Above: Drumset used by Ringo Starr with The Beatles.


Ludwig Drums

Instrument: Musical instruments

Founded: 1909; 106 years ago
in Chicago, United States

Founder: William F. & Theobald Ludwig


Web Site: Official site

Other Links: See above:



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, becoming the most recognized musician playing Ludwig instruments

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. The company started with a concept for the design and manufacture of a functional bass drum pedal.

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. By 1923 the factory was the largest drum manufacturer in the world, employing 240 workers.

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, with the Ludwig logo displayed on the front of the bassdrum.The performance was watched by about seventy-three million people.

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.


Above: Alex Van Halen drums.

Some of the musicians that have used Ludwig.

Drum Magazine, Nov 2008


Carmine Appice
Ginger Baker
Tony Buck
Fred Below
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
Jason Bonham
Eddie Livingston ( Pumpjack)
Dave Lombardo (Slayer)
Nick Mason (Pink Floyd)
Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)
Questlove (The Roots)
Ian Paice (Deep Purple)
Carl Palmer
Marky Ramone
Ringo Starr (The Beatles)
Alex Van Halen (Van Halen)
Alan White (Yes)
Meg White (The White Stripes)
Silverio Dominguez (Los Esquimales de Masaya Nicaragua)
Roger Taylor (Queen) (1973 – 1985)


Above: 1918 drum set.


  1. “The 1960’s” at Vintage Ludwig Drums
  2. Jump up ^ “The Story Behind Ringo’s Drums” by Charlie West
  3. Jump up ^ “The Night That Changed The Music World”
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e “The origins of Ludwig drums” on The Chicago Reader
  5. ^ Jump up to: a b Ludwig on Conn-Selmer website
  6. Jump up ^ “The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964” on Ed Sullivan website
  7. ^ Jump up to: a b “The Beatles’ first Ed Sullivan Show” on The Beatles Bible
  8. Jump up ^ Selmer’s History, 7 Dec 2011
  9. Jump up ^ Artists on Ludwig website
  10. Jump up ^ “A Century of the most famous names” on Ludwig website
  11. Jump up ^ “Carmine Appice, an exclusive interview”

    , Glide Magazine, 8 Jul 2013

  12. Jump up ^ Drum set up on John Bonham website
  13. Jump up ^ “10 Ways To Sound Like John Bonham” by John Natellion