American made drums

drumhammerer

Silver Member
It may be that Ludwig is cheaper because they make their own shells. I believe they've been using the same molds for years, so those were paid off decades ago. If you have to have your shells made, then you've got a middleman there taking a piece of the profits. Plus, they've had to be competitive with the asian drum makers.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Hopefully the quality is all there and they're just trying to buy some market share.

Has to be this one Mike.....after being a powerhouse in the 60's and 70's, there's no doubt they lost a lot of business in the 80's onwards to the Pearl's, Tama's, Sonor's, DW's et al. The one thing I keep reading on these boards is the efforts being made by Ludwig (and Gretsch too for that matter) to regain their market share. It makes sense the CM pricing is just a reflection of the all out assualt to return to the halcyon days.

Bring it on too I say.....never heard a US Luddy I didn't like!!
 

Phattie Drums

Junior Member
DW bought the machines to make their lugs from the Camco drum company.
I would assume Ludwige and Gretch also make their own lugs here, as do some others.

But as far as I know, these days every metal drum hoop is made overseas, as are most all the screws, tension rods, etc.

I would be surprised if any major manufacture is having their lugs made in the U.S. Companies that do the sort of volume that Ludwig and Gretsch do with low-end kits have great relationships with the over seas manufactures. When the EPA regs on chrome plating and manufacturing are figured into the lug costs, far cheaper to go overseas. I'd honestly be surprised if anything more than the shell and badge were made in the US on any major "U.S." company. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain any die-cast part available is being made overseas.
 

latzanimal

Silver Member
It may be that Ludwig is cheaper because they make their own shells. I believe they've been using the same molds for years, so those were paid off decades ago.

Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.

I would be surprised if any major manufacture is having their lugs made in the U.S. Companies that do the sort of volume that Ludwig and Gretsch do with low-end kits have great relationships with the over seas manufactures. When the EPA regs on chrome plating and manufacturing are figured into the lug costs, far cheaper to go overseas. I'd honestly be surprised if anything more than the shell and badge were made in the US on any major "U.S." company. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain any die-cast part available is being made overseas.

I am almost certain you are right. Ludwig hardware is made overseas and shipped here to assemble. Willing to bet DW's stuff is too, especially with the eco laws in Cali...

Dennis, is this you?
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.

I thought that too, but I recently saw AVH's chrome 20x24 bass drum on eBay (seller Todd Trent) and it said the shell was made by gluing two shells together.
HOWEVER, Precision Drum Co. has Ludwig on their list of companies they have done things for...so who knows for sure other than the chrome kit for Alex (he went with the 20x22 for the RHRN tour).

As of the latest (2010) size listings, both the CM and Legacy bass drums are available 14"-20" depth up to 24" diam, and 14 & 16 depths on 26's.
Ludwig would have purchased some molds to accommodate longer depth shells because those lines are made in NC.
 

warrier1

Member
I was asking my local drum shop guy, he said the only ones now are the gretch customs and the top of the line ludwigs, he said the dws are assembled here, but made somewhere else, i dont know how true this is, but he orders top of the line stuff all the time for people, i guess he would know.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I was asking my local drum shop guy, he said the only ones now are the gretch customs and the top of the line ludwigs, he said the dws are assembled here, but made somewhere else, i dont know how true this is, but he orders top of the line stuff all the time for people, i guess he would know.

I've been to the DW factory. They do indeed make their shells in Oxnard, California.

But the screws, hoops and metal bits come from elsewhere
 

latzanimal

Silver Member
Ludwig had new molds made a few years ago. It was right as they started to offer deeper (18") kick drums. The original molds only allowed for a a maximum depth of 16", so all of those really deep kicks used by Ludwig endorsers (Alex, Blas Elias, etc) were actually Keller shells with Ludwig hardware.

I thought that too, but I recently saw AVH's chrome 20x24 bass drum on eBay (seller Todd Trent) and it said the shell was made by gluing two shells together.
HOWEVER, Precision Drum Co. has Ludwig on their list of companies they have done things for...so who knows for sure other than the chrome kit for Alex (he went with the 20x22 for the RHRN tour)..

