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1963 Ludwig Downbeat
Oyster Black Pearl

Kit Number 2

Gary Astridge with Ringo's 1963 Downbeat kit in Jim Irsay's office
She Loves You | Take 10

Photo taken in the office of Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts & of Ringo's first Ludwig drum kit. He made the purchase through Julien's Auction House on December 5, 2015 for $2.1 million.

Ringo Starr's 1963 Ludwig oyster black pearl Downbeat drum kit. Historian Gary Astridge
Long Tall Sally (Live)
Drum City Store Front. Historian Gary Astridge

I think that we've all heard the story dating back to early 1963 when Brian Epstein and Ringo Starr went to the Drum City music shop on 114 Shaftesbury Avenue in London to purchase a new drum kit for Ringo. Drum City was owned by Ivor Arbiter and was London's new Ludwig distributor. The condensed version is that Ringo was drawn to the American made Ludwig drum kit that he saw in the shop. In a conversation, Ringo stated that he wanted the smaller sized kit. In addition, he opted for a Jazz Festival snare drum, which had to be ordered. When asked why he chose a Jazz Fest over the traditional 4x14 Downbeat, e said that he wanted a deeper sound for the studio. 55 years later he would learn that his supposed 5x14 Jazz Festival was actually 5.5x14.

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie

Here's Ringo telling the story of that day as he remembers it, click on the Drum City photo.

Ringo playing his 1963 Ludwig drum kit for the first time. May 12, 1963. Historian Lecturer Gary Astridge
Ringo Starr playing his 1963 Ludwig Downbeat drum kit. Historian Lecturer Gary Astridge
1963 Ludwig Downbeat 
  • 5.5"x 14" Jazz Festival snare drum (Pre-serial Keystone badge / Red ink stamp date: APR 18 1963)
  • 8"x12" Tom
  • 14"x14" Floor Tom
  • 14"x20" Bass Drum (clear interior)
  • 3-ply Shells Snare, tom, floor tom: Mahogany / Poplar / Mahogany w/ white interiors. Bass: Mahogany / Poplar / Maple w/ natural interior

Ringo took possession of his new Ludwig drum set on May 12, 1963. The kit was delivered by Gerry Evans (store manager) and Mark Goodwin of Drum City to the Alpha Television Studios in Aston, Birmingham, Warwickshire. The Beatles were making their first appearance as headliners on Thank Your Lucky Stars. Ringo last used his Premier kit during the rehearsal and he Ludwig kit for the performance.

Ringo Starr's 1963 Ludwig Downbeat model Beatle drum kit. Historian Lecturer Gary Astridge

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie

Roll Over Beethoven | Oct 24 1963
Ringo Starr's 1963 Ludwig Downbeat model Beatles kit. Historian Lecturer Gary Astridge

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie

  • Speed King bass drum pedal (Model 201)
  • Flat base cymbal stand (Model 1400) [1]
  • An Olympic cymbal stand was also used
  • Flat base snare drum stand (Model 1363)
  • Flat base hi-hat stand (Model 1121)
  • Bass drum anchor (Walberg & Auge Model 1304)
  • Premier drum stool (Model 245) 
Note: Photo evidence indicates that only one Ludwig model 1400 cymbal stand may have been purchased with the first Ludwig kit. You can see Olympic cymbal stands also being used.

The original Ludwig consolette tom mounting bracket was never swapped out for a Rogers Swivomatic on this drum kit. 

Ringo's 1963 Ludwig Downbeat Tom mount

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