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How to Date Ludwig Drums - Ludwig Serial Number Chart #1 plus more history
by Ned Ingberman

(This article appeared in the September/October 2002 issue of DRUM! magazine)

Page Contents


Find out the age of your 1960's Ludwig drum

Page 1 - Introduction

Serial Number Chart #1

Serial Number Chart #2

Let’s have a look now at some numbers. Below is Ludwig 1960’s Serial Number Time Chart #1. It contains particular number/date stamp pairs chosen from our original serial number index because they serve as good representations of the chronological trend of the serial number sequence. By using this chart, you will be able to know in most cases the year, and time frame within the year, that your 1960’s Ludwig drum was made. For additional clarification we have included a few serial number/date stamp pairs provided by helpful collectors.

Ludwig 1960’s Serial Number Time Chart #1
1960 to late 1963
no serial numbers used
February 24, 1964
April, 1964
April, 1965
July 6, 1965
October, 1965
March 19, 1966
August 30, 1966
November, 1966
March, 1967
June, 1967
November 15, 1967
February 6, 1968
June 21, 1968
November, 1968
January, 1969
February 26, 1969
September 4, 1969

Here's how to use the chart:

Taking as an example a non-date stamped drum with the serial number of 718,321, lets first find the proximate serial numbers to 718,321 - which are 689,430 and 743,080 respectively. Next, check the corresponding dates to these serial numbers - which are February 26, 1969 and September 4, 1969. These two dates indicate the general time frame when our non-date stamped drum was made.

Keep in mind when using the chart that due to Ludwig’s production, assembly and order-fulfillment procedures during the 60's (discussion following the next chart) it’s not uncommon to find a moderate margin of discrepancy in the serial number/date stamp relationship. For this reason, the production date of the drum you’re dating could actually be several months earlier or later than the chart indicates.

I once asked Mr. Ludwig why only some of the shells were date stamped? He explained, "The reasons varied over the years. Sometimes it was because we wanted to accommodate certain dealers who didn't want the dates. Other times it was to keep up our production speed so that we could keep up with the demand. And sometimes it was just because the stamp pads ran out of ink."

Furthermore, not all of the dates that went on the drums stayed on the drums. Dick Gerlack, who recently retired from the Ludwig Drum Company as their quality control manager/ trainer/ buyer, was with the drum company from 1960 to 2001. He pointed out to me that because Ludwig used non-indelible ink for the stamping of the dates, some dates were inadvertantly smudged or removed - in part or whole – after the drums left the factory by drum owners while cleaning their drums.

Article Continued: How to Date Ludwig Drums - Ludwig Serial Number Chart #2 plus more history


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