Ludwig serial number 7 digits

Ludwig serial number 7 digits DEFAULT

I get emails all of the time with a basic drum description and a serial number from visitors in hopes I can unlock the history of their drum. I think in general serial numbers do play an important role in the commercial market especially electronics and other high end items. In the 60's Insurance companies made it mandatory that serial numbers be put on items so they can be documented.

Unfortunately drum companies never really prescribed to any code of documenting a drum based on that serial number. In fact I once heard that they started using serial numbers not for their own use per say but so schools and institutions could keep track of instruments in inventory.

I also get people asking what factory a drum might have shipped from or the exact month a drum was made or even the production numbers etc. The ever important serial number which some companies keep detailed records of unfortunately does not exist in the history of drums. We also have to state that much of the record keeping was archaic at best and in some cases history was destroyed in plant fires or just tossed in the garbage!.

With that said many drum companies never even used serial numbers early on. In most cases the best way to estimate the date of a drum is its physical characteristics. Fortunately drum companies since the 40's were good at printing catalogs. Earlier catalog examples do exist, but are rare and expensive to acquire. In most cases they also included a host of other band instruments and items related to the music business. These catalogs although re-printed in some cases from year to year with limited changes do provide a timeline of when finishes were added and when hardware was used and or changed on drums.

Unfortunately still there is no exact science or way to pinpoint an exact date of a drums manufacture. As collectors and historians we have to settle for a date range or a specific year at best. That being said some drums did get date stamped on the inside shell and that is the most accurate indication when a drum was made. The problem was that the stamp was created with an ink that easily wiped off during routine cleanings!

Even if a serial number badge does exist on a drum anomalies do occur and that is because the badges did not have an inventory control system. A more historical perspective and history of this practice was documented by Vintage Drum Center and can be read here. It is also common knowledge that finishes that were discontinued were kept in inventory and people would order them, so production would use the finish. That throws the date of the drum off! This happened with hardware and badges and these companies were competing in an ever aggressive market and had to do what needed to be done to remain profitable. This is especially the case when import drums started flooding the market with a lower priced alternative set of drums.

Quick Company Guide:
Ludwig Drum Company - Information Below
Slingerland Drums - Click Here
Rogers Drums - A few people are trying to create a guide, but the best way is the physical characteristics
Leedy - Physical characteristics
Gretsch - Physical characteristics
Anyone left out - Physical characterisitics

So if you finally made it to this point then you are almost there! Below you will find information for dating the serial numbers on Ludwig Drums.

Here are some references you can use to date by serial number. The web site link is available so feel free to visit their web sites and learn more. I only put them in one location to make it easier for people to get the information.

Vintage Drum Center 60's Ludwig dating guide: Also if you wish to purchase vintage drums or new drum gear this is the place to go!

If you have this badge you can't use the serial number guides below. Click Here

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


Ludwig 1960’s Serial Number Time Chart #2



1960 to late 1963

no serial numbers used


0 – 133,000


133,000 – 266,000


266,000 – 399,000


399,000 – 532,000


532,000 – 665,000


665,000 – 798,000*

* Note: At approximately the 750,000 mark in the serial number sequence, Ludwig discontinued the brass Keystone badge and replaced it with the blue and olive parallelogram-shaped badge.

The Ludwig dating guide from their web site. Only presented because the web site has been going down so I wanted it documented here historian Rob Cook also a personal friend has an excellent book about ludwig drums you can find by visiting his web site.

Here is the dating guide for 60's and 70's Ludwig Drums. The Ludwig Book is invaluable to me as a collector and I strongly suggest you consider buying all of Rob's Books! His books are a complete guide and offers more insight then these tables.

Keystone Badges 
1961-1962:No Numbers
1963No Numbers - 7900
19649xxx - 33449
1965108532 - 259xxx
1966260xxx - 449xxx
1967450xxx - 548xxx
1968549xxx - 665372
1969670xxx - 741215
Blue & Olive Badges 
1969765xxx - 834xxx
1970out of sequence,unnunmered
1971835xxx - 895xxx
1972896xxx - 916xxx
1976917xxx - 1290xxx
1979xxxxxxx - 2013537


