a 1970s green sparkle Ludwig drum set. It had a 26″ kick, a 6.5 x 14″ snare, 9 x 13″ and 10 x 14″ mounted toms, and 16 x 16″ and 18 x 16″ floor toms.

One good smack was all it took.

Okay, maybe a few, like a version of “Rosanna,” some slammin’ shuffles, some pound and rolls around the toms… by the time the sticks hit the 18″ floor tom, I was in Bonham heaven…

I blasted some odd meter funk on the kit, and it blew me away. The sales guy played them as I stepped away, and when he was done, I said, “Now play them like you mean it.”

I tell ya… if those were a woman, I would have proposed. Instead, I put some money down and rejoin the Ludwig family…

When I was a kid in middle school, the jazz band had this little green sparkle Ludwig kit. I loved that thing, and I played the hell out of it every chance the band director would give me. It was like bringing out a sacred religious artifact. Every time I saw that kit, I got tingles and chills. It was pure magic to play, with a classic chrome Supraphonic snare.

In high school, we had a flat blue finish Ludwig kit, also a jazz size (20″ kick). I beat the hell outta that thing too, but it was nowhere near as cool as the little green sparkle kit. When I was 15, my dad bought me a used Ludwig silver sparkle kit, and my cousin gave me Ludwig kit that had recovered, giving me an awesome double bass monster to explore.

Sadly, I sold it to buy a smoke grey Sonor kit, the closest I could get to Cobham’s clear acrylic kit made popular at the time.

In the early 80s, I found a 24″ kick, 9 x 13″ tom and 18 x 16″ floor tom green sparkle kit in Austin and bought it on the spot. Every drummer in town wanted that kit. I played a gig onetime where the blues group I was in opened for Albert Collins, and his drummer asked if he could use MY kit for their set.


I let that kit go, along with a few others a couple of years later when I moved back to Los Angeles… damn, what a mistake. I’ve gone through a few other kits since then, but recently, I gave very serious thought to what I really wanted in terms of sound. I wanted to throw David Garibaldi and John Bonham into a blender and hit the buttons… and that’s what I heard today when I let loose on that awesome green machine.

I found my sound, and I found myself… again… after too many years.

The kit was rewrapped expertly, so technically, it’s no longer pure vintage. But I’ll tell you what: when I get that thing paid off and put up some YouTube videos, you’ll that sound like you know your name, because honestly, nothing sounds like this kind of kit, and if anyone at the Ludwig Drum Company is reading this, I just wanna say, “THANK YOU!!”