I should have mentioned that this is what I was told by Ludwig in '94 when I tried to get them to make me a pair of 18" deep kicks..... I mostly think they didn't want to bother because I was/am a nobody....

Of all people, I'm sure Todd would know about more recent drums....
 

Axe

Senior Member
I've been trying not to wonder about this too much myself (!) since I'm about 90% of the way toward pulling the trigger on a new CM kick.

I've been pricing out some local guys who make drums using Keller shells, and they cost more than the CM. The only advantage I can see with going this route is I can get an exact color match, but I might do the Ludwig just because it's cheaper and *presumably* at least as good.

And I'm not talking about ridiculous Truth-style overpriced Keller shams, either. These local guys aren't making much on their labor. I priced out the Keller shells and hardware myself thinking I could do it, but it really doesn't save enough to make it worth it - I don't have a lot of time to devote to such an undertaking, so it really needs to be a big difference.

I keep coming back to the Ludwig CM, and am getting close to ordering...

Hopefully the quality is all there and they're just trying to buy some market share.

Mike - did you pull the trigger on those CMs yet??
 

pork pie

Member
Hey guys

I wanted to let everyone know that I have not used Keller shells in about 3 years.

DW makes their drum at their factory in Oxnard. The are not made offsite. All Pacific drum are made in Mexico.

Gretsch had everything retooled in Taiwan when
they went into business with Kaman (Gibralter)

Tooling cost here in the states makes it almost impossible to tool here in the states. When I was tooling my lugs, the quotes here in the states was about $30,000.00 per lug. Having it made in Taiwan was about $4,000.00 per lug. At 30K per lug mold, the end cost of a drum would be so expensive that nobody would buy it. Pure economics.

As far as I know, Ludwig and DW are the only companies in the USA that make their own shells. All of Gretsch shells come from Keller. Does that make them a company that people call a Keller company? Hmmm.

Yes all of the metal parts that we all use come from Taiwan. All of them. They are not available by USA companies. Cost is the issue. We could make the same parts but the peice price would make the end product not affordable.

I hope this helps with any questions. I am in the middle of this stuff everyday so these are not thoughts or ideas, this is all facts.

Bill D
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
Thank you Bill, That was informative to us all.
Im shocked at the tooling prices!
 

ccdrums

Member
First, Hello. My name is Bill.
someone sent me a link to this thread.

I found it quite interesting,
I recently returned from 8 days in Asia.
It was actually a very enjoyable trip. And boy did I learn A LOT!

I sure saw a lot of great American drums being made.
I saw lugs being made for EVERYONE. There are small factories with four to six machine making 16 lugs at a time. One right after the other.

Then there is the "hoop" factory.... etc etc
I saw one of the most state of the art drum factories anyone would LOVE to own,
Spray dept. that had to be million bucks.
I am 53 years old and I had never heard of this company. Because they make "other peoples drums"

And they were making just about everyones mid to mid high end drums.
Including some maple series.
I was video taping and laughing so hard I could hardly hold the camera.

Main reason I went over was to pick up shell molds. The molds will make shells anywhere from 3.5mm to 12mm thick. Made about 40 shells one day then spent 2 days learning every nut, bolt, and screw on the equipment so I was ready to trouble shoot any problems. Two days with the guy who made them did not hurt. And yes, he has made mold for about everyone. But will customize how you want them built.

When DW first started making shells they had purchased the old molds from Ludwig.
I am sure they have long since replaced those molds.
So is Pork Pie using DW Mexican made shells. Or do they make another shell besides there 4 ply in the USA? I thought only the 4 plies were made here. But God knows I could be wrong.

Can't wait to do all the things we can't by the limitations with depending on others for your shell.
I will send over some pics when I figure out how to compress pics.


It is gonna be fun!
 

ccdrums

Member
Your welcome.

And to the gentleman asking about the quality of the Ludwig shells.
I have had several raw shells and finished drums shipped to me by Ludwig.
All of the shells were beautiful.

