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  1. Ignore me!

    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Elgin, TX.
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    How about a discussion about which timpani just aren't worth buying? I'll vote straight up for Ludwig. I don't think they have made a decent product in about 20 years.

    One of the groups I play in is currently rehearsing at a middle school. They have a brand new set of Ludwig Hammered Bowls...which produce the most unfocused pitch I've ever heard. The drums seemed to have arrived not even tuned into the standard ranges. After much work with a pull-down gauge and a tuner the bottom 3 drums finally now sit in normal ranges, but still don't sound "clear". The 23" drum was shipped with the high pitch topping out at a D, and now when tuned properly from D-A (or B as Ludwig suggests) the low pitch D is way too floppy. I'm guessing that the head is ruined. Oh, did I mention these timps sound like ***? Maybe I'm just spoiled by using quality instruments like the Adams Professional or the Yamaha TP-6200.
    "I don't give advice. Professionals don't need it and amatuers won't listen." - Vida Chenoweth

  2. Rogue Ex-Mod

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    Well, I'll say a few things about this. They still claim there are more Standard Symphonic Ludwig Timpani in use today than all other brands and models combined. This is actually probably true, however, those are not great drums. Ludwig is still by far the most common brand in High Schools and Junior Highs and they play a key role in the history and development of modern drums. They offer drums at a reasonable price and I've found from working with them over the past few years that they offer their customers and reatailers EXCELLENT service.

    Also, it's important to note that the Professional Hammered Copper drums are not supposed to sound "clear". If you want that sound, you're better off with smooth copper. The hammering is going to cause the sound to be darker and less focused. Of course, that might not be what you mean... you might mean they sound like junk, so I apologize if I'm not reading your post correctly. I've used a lot of really old Ludwigs in my day and most of them were not that great. I don't think you can say they "aren't worth buying" as they are often the best option, in their price range, for schools or other places on a tight budget. However, I will agree that they are not the best sounding drums and if you're really serious about timpani, it's best to look towards Adams or Yamaha.
    My One-Of-A-Kind Masters Premium BRP in #197: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/sh...d.php?t=216550

    Pearl - Ludwig - Zildjian - Sabian - Remo - Evans - Vic Firth

  3. Ignore me!

    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Elgin, TX.
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    Allow me to clarify. I have taught in public schools for 16 years. In that time I have used almost all currently available timpani, everything from Ludwig, Yamaha and Adams. Heck, before that I was a percussion buyer in for a large school educational supplier in Texas. I personally sold at least 20 different sets of timpani during that time and often traveled to set them up once on location. I do agree that Ludwig standard series is the most widely used timpani in schools, but I strongly also think that most other manufacturers produce better quality instruments for the price.

    When I say "clear" I'm referring to the ability of an instrument to produce a round fundamental pitch. After you set up a new drum into the correct tuning ranges, use a pull-down gauge to have a good starting point and tune around the head using a strobe tuner most drums will pitch-up accurately. Timpani do have a weird overtone series (which is one reason inexperienced players tent to tune sharp) that emphasizes the upper overtones. That is the beauty of the timpani sound. Fundamental pitch with overtones that blend with the ensemble to produce a beautiful sonority. Think about what sets a Grover super overtone triangle apart from a LP triangle...even when played with good technique and an appropriate beater one of them will sound better than the other. Anyway, I'm familiar with good, and in some cases outstanding timpani sounds.

    My rant from above has more to do with a brand new console, that arrived in what I considered to be an unusable condition. Heck, if it took me 2 hours with a tuner, pull-down gauge, a block of wood, a timpani key and a regular drum key to even get 3 of those drums to sound decent how in the world is your average 7th grader even supposed to learn how to tune and play that same set of drums? Easy answer...they wont.

    Just my $0.02 worth. Sorry for derailing the thread.

    Now back to regularly scheduled programming...
    "I don't give advice. Professionals don't need it and amatuers won't listen." - Vida Chenoweth

  4. Rogue Ex-Mod

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    No problem! I really liked both of your posts. You make some excellent points. I agree with you that if something is hard for US to set up... how in the world would you expect your average wind player/band director or young percussionist to figure it out? It shouldn't take that long to get a good sound, it does sound like something is wrong with those drums...
    Last edited by David Hollywood; 02-12-2009 at 10:52 AM.
    My One-Of-A-Kind Masters Premium BRP in #197: http://www.pearldrummersforum.com/sh...d.php?t=216550

    Pearl - Ludwig - Zildjian - Sabian - Remo - Evans - Vic Firth

  5. Registered User

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Great Timpanist, and teacher

    Many of these, "Modern", timpanists were taught by the master, Gerald Carlyss. But the greatest in my opinion, Goodman, Duff, Hinger in that order, but only for the US players. I don't know any of the European or South American players. I will put Mr. Firth in the lead for running a successful percussion business, but you gotta remove the pepper grinders from his sales numbers. If you need a guy to do the job right, TODAY, in the US, you gotta call Tafoya.
    bjeadeh

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