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 1960ís Serial Number Time Chart #1
DATE
SERIAL NUMBER
1960 to late 1963
no serial numbers used
February 24, 1964
12,219
April, 1964
31,505
April, 1965
142,581
July 6, 1965
171,268
October, 1965
233,838
March 19, 1966
308,863
August 30, 1966
361,292
November, 1966
390,690
March, 1967
427,211
June, 1967
493,426
November 15, 1967
519,728
February 6, 1968
578,990
June 21, 1968
604,865
November, 1968
650,521
January, 1969
673,078
February 26, 1969
689,430
September 4, 1969
743,080

Ludwig 1960ís Serial Number Time Chart #2
DATE
SERIAL NUMBER
1960 to late 1963
no serial numbers used
1964
0 – 133,000
1965
133,000 – 266,000
1966
266,000 – 399,000
1967
399,000 – 532,000
1968
532,000 – 665,000
1969
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 Drummer.com dating guide from their web site. Only presented because the web site has been going down so I wanted it documented here


Date Stamp by Year 1964

Serial Number Date Stamp

11362 2/10/64

15429 1/1/64

16860 3/12/64

19878 3/27/64

24024 4/20/64

71265 1/1/64

71488 1/1/64

72614 1/1/64

169647 1/1/64

267000 1/1/64

Date Stamp by Year 1965

Serial Number Date Stamp

108532 3/4/65

113969 3/1/65

114352 3/20/65

119267 1/1/65

122886 3/29/65

125635 1/1/65

155995 5/12/65

162700 6/8/65

184550 1/1/65

191777 6/8/65

195136 8/17/65

204494 9/13/65

226553 11/8/65


227491 10/1/65

228807 10/1/65

235091 9/23/65

252471 12/23/65

285700 1/1/65

291252 4/2/65

Date Stamp by Year 1966

Serial Number Date Stamp

268069 7/11/66

297582 2/10/66

311970 2/5/66

340798 1/1/66

351000 7/11/66

355000 8/2/66

389304 12/1/66

410265 9/1/66

419380 11/19/66

419900 11/14/66

449000 9/1/66

Date Stamp by Year 1967

Serial Number Date Stamp

397602 1/1/67

398288 1/1/67

436913 1/1/67

443000 1/30/67

466000 3/2/67

475412 2/28/67

493306 1/1/67

498000 1/30/67

517910 11/24/67

530903 8/16/67

552184 11/3/67

565135 12/29/67

Date Stamp by Year 1968

Serial Number Date Stamp

506371 11/2/68

562746 1/9/68

572335 2/6/68

588893 3/11/68

590071 3/14/68

590726 1/1/68

591310 1/1/68

607284 1/1/68

607288 1/1/68

607835 3/15/68

615915 5/20/68

656661 1/1/68

Date Stamp by Year 1969

Serial Number Date Stamp

673408 1/31/69

702661 1/1/69

709198 9/12/69

Date Stamp by Year 1970

Serial Number Date Stamp

802966 9/8/70

Date Stamp by Year 1971

Serial Number Date Stamp

816700 4/8/71

910000 1/1/71

 

Rebeats.com 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
1963 No Numbers - 7900
1964 9xxx - 33449
1965 108532 - 259xxx
1966 260xxx - 449xxx
1967 450xxx - 548xxx
1968 549xxx - 665372
1969 670xxx - 741215
Blue & Olive Badges  
1969 765xxx - 834xxx
1970 out of sequence,unnunmered
1971 835xxx - 895xxx
1972 896xxx - 916xxx
1976 917xxx - 1290xxx
1978 xxxxxxx
1979 xxxxxxx - 2013537

 










This web site is dedicated to the history of vintage drums. Slingerland Drum History, Ludwig Drum History, Rogers Drum History, Leedy Drum History, Gretsch Drum History, Fibes Drum History, Camco Drum History, Premier Drum History, Tama Drum History, Yamaha Drum History, Sonor Drum History, Royal Drum History. There are sections for Serial Numbers, Cleaning Vintage Drums, Vintage Snare Drum Catalog Pages, Vintage Drum Set Catalog Pages, Drum Badges, Drum Finishes, Drum Hardware.


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