Year1960Shell Construction3-ply Mahogany/Poplar/MahoganyInternal FinishClear LacquerNotesNarrow maple reinforcement rings1961Shell ConstructionInternal FinishWhite paint except for larger, 18″ floor toms which were left unfinishedNotesShell date-stamping started with red ink in 1956 with comparatively large numbers and letters1962Shell ConstructionInternal FinishNotes1961 and 1962 stamping were still red, but with slightly smaller characters1963Shell ConstructionInternal FinishNotes1963 shells can be found with either red or black ink stamps1968Shell ConstructionBeginning in September / October 1968; most shells were made with 3-ply Maple/Poplar/MapleInternal FinishChange back to natural finish interior except for the Standard series which changed directly from white paint to granitoneNotesUp until 1969 the covering was applied to the shell while the wood was still flat, and the covering was “lapped” into the shell. This made for a less perfect round shell, but prevented problems with the finish pulling off.1970Shell ConstructionThrough the 1970s mahogany was occasionally still used internally or externally. Most commonly on large floor toms and large bass drums.Internal FinishNearly all shells began to receive interior granitone paintNotes1976Shell ConstructionBeginning in 1976, the Classic series was made with new molds and a new construction; small (6″ and 8″) toms were 4-ply and larger drums were 6-ply maple & poplar, with no reinforcement rings. These shells were not only stronger but less expensive to make. The interior was a clear-coated natural finish.Internal FinishNotes1978Shell ConstructionThe 1978 Combo series was made with old 3-ply shells until they were used up; the inside was sprayed with granitone.Internal FinishNotes1982Shell ConstructionStandard series; Snare and tom-toms “Select 4-ply diamond wood shells”, Bass drums 6-ply.Internal FinishNotes1984Shell ConstructionRocker: “Select American wood veneers” 4-ply, maple interior
Rocker II: Same shells as the Rocker.Internal Finish Rocker II: Sealed inside with a brownish speckled “Lud-Cote” finish.Notes1988Shell ConstructionSuper Classic: 4-ply for all sizes; lighter in weight, billed as having “clean, resonant sound”. Offered as an option; the Classic shells were still catalogued, described as producing a “deep, powerful” sound.Internal FinishNotes1994Shell ConstructionRocker “9-ply cross-laminated veneers with a maple inner ply”Internal FinishNotes1998Shell ConstructionClassic 9-ply maple approx 6mm, all maple
Rocker Pro: 7-ply, Birch & Italian poplar, 7mm
Rocker Elite: 5-ply, Maple inner and outer pliesInternal FinishNotes2001Shell ConstructionRocker Elite: Maple inside, basswood outside 8-ply 8mm
Rocker: Basswood inside, Luan outside, 8-ply, 8.1mm
Accent: Phillippine Juniper inside, mahogany outside, 7-ply, 7.2mmInternal FinishNotes
  1. Allan ettinger
  2. Megaboom 3 instructions
  3. Ugly wallpaper pictures
  4. Mazda cx5 wallpaper
  5. Catchers gear black

Serial Guide

Serial Guide

Keystone Badges



1961–62No number
1963No Number – 7900
19649XXXX – 33449
1965108532 – 259XXX
1966260XXX – 449XXX
1967450XXX – 548XXX
1968549XXX – 665372
1969670XXX – 741215

Blue & Olive Badges



1969765XXX – 834XXX
1970(Out of sequence, unnumbered)
1971835XXX – 895XXX
1972896XXX – 916XXX
1976917XXX – 1290XXX
1978450XXX – 548XXX
1979549XXX – 665372

Note: X's are used as digit indicators for this list. X's were not actually used in the serial numbers.

1961 Ludwig Pre Serial Number Super Classic Drum Kit - Ed Taylor

Ludwig’s expansive past is nearly as long as the line of drummers eager to get their hands on the company’s legendary vintage gear. However, with so many years of history under its belt, accurately identifying the year of manufacture for a Ludwig drum is a daunting task for those unfamiliar with the company’s evolution.

The lion’s share of vintage Ludwig drums available on the market hail from the company’s golden years of the '60s, '70s, and early '80s. The fifty years from Ludwig’s inception in 1909 to the early 1960s deserves its own article, so in order to give you the most pertinent information for dating, we’ll be looking at drums from the early '60s onwards.

Unlike the many components and changing particulars which make dating a guitar difficult, a few key, consistent elements make identifying a drum’s year of manufacture much easier. In this article, we’ll be looking at the three best ways to identify a Ludwig: date stamp, serial number/badge style and shell construction.

Forenote: The first two means of indication, date stamp and serial number/badge style, are the two most accurate for identifying the correct year of production. Throughout a drum’s life, it may be refinished, re-edged, and re-housed in hardware not from the drum’s era, but the date stamp and serial number will serve as a northern star to correct identification.

The evolution of Ludwig hardware is a detailed and multi-faceted story. For this reason and the aforementioned trend of updating vintage drums, hardware will not be covered in this guide.

