Ludwig Drums

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Ludwig Drums
Industry Musical instruments
Founded 1909; 106 years ago (1909)
in Chicago, United States [1]
Founder William F. & Theobald Ludwig [1]
Headquarters North Carolina, United States
Area served
Products Drum kits, percussion
Parent Conn-Selmer

Ludwig Drums is a United States drum kit manufacturer. The brand gained notoriety through Ringo Starr, who has been playing with Ludwig since his days with The Beatles. The first time Ringo Starr played a drum kit manufactured by Ludwig was in 1963,[2] becoming the most recognized musician playing Ludwig instruments.[3]


The Ludwig Drum Company was established in 1909 by William F. & Theobald Ludwig, sons of a German immigrant to the United States. William Jr. had been a professional drummer, playing with circuses and touring vaudeville shows, along with the occasional skating-rink gig. Since this work was irregular, he and his brother, Theobald, opened a drum shop in Chicago; they called it Ludwig & Ludwig.[4] The company started with a concept for the design and manufacture of a functional bass drum pedal.[5]

The company added new products to its catalog, such as snare drums and a tuning timpani in 1916. In 1917 Ludwig signed a deal to build rope drums to support World War I. Theobald Ludwig died in 1918 and William continued on his own.[5] By 1923 the factory was the largest drum manufacturer in the world, employing 240 workers.[4]

I stopped at that picture and asked why he (Ringo Starr) put our name on the front of his bass drum head. Arbiter said that he was so proud that he had an imported drum set from America, especially from a famous company like Ludwig, that at the time of purchase he insisted on having the Ludwig name painted on the front of the head!

William Ludwig's grandson [4]

In 1937, William bought a factory building, renaming the firm "The Wm. F. Ludwig Drum Company". The company continued producing drums at a small scale for the duration of World War II but after the armistice William got back to the idea of making the company a large drum manufacturer.

Nevertheless, Ludwig's breakthrough would happen as late as February 9, 1964, when The Beatles made their debut on The Ed Sullivan Show,[6][7] with the Ludwig logo displayed on the front of the bassdrum.[4][1] The performance was watched by about seventy-three million people.[7]

In 1981 William III sold the business to the Selmer Company (now Conn-Selmer). Selmer closed the Damen Avenue factory in the ensuing years and moved production to North Carolina.[4][8]


Some of the musicians that have played with Ludwig are:[9][10]

Ringo Starr, Alex Van Halen, and Marky Ramone are some of the musicians using Ludwig.



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