Ringo's 1964 Ludwig Downbeat "Ed Sullivan" Kit

Kit Number 3

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie

Filming for the movie A Hard Day’s Night was scheduled beginning on March 2, 1964. It was decided that a second Ludwig drum kit (identical to what Ringo was using) be purchased while the Beatles were in the US. The thought was to have one drum kit on the movie set for filming while the other was used for performances and in the recording studio. This drum kit was purchased from the Ludwig Drum Company through Drum City in London with instructions to deliver to Manny’s Music Store, West 48th Street in Midtown Manhattan. Ringo travelled bringing his 1963 Jazz Festival snare drum, his cymbals and a new Beatles drop-T logo bass drumhead. The kit was delivered to CBS-TV Studio 50 in time for the Sunday morning, February 9th dress rehearsal. For some unknown reason, there wasn’t enough time to install the Beatles logo head.


Notice that the tom was installed upside down. For those unaware, the baseball bat muffler (circled in red) should be on the top side of the drum, not the bottom. Theories include Mal Evans making an honest mistake or it is possible at regulations may have required a stagehand to assemble the kit. Once the top head was marked from being hit, it was kept in the same position for all performances.


Interesting Tidbits

Going from left to right, you get a great view of the Ludwig timpani stool, which, by the way, was property of the Ed Sullivan Show. Notice the soft-side cushion. Later models had a hard side cushion which was designed to lengthen the wear of the seat. Next, we see the obvious, Ringo's 1963 Jazz Festival with a well-used batter head. And finally, you can easily see the Ludwig / Manny's music store stamps on the tom and floor tom. NOTE: The group of colored photos taken at this rehearsal gave a blue tint to Ringo's drums and lead many to believe that he had an Oyster Blue Pearl kit. You have to take into account that people first saw The Beatles on television in black & white and only had magazine photos to go by. If Ludwig didn't offer both Blue and Black Oyster Pearl options, there would have been such a controversy.  When Manny's Music Store delivered the kit, they took the liberty of imprinting their store logo on each tom head under the Ludwig Weather Master logo. You can clearly see them in the Miami practice photo above.


A Second Bass Drum Anchor for The Ed Sullivan Show 


When Ringo played on the Ed Sullivan Show, little did most of us know that a stage anchor bolt was secured to the riser platform in front of his bass drum to prevent the drum from sliding forward.

Most of us are aware of the Walberg & Auge, model 1304 bass drum anchor plainly seen in front of Ringo's kit on the Beatles' Ed Sullivan performance. Interestingly enough, not many are aware that a stage anchor was screwed into the riser directly alongside the Walberg & Auge.

This is a top view of Ringo's "Sullivan kit" bass drum. I wanted to point out how the Rogers Swiv-O-Matic bracket was installed. Once the original Ludwig Rail Consolette tom mounting bracket was removed, four new holes (2 small and 1 large) were drilled to accommodate the Rogers mounting bracket. The mount was positioned using one of the original holes indicated by the green arrow.

Here's what I found clever: the unused existing holes were filled by first inserting a metal sleeve which was the depth of the shell. Next, cymbal rivets were inserted into the sleeves and the prong ends of the rivets were opened to hold them snuggly in place.


Ringo's Ludwig Downbeat kits have many drum shell hardware details in common.  The 8" x 12" tom and the 14" x 14" floor tom both use a P-4067 "Baseball Bat" tone control with red felt.  The P-1672 mounting bracket features a wing bolt that screws into the casing. This bracket was used as follows:  To secure the three legs on the 14" x 14" floor tom; as a cymbal mounting bracket on the bass drum; and as mounting brackets for the bass drums spurs.  Though both drum kits incorporated this bracket as a tom mount when new, the second kit was retro-fitted with a Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mount.


The bass drum spurs and floor tom legs also used a knurled texture surface in the area where they inserted into the mounting brackets.



Speed King bass drum pedal (Model 201)

Flat base cymbal stand (Model 1400) A Premier Lockfast cymbal stand was sometimes used in place of a Ludwig model 1400

Flat base snare drum stand (Model 1363)

Spurlock Direct-Pull hi-hat stand (Model 1123)

Bass drum anchor (Walberg & Auge Model 1304)

Buck Roger's snare stand (Model 1358)

Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mounting bracket (At some point after the Beatles returned to the UK after their first US visit and the filming of A Hard Day's Night, the traditional Ludwig consolette tom mount was removed and replaced with the Swiv-o-matic.)

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5"x14" Jazz Festival snare drum (Keystone badge # 6734 / Red Stamp Date: JAN 3 1964) [More information on this drum can be found in Other Percussion]

8"x12" Tom (Keystone badge # 6677 / Stamp date: ?)

14"x14" Floor Tom (Keystone badge # 6642 / Stamp date: ?)

14"x20" Bass Drum (Keystone badge # 7321 / Stamp date: ?)

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie

It is fitting to see Ringo at his Ringo: Peace & Love exhibit at the Grammy Museum in LA in 2013. This photo goes very deep in remembering that 73 million people saw him playing that very drum kit on February 9, 1964.


When the Beatles returned to the UK after their first US visit and just prior to the filming of A Hard Day’s Night, all original drumheads were removed (excluding Ringo’s Jazz Festival), and new heads were installed including a new Beatles Drop-T logo front head (#3). At the same time, a Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mount was installed. This kit was retired after the filming of the movie.




On February 16, 1964 The Beatles also performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in the Napoleon Ballroom at the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. I took this photo from Ringo's spot on the stage to give you a different perspective.

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