Date Stamp

Date stamps are simultaneously the best and worst means to properly date a Ludwig drum from the '60s (use of the date stamp was discontinued ca. 1970 with the introduction of the “Blue & Olive” badge). A drum was stamped when the shell was finished, providing the most accurate depiction of the age of wood due to the fact final assembly came later.

The difficulty in date stamps is, more often than not, that the stamp has been rendered illegible or removed completely due to the wear and tear of the years. However, if you’re lucky enough to come across a particularly clean specimen with the date stamp intact, you’ll know the exact day that drum came to be.

Aside from the exact date printed on the shell, the color of ink used will assist in identifying the era of the drum and indicate the possibility of forgery. From the inception of date-stamping in 1960 through 1963, Ludwig solely used red ink. From 1964 to 1969, both red and black inks were used with black as the predominant color.

Serial Number/Badge Styles

These are the gold standards for identifying a vintage Ludwig drum. The general rule of thumb is a “Keystone” badge indicates a drum from the '60s and a “Blue & Olive” badge indicates a drum from the '70s or early '80s. The Blue & Olive badge replaced the Keystone in 1969, so there’s some natural overlap.

1960-63 (left), 1964-69 (right)

If you find yourself wondering if your Blue & Olive badge might be a ‘69, a quick consultation of the serial number will clear up any uncertainty. In addition, the Keystone badge was reintroduced on certain models in the early '80s.

Whereas the Keystone badge only had two iterations (one from 1960-63 featuring no serial number and an update from 1964-69 with serial number found at the top or bottom of the badge), the Blue & Olive badge went through a number of modifications from its introduction in 1969 through the mid-'80s.

"Blank" Badge

The first B&O badges from 1969-70 continued sequentially from the six-digit Keystone badges, but in 1971 the company incorporated badges with no serial number, referred to as “blanks.” Ludwig re-integrated the serial system in either 1971 or 72, but the leftover blanks were occasionally used throughout the '70s.

Much debate exists on the “pointy” and “rounded” Blue & Olive badges. Pointy badges - those with a pointed edge - are typically associated with models from the earlier '70s.

After receiving a number of complaints that the badges catch on clothing and fabric, Ludwig began rounding off the edges, producing the “rounded” badge. In addition, individual owners may have trimmed the badges themselves, so consulting a serial number will provide a better gauge on the drum.

"Pointy" and "Rounded" Badges

Black & White Rocker Badge

The “Black & White” badge was introduced with Ludwig’s Rocker series which ran from 1984 through the mid '90s.

These badges also adorned the aluminum Acrolite snare from 1994 to the mid 2000s, when the drum featured a Black Galaxy Sparkle finish. One last thing to bear in mind: a drumset featuring sequential serial numbers tends to be higher in value than sets with era-correct badges and hardware but non-sequential serial numbers.


19649XXX - 33449
1965108532 - 259XXX
1966260XXX - 449XXX
1967450XXX - 548XXX

Blue & Olive

1969765XXX - 834XXX
1971835XXX - 895XXX
1972896XXX - 916XXX
1976917XXX - 1290XXX
1979XXXXXXX - 2013537

Shell Construction

If you happen to know your woods, examining the plies and interior finish can be instrumental in era identification, but again, the drum may have been modified through the years. Shells from 1960 through the fall of 1968 were comprised of two mahogany plies with a single poplar ply sandwiched between. The shells were complemented by a 1” reinforcement ring of maple.

From 1961 until 1968 the interiors were painted white. A clear lacquer finish was used in 1960, 1968, 1969, and part of 1970. At that point, Ludwig introduced the Granitone finish, a gritty grey coating used to cover aesthetically displeasing blemishes in the interior wood finish.

Painted White Finish

Clear Lacquer Finish

Granitone Finish

From autumn 1968 through 1975, Ludwig changed the mahogany plies over to maple, and in 1976 introduced the Classic series, abandoning the reinforcement rings and opting for six plies of maple and poplar. The Classic drums also opted back to the clear lacquer interior finish.

The Classic series marked Ludwig’s transition into larger volume, frugally-minded production techniques to meet modern demands. The more coveted vintage drums feature the 3-ply construction.


Armed with this information, you now have the tools at hand to begin identifying and dating the Ludwigs of yesteryear. Purchasing a vintage snare or set is a thrilling experience not only for the find, but also for the knowledge that your new instrument persevered through the decades and is now at your fingertips to create anew. Now, get out there and grab a piece of history.

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1961 Ludwig Pre Serial Number Super Classic Drum Kit - Ed Taylor


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