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New Ludwig Element SE Retro series


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#1 doop

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 05:54 PM

Hi all  --

Wondering what you all think of the new kits introduced this summer by Ludwig.  They replicate three vintage configurations from the mid-late 60s -- including John's famous Mod Orange kit, the Downbeat.  You can get them in Mod Orange, Citrus Mod, or Psychedelic Red.  The shells are a new hybrid developed by Ludwig -- cherry and gum wood -- to mimic vintage Ludwigs.  The price is amazing and from everything I've been finding online, so is the sound.

I've been wanting to put together a custom replica of John's Mod Orange kit, and now you can buy one off the shelf!  Here are some pics:

New Hollywood configuration in Mod Orange



Downbeat configuration (John's kit:  8x12, 14x14, 14x20) in Citrus Mod



They come with a 5x14 wooden snare -- same size, but not the Supraphonic metal snare.

Here are some links:

Ludwig Retro series page

Drum Center of Portsmouth touts the kit

John "Bermuda" Schwartz of Weird Al test drives at NAMM

Sound demo on YouTube

So check them out.  I'll be buying the Mod Orange Downbeats soon!

-- Doop






#2 mod orange

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Posted 24 September 2009 - 11:28 AM

I think it is great. I think John should have one!

#3 mod orange

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:14 AM

Hey Doop. I have been scoping those kits out as well. I am on the fence. I, like yourself am fanatical about Johns mod orange set. I already have a 1969 22,13,16 with the original supra in mod orange but have always loved the downbeat set like John had. I ordered a 20,12,14 classic maple set in the mod reissue back in 2004 and even got a matching snare and canister throne. I love the set but am now considering selling it and ordering a legacy set using the new wrap from jammin sams. I could get small keystone badges, add a vintage rail and make the set just like John's.

My problem is that I would probobly spend a fortune doing this when I could just get the element set for WAY cheaper. The element set is not exactly right in terms of hardware but it looks pretty damn cool! Part of me thinks it would be the cats ass to have a legacy in new mod orange. I would definately have to sell some stuff to make this happen. I think my wife thinks I am crazy! I am a true nut for mod orange and had wanted a set since 1988 when I saw the video of the Doors at the Hollywood bowl. Of coarse back then I had no clue how rare this set was. What do you think?

I have also thought about adding a cymbal mount to one of those element sets  if I were to buy one. here is my set on CL NH.

http://nh.craigslist.org/msg/1384724476.html

#4 doop

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:46 AM

QUOTE (mod orange @ Oct 9 2009, 11:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hey Doop. I have been scoping those kits out as well. I am on the fence. I, like yourself am fanatical about Johns mod orange set. I already have a 1969 22,13,16 with the original supra in mod orange but have always loved the downbeat set like John had. I ordered a 20,12,14 classic maple set in the mod reissue back in 2004 and even got a matching snare and canister throne. I love the set but am now considering selling it and ordering a legacy set using the new wrap from jammin sams. I could get small keystone badges, add a vintage rail and make the set just like John's.

My problem is that I would probobly spend a fortune doing this when I could just get the element set for WAY cheaper. The element set is not exactly right in terms of hardware but it looks pretty damn cool! Part of me thinks it would be the cats ass to have a legacy in new mod orange. I would definately have to sell some stuff to make this happen. I think my wife thinks I am crazy! I am a true nut for mod orange and had wanted a set since 1988 when I saw the video of the Doors at the Hollywood bowl. Of coarse back then I had no clue how rare this set was. What do you think?

I have also thought about adding a cymbal mount to one of those element sets  if I were to buy one. here is my set on CL NH.

http://nh.craigslist.org/msg/1384724476.html


We're on the same wavelength, man!  I decided to order one of the Element SEs -- just finalized it yesterday, and I should be receiving it next week.  And like you, I'm planning to retro fit a bass cymbal stand.  I spent about three weeks researching everything I could find on the Elements, which wasn't a ton, but the buzz is they sound awesome.  You're right, the hardware isn't exactly right, but it's close.  For now, this is the ticket for me as I'm getting back into drumming after a long hiatus.  I sold all my equipment about 8 years ago and have nary a stick now!  The price point was too good to pass up.  And the novelty was too much to resist -- not only that it's something of a replica of John's kit, but the new cherry/gum wood hybrid, and the fact that it's a limited edition -- they won't be around long.

But my longer term plan is that the SE would become a gigging kit (if I gig) and I would later get a Classic Maple in the Jammin Sam wrap, which I just recently discovered.  You probably know this already, but it's the same exact wrap that Ludwig is putting on the Elements.  I called and talked to Jammin Sam himself, and he confirmed that Ludwig is getting the Element wrap from the same supplier.  I also just recently realized that you could provide Ludwig with your own wrap on custom kits.  So yeah, that's the dream -- get a custom-wrapped higher end kit that never leaves the house, and play out with the SEs.

