Hands-On Review:Fab Four and Zep Set drum kits

By D.J. Adams

Like the classics? If so, you’re gonna love Ludwig’s Classic Maple kits. The Fab Four four-piece set combines today’s technology with the cool ’60s style of Ringo Starr’s history-making Ludwig outfit.

Then there’s the powerful new five-piece Zep Set. With its big bass drum and dual floor toms, it’s true to the original Ludwig kit played by legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

Play a piece of history

It has been called the most important event in the history of rock music and Ludwig was right there.

The date was Sunday, February 9, 1964, at 8 p.m. (ET). An unprecedented audience of 73 million excited Americans huddled around their glowing Philco and RCA sets to behold the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. On a “mod” elevated round stage, behind his three mop-topped mates from Liverpool, Ringo Starr sat behind a gorgeous four-piece Ludwig set. Ringo swung outsome rock-steady rhythm to Beatles’ hits including ”All My Loving,” ”Till There Was You,” ”She Loves You,” ”I Saw Her Standing There,” and ”I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

The rest is rock history, but it was just another great chapter in the history of Ludwig. For the Ludwig name had already been on quality drum products since 1901.

The new Fab Four Classic Maple kit is going to make history again and you can easily own one.

You’ll love it, yeah, yeah, yeah


These are beautifully crafted drums. They feature stunning maple shells and are available in over 24 different finishes. The Ludwig 800-series hardware is sturdy and finished flawlessly.

The classic Weather Master heads and Mini-Classic lugs (Classic or long lugs are an option) will easily let you tune the drums to your particular preference. But you can bet your best backbeat you’ll be able to reproduce that vintage big ’60s sound. The 14” x 20” bass drum does an exceptional job of delivering that big, booming muffled attack and expanded decay. The two toms are virtually overtone free and quite responsive.

The 6” deep wood snare drum is a real jewel. Its shell resonance is bright and controlled. The Supra-Phonic strainer adds just the right touch of ’60s sizzle to the sound.

Whole lotta love for this set too

Another of Ludwig’s Classic masterpieces in Maple is the Zep Set. It’s a kit that’s fit for a posthumous tribute to metal master John Bonham.

Not only is the Zep Set configured much like Bonzo’s original Ludwig kit (before the clear Ludwig Vista Lites he later played), it’s apparently built to deliver the kind of power and projection that made the Led Zeppelin drummer a real rock pioneer.

With blazing bass-drum barrages, punishing tom strokes, and explosive snare licks, Bonham deftly moved the groove laid down by bassist John Paul Jones. Bonham played “big” and Ludwig’s new Zep Set is made to project that kind of work. You get that huge 26” bass drum, 18” and 16” floor toms, a mounted 14” tom and a magnificent 6-1/2”-deep, 14” Supra-Phonic snare in brilliant polished metal.

The 9-ply/6mm maple shells are available in the same marvelous finishes as the Fab Four kit. The Ludwig 900 series hardware is first rate and ready to rock.


American beauties

Both the Fab Four and the John Bonham-inspired Zep Set are musical marvels that are manufactured in Ludwig’s Monroe, NC, plant. As you would expect from a drum-making legend like Ludwig, the finish, fit, and sonic integrity of these sets is impeccable. They are a must-have for gigging drum artists and collectors with a flair for the nostalgic. Because of the modern design technology employed, you can tune these sets to suit whatever style of music you’re playing. But the classic looks are simply timeless.

Musician’s Friend is the new Ludwig King

Musician’s Friend now has a full line of Ludwig drum kits. Plus all the cymbals and accessories you need. Call or click by your friend’s place for your Ludwig connection. They’re in stock and ready to ship.

Features & Specs

L8004LM Fab Four Kit

  • 14" x 20" bass
  • 14" x 14" floor tom
  • 8" x 12" tom
  • 5" x 14" wood snare drum
  • White, coated Ludwig Weather Master heads
  • Mini-Classic lugs
  • Disappearing bass drum spurs
  • LM822SSL low snare stand
  • LM826C cymbal stand
  • LM836MBS boom stand
  • LM817HH hi-hat stand
  • L201 foot pedal
  • 2981MT single tom holder

L8264LM Zep Set John Bonham Kit

  • 14" x 26" bass
  • 16" x 18" floor tom
  • 16" x 16" floor tom
  • 12" x 14" tom
  • 6-1/2" x 14" metal snare drum
  • White, coated Ludwig Weather Master heads
  • Mini-Classic lugs
  • Bass spurs
  • Two LM922SSL snare stands
  • Three LM922SSL cymbal stands
  • LM817HH hi-hat stand
  • L201 foot pedal