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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.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.
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, individual owners may have trimmed the badges themselves, so consulting a serial number will provide a better gauge on the drum.
The “Black & White” badge was introduced with Ludwig’s Rocker series which ran from 1984 through the mid '90s.
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.