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Rick Allen's Ludwig Drums

Hi Bill,

I have an old Modern Drummer article in which you went to visit Rick Allen of Def Leppard after his accident.
It says you were longtime personal friends.
I hope that you can help answer answer my question.

I got started playing drums because of Rick Allen back in 1982 when I was 11 yrs old. Bought a Rocker II set in 1984 too. Still have it.

Is there any way to find out the drum sizes that he ordered when he first got his Ludwig set back in 1980-1981?? Its the Chrome-O-Wood color with the Black Beauty Super Sensitive snare. All the toms are suspended by the Modular stands.

I met Rick last year at a Meet N Greet and he was a little put off by me wanting to recreate the set as a tribute to him. I have attached pics at the bottom. The Ludwig ad is from 1984. The article is from Modern Drummer. Its the configuration he used for the Pyromania tour.

The black & white photos along with the pic of him with the drumset "glowing" are from the High & Dry tour and its the setup as he, I believe, originally ordered it with the Ludwig Out Fitter system (pic with lead singer -cymbal stands are held in place by the bass drum shell.)

Thank you for any info,
Don Schiller
Reply:
Hi Don,

I am not sure of the exact sizes other then power toms and I would guess 13, 14 , 16 floor and I think he had a 24 bass drum. Sorry I do not have his original file. Thanks for your note and support of Not So Modern Drummer.

Take care,
Bill Ludwig III
Reply:
Hi Bill,
Thanks for your response. I really appreciate it.
-Don
Reply:
I too was a Rick Allen fan. It looks like he had 12,13,14,15 power toms and 16,18 floor toms. On the back cover of Pyromania there is a photo of him and it looks like he has the 4 toms across the front. On the pics you have, he has them set up very differently. I'm guessing a little later on the Pyromania tour (and subsequent videos) he switched to just the 12' & 13" toms without the bottom heads and still kept the outrigger cymbal stand on his right for a 16" Paiste rude crash.
Reply:
Hi LudwigFreak,
Thanks for the post. Nice to hear from a fellow Ludwig/Rick Allen fan.

Are you saying that the tom sizes are 12"x13", 13x14, 14x15 & 15x16?(length x width) or the other way around?

I always thought that his first tom (pyro) was 12 inches deep and 13 inches across. Again, it is starting to sound like its the other way around?

I do have a Modern Drummer Q&A with Rick from 1983 and Rick is asked what the sizes are for the Pyromania tour. His response is like yours. He doesnt list them in a length x width configuration.

I guess thats the big question Ive had all this time.
Thanks again for your input,
Don
Reply:
I was a huge Rick Allen fan and he was part of the reason I started playing (that, and I wanted to be Alex Van Halen with his gigantic drumsets, lol). As far as I can tell, he had 11x12, 12x13, 13x14, 14x15 toms and 16x16, 16x18 floor toms. For snares I've seen him with a couple different models. I've seen him with the chrome 6.5 Super Sensitive, and a 6.5 70's reissue Engraved Black Beauty. I remember the "Let It Go" video and he has that 4-rack-tom set-up. Later he just went to the 11x12, 12x13 toms across the front with bottom heads removed (and kept the same 16,18 floor toms). The bass drum appears to be a 16x22, that's what I would guess, but it could be a 16x24, it's hard to tell in some photos but it really doesn't look that big. In the early days, the "On Through the Night" era, he had a black Pearl concert tom setup, the concert tom sound is very prominent on songs like "Rock Brigade" & "Wasted". I've only seen one pic of that set and looked to have 12,13,14,15 concert toms in standard depth (8x12, 9x13, 10x14, 12x15) on clip mounts. That was probably the set he had when he joined the band, way before they were more than just a garage band. I am a true Ludwig fan as well, it's been the only brand I've ever had.
Reply:
Ludwigfreak,
Thanks for the info I really appreciate it. I was wondering if you knew the demise of that kit.

My understanding from Rick Allen's manager at Raven Drum was that Def Leppard's old management gave the drumset away. Do you have any info?

Also,
Pyromania's drums are computer generated from a Linn & Simmons drum not Rick actually playing except for cymbal crashesetc...

Thanks again,
Don
Reply:
I don't know whatever happened to those drums. If they were given away, I never heard of where or who they went to. You are correct, the Pyromania, and all their albums since, are electronic. That's about the time I stopped listening to Def Leppard, I just hated that electronic snare drum sound especially. I realize that sound is on their biggest selling albums ironically. I love the "On Through the Night" and High & Dry" albums, after that, the drum sound changed drastically. It's also ironic that the photo on the back of Pyromania shows Rick Allen with the Ludwig set, when it obviously wasn't used to record the album, which is a shame. A lot of bands at that time went to the electronic processed sounds, it was the lastest technology and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. That's another reason I can't listen to later ZZ Top albums. Their early stuff is great, the Eliminator album and later is a terrible drum sound (again, hugely selling albums). I consider Rick Allen to be influential in getting me started playing the drums, but I just can't listen to Def Leppard anymore, their sound is too processed and sampled.
Reply:
Hey Ludwigfreak,

I don't blame you on not wanting to listen to these bands after the drum sound turned electronic. In fact I THOUGHT Pyromania had real drums!! What can a 12 yr old know! lol I knew Hysteria had electronic drums on them.

Speaking of Hysteria, that was the first Def Leppard concert I went to in 87.
Too young to see Pyromania. I would have loved to see that and High & Dry tour as well.

Did you attend any of these concerts and if so what was your impression of them? Mainly did you see any with Rick before the accident? Also, Ive read where Joe Elliott has said that Rick is a better player after the accident but I think it was more of a lack of maturity on his drum skills. He became more controlled because of having to concentrate more on his playing.

Also, I had these pics and more with me when I was asking Rick questions about the kit. It was kinda weird watching him study the pics that showed both his arms. Yes, I contemplated showing them to him but they had been in my scrapbook since '83.
He told me that one of the toms which I guess was the 15x14, had broken on him and that he wound up using the suspended tom behind him in its place.(HIgh & Dry videos you see it up behind him). I also asked him why the kit got smaller for Pyro and he said that he got tired of luggin all the drums around. lol

-Don
Reply:
I saw Def Leppard when they were an opening band for Black Sabbath in 1981 when they were on tour supporting High-n-Dry. Rick Allen had the 4-toms-across-the-front set and a suspended tom up behind him. They only had about 30 mins to play but I thought they sounded great, they had a different sound than the heavy metal (yes, Def Leppard was considered Heavy Metal in those days) bands of the day. I was a big fan of Rick Allen so I was excited to see him live. Something that intrigued me about him was he was the only hard rock drummer then that played traditional grip. The picks you posted show the engraved Black Beauty snare he had from the late 70's. I don't really think Allen was a better drummer after the accident, I thought he was good before as well. What made him great is that he overcame a huge adversity in losing his arm, so I think that Joe Elliott (and the rest of the band and the drumming public at large) had a higher respect for him than before the accident. He may have viewed the pics of him with both arms as being "the guy I used to be" sort of thing, (it's been well over 20 years since the accident, he's been with one arm longer than he had two.) It's funny that he said he was tired of lugging all the drums around, in the early days that would have been very true. Pyromania was their breakthrough album and gave them huge sales, headlining status and frequent videos on MTV. By that time Rick Allen had secured a nice Ludwig endorsement and had a full road crew, including a drum tech to set up and maintain his drums. I still think that Def Leppard writes good songs and are a great band, it's the highly processed and looped drum sounds that turn me off to their music. Very cool that you got to meet him though, I would still love to meet him.

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