The following statement has nothing to do with Ludwig or any other manufacture in particular.

But when I got into the wood researching business I found out the following. By the way the source was not a drum company but from wood suppliers. Take it at that.

I was told woods are purchased in 3 different grades A grade (flawless) B grade (grained and marked) C grade (I call this kind of rough, nothing pretty....)

It was explained to me most companies use B grade for exterior of wrapped drums and also interior plies. The "core" plies are all C grade. Couldn't tell you if there is a lick of truth to that. I plan on skipping the C grade stuff and using nothing below a B grade. Heck I liked a lot of the B grade stuff I saw better than the A grade. It had more character. But the A grade is very consistent in appearance.
As my grandma in Mississippi told me. Your buying a pig in a poke.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
It makes sense to me Bill.
If I was a drum manufacturer that is what I would do.
Material cost affect profit.
Labor cost affect profit.
No one can see the middle plies.
I'm not convinced that it matters if you use no 3 or no 2 grade wood in the middle of the plies
I would have to make drums that everyone can afford and compete with the other majors.
 

ccdrums

Member
It makes sense to me Bill.
If I was a drum manufacturer that is what I would do.
Material cost affect profit.
Labor cost affect profit.
No one can see the middle plies.
I'm not convinced that it matters if you use no 3 or no 2 grade wood in the middle of the plies
I would have to make drums that everyone can afford and compete with the other majors.

Why? If a customer ask me to make him a shell with C grade core wood and he is going to put his company name on it. I would be fine with making his shell. And hopefully it is better than what he can currently obtain.

But If I knowingly over a few bucks make an inferior product over what I have the capability to make for our own drums...how am I any different from them (the big companies)

Sure, guys like Detamore and Spaun are going to produce a superior sounding drum to assembly line stuff. Both know how to cut and finish edges. They are going to take the care someone who just has a "job" in a third world country and building drums for very little money. Being a worker in a drum factory and a custom builder are not the same things.

I really never want to be "the next" dw, ludwig, gretsch.
I want to just be the first C&C.
I am gonna be dead some day and my name will still be on those drums.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I was speaking of a company that is making a regular guy drum kit and competing dollar for dollar with the other companies that are in this limited small market.
You are in a different world from them.
The internet is flooded with drums. Just look at eBay!

Like I said, You are in a different world from that.

Drums don't even hold a candle to guitar sales flow. That's where the real musical inst cash is!
 

ccdrums

Member
maybe it is impossible to own a small custom company and try and do the quality of work you got from an american martin or taylor guitar,
or maybe not. we will see.
I bet you can. DW has educated the drum buying public. Or made them aware. then educated them, expectation of sound of drums has now been placed if you will, in box.
I am for reeducating, There is no box, what sound do you want, It has worked so far,
 

KlarkKent

Senior Member
Bill,

Oh, so this is true then--Pork Pie is having DW make their shells. Have you noticed any difference in the shells vs. the Keller you used to use?

Hey guys

I wanted to let everyone know that I have not used Keller shells in about 3 years.

DW makes their drum at their factory in Oxnard. The are not made offsite. All Pacific drum are made in Mexico.

Gretsch had everything retooled in Taiwan when
they went into business with Kaman (Gibralter)

Tooling cost here in the states makes it almost impossible to tool here in the states. When I was tooling my lugs, the quotes here in the states was about $30,000.00 per lug. Having it made in Taiwan was about $4,000.00 per lug. At 30K per lug mold, the end cost of a drum would be so expensive that nobody would buy it. Pure economics.

As far as I know, Ludwig and DW are the only companies in the USA that make their own shells. All of Gretsch shells come from Keller. Does that make them a company that people call a Keller company? Hmmm.

Yes all of the metal parts that we all use come from Taiwan. All of them. They are not available by USA companies. Cost is the issue. We could make the same parts but the peice price would make the end product not affordable.

I hope this helps with any questions. I am in the middle of this stuff everyday so these are not thoughts or ideas, this is all facts.

Bill D
 
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