Can you get custom wraps on the Legacy kits, too?  What's the difference between the Legacy and Classic Maple?  Is the Legacy pricier than Classic Maple?

If you get your price for your other kit, you'd be well on your way to replacing it!  And you'll be much happier with the vastly improved color!

-- Doop

#5 mod orange

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:24 AM

Doop, the difference in classic maples and Legacies are the shells. Classic maple drums have a large keystone Monroe badge and a 7-ply maple shell. The Legacy has a small keystone like the 60's and utilizes a three ply shell with re-rings like the old 60's-70's sets. It is very close to replicating a set like John's. Ludwig used white paint inside the shells from 1961-1968 and John's set was made in 1967 thus having white paint. The legacies have a maple interior like the drums from 1968-1976. I want to make a replica as close to Johns as possible minus the white paint. We'll see what I plan to do. I do love my classic maple set and they sound great but I would love to make a set with jammin sams version. Do you have an idea what it costs for the element set? I am guessing it will be in the $2500-3000 range for me to make a legacy set in jammin sma's mod orange. Ludwig will do a customer supplied wrap on legacies. Hopefully something of mine sells. There are a lot of tire kicker idiots on craigslist. Let me know how you like the elements. Would certainly be a lot cheaper for me to go that route!

#6 doop

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 08:29 AM

Hey Kurt --

The list price on the Elements is $1,200, but the "street" price is $780.  I'm getting mine for $750 delivered.  I'm getting hardware and cymbals as well, so the whole outfit is costing me about $2,000, but the drums alone are pretty reasonable (actually, the whole outfit is reasonable -- I'm getting a great deal all around).  I did get a quote on a classic maple kit for the Downbeat-sized bass, floor tom, and ride tom, plus an additional tom I want to add -- 10" to the left of the 12".  The list price on those four drums is about $2,800 or $2,900, but the quote I got was for about $1,450.  Throw on the Jammin Sam wrap, which is probably about $200-$250, and add a Supraphonic, which is another $400 or so, and I figure I'm in the neighborhood of $2,000+ if I get that shell set.

I guess in the end my replica won't be exact, but it will have everything that was part of the original kit, plus the tom, and probably a second ride cymbal on a stand.  I'm leaning heavily toward Sabian HHX Evolutions for the Elements, but maybe would do Zildjian Ks for the custom kit.  I want to use Zildjians like John, but the Sabians sound awesome.  And right now, Ks are out of my price range!

I appreciate the information on the Legacy kits, because I'd also want the higher-end, stay-at-home kit to be as close to a replica as possible, even with my additional personalizations.  I'm going to have to look into that.  Are the Legacy's all maple or a maple/birch or maple/poplar?  How do they sound?  Is that price you have for just the shells, and is it list or a quote?

One thing to consider is re-wrapping your maples, but I don't know how Ludwig affixes the wraps.  If they're glued all around, that would be tough.  I actually picked up a new 10" Element SE tom on eBay to add to the Downbeat once I get it (leftover from a Two Up Two Down), but in Citrus Mod.  Because it's a lower-end kit, it looks like the wrap is done with tape, and I'm guessing I could get it off easily and re-wrap it with Jammin Sam.  That's the plan anyway.  I watched the video on Jammin Sam's site on how to do it, and they make it look easy.

If you haven't already, check out the videos on the first post in the thread.  They make the Elements sound great!  The one tom I have already sounds good, but I still have a stock batter on it -- only replaced the resonant (Remo Ambassador Clear) and that was an improvement over the stock resonant.  I'm putting a Vintage Emperor as the batter but haven't gotten it on yet.

-- Doop

#7 mod orange

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 04:39 AM

Doop, I think the Legacies are maple poplar maple. They make them like the old late 60's early 70's luddies. I don't think I would want to re-wrap my classic maple set because I kind of think that wrap might be collectable someday. We will see what I decide to do. I think my price that I listed is just a basic guess from what I know other people have paid for legacies. Nothing has sold yet so it may be a while. I may order the wrap sometime soon just in case they decide to discontinue it! That would suck!

#8 doop

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 06:45 PM

I had the same thought about the Jammin Sam wrap -- to order it now in case it should be discontinued.  Seems weird, but the fact is it may be a couple of years or more before I can get a Classic Maple or Legacy Classic -- far enough in the future that it's not out of the question that Mod Orange would no longer be available!

Out of curiosity, on your maple kit, how did Ludwig apply the wrap -- is there an overlap where the seam is, or do the two ends of the wrap butt up against each other without overlapping?

Since you posted, I went to the Ludwig web site and checked out the Legacy Classics.  You're right, they are maple/poplar/maple.  And they are indeed pricier -- like 50% more than the Classic Maples.  Maybe you've seen this before, but if you want to get a sense of the likely cost, download the configuration guide.  It's an Excel spreadsheet where you can check off all the particulars of what you want and it adds up the total list price.  And based on the quote I got on the Classic Maples, I'm guessing that dealers sell them around 45% off list.  The link is near the bottom of this page:

http://www.ludwig-drums.com/drumkits/legacyclassic.php

Looking back at the quote I got on the maples for the bass and three toms, I'm thinking it was based on a list price of about $2,600.  I didn't get into specifics of what type of lugs, mounts, etc., but those affect the price.  A rail mount costs more.  Regular classic lugs cost more.  Classic tom mounts cost more.  Not to mention the bass cymbal mount ...

