1964 Ludwig Super Classic Oyster Black Pearl

  Kit Number 4

1964 Ludwig Super Classic Oyster Black Pearl Kit No. 3


After the Beatles first visit to the US, the Ludwig Drum Company assigned Dick Schory to be the liaison between Drum City and Brian Epstein. Dick explained to me the growing concern about the band’s upcoming tour, performing in large non theater venues that were not the norm for that time. Ludwig sent larger sized drums for Ringo to try, looking for something that would project more sound. Ringo decided on a Super Classic model. The oyster black pearl kit along with another Jazz Festival was shipped to Drum City. Upon arrival, the Ludwig tom mounting bracket and consolette were removed and a Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mount was installed. In addition, the front bass drumhead was replaced with a new Beatles drop-T logo head.

This kit became the studio work horse until the maple kit.

Ringo’s 1964 Ludwig Super Classic drum kit. This photo was taken in the basement of Drum City, just prior to it being delivered to Ringo at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London on May 31, 1964. The little boy behind the kit is the son of Ivor Arbiter, owner of Drum City Ltd.

Unique oyster black pearl swirl pattern

Keystone badges (16"x16" floor tom has the Keystone badge positioned in the center of the drum)

3-ply mahogany/poplar/mahogany shells with white painted interiors

Baseball bat tone controllers with red or white felt tone control pads (Ludwig changed from red to white early in ’64)

Threaded mount casing with wing-bolt (P-1672)  

16.5” floor tom legs with knurled stems 

Fold out bass drum spurs with knurled stems (P-1305)

Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mount assembly         

Chrome over brass (COB) tom rims

1964 Super Classic Kit


9”x13 - Tom (Keystone badge # 33649 / No stamp date found)

16”x16” - Floor Tom (Keystone badge # 33571 / No stamp date found)

14”x22” - Bass Drum (Keystone badge # 89896 / No stamp date found)                

Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie
Photo: Scott Robert Ritchie
Photo: Gary Astridge

What a surprise.  When I removed to top drumhead from the tom, I was shocked to see this business card inside of the shell. It was there for 50 years (and still is in the drum). 

Here’s a photo of Dave Golding when I met him in Manchester, England when I was giving a talk at the UK Drum Show. Also shown is legendary drummer, Roy Holiday.

Photo: Gary Astridge

Ringo took possession of this kit on May 31, 1964. Except for The Beatles 1965 tour, He used this kit exclusively through September 11, 1968, at which time he began using his Ludwig Hollywood maple kit. In addition to studio work, this appears in the majority of tours and promotional videos.

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Photo: Gary Astridge

Interesting details: Here is a great photo showing the two Rogers tom mounts on Ringo's bass drum. I thought it interesting that the existing holes from the original Ludwig consolette rail mount were not used. 

Scott Robert Ritchie
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