Late '70s Ludwig Educator Kit Purchased
Dec. 2004

An interesting, and very rare set of drums...

Ludwig's Educator drums were made for a brief period - probably less than a year - in the late '70s, as an entry-level kit to compete with lower prices and rising popularity of Japanese drums, which were taking a toll on Ludwig's (and other American drum companies') profits. Although the name suggests they were aimed at schools, they were made available to stores... except that few people knew about them. Ludwig was in-between catalogs at that time and the drums came and went, evidently without even a 'one-sheet' on them.

The kit shares parts from different eras: Club Date, Classic, and Standard/Rocker series parts are used throughout, with the bass drum suffering the worst case of Frankenstein-ism. It was also unusual for Ludwig to install both top and bottom mufflers on toms during the rock era. And although Ludwig normally stamped dates inside their drums, there are no dates inside these shells.


 
8 x 12" Tom

Ludwig didn't always place its badges on the 'front' of the toms, but this one is pretty far around the shell towards the player, and directly under a muffler knob. It mixes a Standard mount with Classic or 'bow tie' lugs (Club Date configuration) which are nickel plated and should have been extinct by the time these drums were assembled...

The finish is a Maple Cortex wrap, which apparently didn't appeal to many drummers - that particular color was fairly short-lived (c1973-78.)


 
14 x 14" Floor Tom

Also has nickel Club Date small tom lugs, Standard leg mounts, and long Classic legs.

The shells are 4-ply, made by Ludwig, and exclusive first to the Educator series, and used later on the Rockers series. They appear to be slightly undersized judging by the angle of the rods on each drum.


 
14 x 22" Bass Drum

Standard tom and cymbal mounts, Classic legs, and nickel Club Date small tom lugs with uncommon, extra-long Classic T-rods (I find no references or pictures of these longer rods in any of the Ludwig drum or parts catalogs!)

In an effort to keep the cost down, Ludwig was simply using existing parts. So it's curious as to why they used 10 lugs on this drum instead of only 8, which was customary for a Club Date style bass drum.

The natural hoops are nice though, with an interesting contrast of 'maple' on maple.


 
5 x 14" Snare

This is the most normal drum in the kit, with the familiar P85 throw-off, and chrome Classic lugs (also known as Jazz Festival lugs when used on a snare.)

All of the drums sound quite good: the snare has that familiar Ludwig mid-rangey 'bark', the kick has the perfect Ludwig thump, and the toms are clear and bright.


The badge uses the same blank as the Standard and Combo series... and a close-up of the rare, long Classic T-rod.

Ultimately, the drums weren't priced very competitively and not many sets were made, making this complete kit in near-mint condition very scarce indeed.


A cool transition kit!