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1967 Ludwig Hollywood
Thermogloss Maple Kit

Kit Number 6

Ringo Let It Be sessions

When the Let It Be movie and album came out, not seeing Ringo behind an Oyster Black Pearl drum kit was a shock to many. The big question was why Ringo switched from his traditional four-piece drum kit to a five-piece maple finish drum kit. Ringo told me that he wanted a different kit, it’s that simple. 


According to Mal Evans, on Tuesday, September 10, 1968, he and Ringo went to Drum City to select a new drum kit. Mal said that Ringo chose a new wood finish over glitter. Ringo took possession of his 1967 Ludwig Hollywood Thermogloss Maple finish drum kit the following day, September 11, 1968, the same day The Beatles started work recording the song, “Glass Onion”. It was delivered by Drum City and came with a Ludwig Supraphonic snare drum, which Ringo set aside in favor of using his original 1963 Jazz Festival snare drum.


Perhaps best recognized from The Beatles’ Apple Corps rooftop concert in the original Let It Be movie, and the more recent Get Back documentary, the ’67 Ludwig Hollywood kit was used for the tail end of The Beatles’ White Album, along with the Let It Be and Abbey Road albums.


Earlier in 1968, when The Beatles traveled to Rishikesh, India, to study transcendental meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, musician Donovan Leitch was in attendance. There, Donovan shared a thought with John, Paul, and George, telling them that a guitar sounded better without a heavy finish. After returning to London, during sessions for the self-titled White Album, both John Lennon and George Harrison had the finishes removed from their Epiphone Casino model guitars. George said that once they’d removed the finish, they became much better guitars. “I think that works on a lot of guitars,” he explained. “If you take the paint and varnish off and get the bare wood, it seems to sort of breathe.” Paul followed suit by removing the finish from his Rickenbacker bass guitar. Ringo’s new Ludwig Hollywood kit, with a natural maple finish, was in keeping with this more organic approach.

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Modern Drummer Magazine
1967 Ludwig Hollywood

Scott Robert Ritchie

Sonor drum stool

Ringo used a few drum stools with improvised backrests during the Get Back / Let It Be sessions. He later used this Sonor model during the recording of Abbey Road.

1967 Ludwig Hollywood
  • 8"x12" - Tom (Keystone badge # 469170 / Black stamp date: MAR 24 1967)
  • 9"x13" - Tom (Keystone badge # 464609 / Black stamp date: MAR 28 1967)
  • 16"x16" - Floor Tom (Keystone badge # 466825 / Black Stamp Date: )
  • 14"x22" - Bass Drum (Keystone badge # 470730 / Black stamp date: MAR 24 1967)
  • 3-ply Shells w/ white interiors. Snare, 2 toms, floor tom, bass: Maple / Poplar / Mahogany
More Details
All toms have Chrome Over Brass (COB) rims
Cotton was found inside of the top lugs of the 16"x16" floor tom
A Drum City label was found inside of the bass drum shell. It is located at the top front next to the reinforcement ring
1967 Ludwig Hollywood Maple drum kit7 Ludwig Hollywood maple drum kit. Historian Lecturer Gary Astridge

Scott Robert Ritchie

Sixties Ludwig Hollywood model drum kit.
Beatles Roof Top, January 30, 1969
Don't Let Me Down - Drums
Beatles Roof Top, January 30, 1969

The Let It Be album / movie project was originally called Get Back. They, meaning The Beatles, wanted everything to be like it was in the beginning, very “NATURAL” and recorded live with minimal editing and post-production work. John apparently was adamant about this.

A nice rear view of Ringo behind his Maple kit. The backrest on his seat is homemade. During the Abbey Road album sessions, Ringo began using a Sonor stool.

Apple recording studio
Ludwig Calfskin Heads

Well used Ludwig Weather Master drumheads.

The arrow is pointing at the flesh hoop, which is part of the bass drums batter calfskin head. Ringo still has his original calfskin heads.

Ringo's 1967 Ludwig maple kit Abbey Road session
Ringo Starr with 1967 Ludwig Hollywood kit recording B. B. King Live In Lonon
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

Ringo during the Abbey Road recording session.

Ringo Starr Concert for Bangeladesh

Ringo played on B.B. Kings "B.B. King - In London."

Concert for Bangeladesh

1972 - Ringo used his Maple kit at the Concert For Bangladesh.

Ringo's 1967 Ludwig MapleToms - Zak Starkey.

Here's an interesting photo of Ringo's son, Zak, using the toms from the maple kit, post Beatles.

Ringo's Ludwig Maple kit Choose Love sessions

2005 - Ringo Recording Choose Love

Ludwig dual tom post
Ludwig dual tom post

Here is the top section of Ringo's
Ludwig dual tom mount stand, I found it by sheer luck, in a box filled with late-model Ludwig hardware.
In the above photo, I am pointing to the markings that indicate the position of the post to the base mount stand.

I also noticed that the post was cleanly cut at the top of the tenth hole. By removing 4.5" from the post, it could be inserted into the bass drum's center post mount.

Ludwig dual tom post
Ringo's maple kit at the Grammy Museum 6
I Me Mine - Drums

2013 - Ringo: Peace & Love exhibit. Here's the Hollywood kit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, CA before the protective safety glass was installed.

Ringo's 1967 Ludwig Maple Hollywood road
Ringo's 1967 Ludwig Maple Hollywood bass

Today, as with the other three Beatles drum kits that Ringo has in his position, all are safe and sound in their own custom drum cases. All kits  are housed in a highly secured temperature and humidity-controlled vault.

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