BTW, I noticed in the listing for your maple kit that you're out of New Hampshire.  Do you know the Drum Center of Portsmouth?

-- Doop

#9 mod orange

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:28 AM

Hey Doop, I have heard of the drumcenter in portsmouth NH. I just have'nt had time to get over there yet! I think he has some of the element sets on the floor. I would love to get over there and check one out in person! I am definately still torn on what to do. I have'nt had any hits on my stuff on CL yet, just no shows and wackos. I don't want to give my stuff away either and I am not hurting. I certainly can live without another drumset! I am just crazy about this new mod orange!

My CM was done by Ludwig when they were making the mod orange reissue wrap so I am not sure how they glued it. The seems do appear to be in the right places. I ordered my bass drum "virgin" and added the vintage rail mount later. At the time Ludwig did not make a rail and that is what I like. At the time this set was to be my John Densemore clone and I think it came out ok. The wrap on the new stuff is way better though. I ordered my set with a matching snare and canister as well. I do a fair amount of gigging and want to use a new mod orange set. If I make a legacy set it would be totally cool but I wonder if i will be anal about taking it out. Those damn Elememnts are killing me! here is my set.

http://octobersons.com/bandpics/image17.htm




#10 doop

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:26 AM

Hey Kurt --

You should most definitely visit Drum Center.  That's where I ended up buying my whole outfit -- kit, hardware, and cymbals.  The owner, Shane, is awesome to work with.  I contacted about 5 different shops, both locally and online, and he blew everyone out of the water -- especially on service.  A couple of the shops didn't even return my emails asking for a quote!  The one local Ludwig dealer was more interested in trying to convince me to buy a kit he had on the floor.  I can't say enough about how great the buying experience was for me with DC, especially since I've been out of the game for so long.  Shane is a drummer and knows his stuff and really works with you to help you decide what you want and need.  If you buy there, you'll be happy!

I got my Elements late last week.  The color looks awesome in person!  The pattern seems completely random -- I can't find any repetition in the design at all.  There were a couple of cosmetic issues with the bass drum, though, and Ludwig is shipping a replacement kit to me, so I have to box this one back up.  But I'm happy they're fixing it.  No sound check yet, though!

You've convinced me that my dream kit is now a Mod Orange Legacy instead of Classic Maple.  And I can tell you, I will definitely be anal about taking those out if I get them!  Like my avatar, Nigel Tufnel: "Don't touch it! Don't even look at it!"  I don't know that I'll do any serious gigging, though I hope to, and the Elements will be the gig kit.  It sounds to me like you're a regularly working musician.  If you like the sound of the Elements, they would be the ticket.  It has the look you want but at a price where a little road wear won't break your heart!  Meanwhile, your Legacies can stay safe at home!

-- Doop


#11 mod orange

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 08:36 AM

Hey Doop, I bit the bullet on this thing. I talked to Shane the drumcenter of NH and I am going to trade in a 1940's wfl set for the downbeat in mod orange. It's a pretty cool vintage 1946 set of wfl's and I would normally think of this but I already have another 1940's wfl set. I thought long and hard about ordering a legacy set but in the end could'nt justify spending that much cash. Besides these element sets look really cool and use the same wrap that jammin sams carries. I already have the wrap samples so I know what to expect.

How do you like yours? Another reason I did this was because I am going to gig it alot and I figured it would be better just to use one of these rather than a set that cost me a couple thousand dollars. I am pretty excited to get it. It's already at the store but I may have to wait until saturday Nov 7th to get it. Too much going on right now and the store is not open on Sundays. I am going to inspect the set in the store to make sure it does'nt have any problems. Sounds like it is going to be a fun set!

#12 doop

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 06:21 PM

Congrats, man!  Glad you found a way to get one, though it must be tough to part with such a vintage kit.  I'm glad you could work with Shane, too -- he's been great to deal with.  My replacement kit arrived Monday, and the wrap on the bass is perfect.  On the first one I got, the small piece of wrap was positioned on the side of the drum instead of the bottom.  Just a factory flaw, I guess.  Here's a photo:



I haven't been able to set the new one up yet, though -- too busy potty training a 2-year-old!  Plus, I'm going to be removing the stock heads (or in the case of bass and floor tom, not bother putting them on) so I won't really set it up until I get the heads I want, which I plan to do soon, once I make up my mind on the right ones.  The only bit of this kit I've heard in person so far is the one 10" tom I have, and that's with the stock heads.  It has a really unique tone.  I've seen a number of videos online, too, and I like what I hear.  I've been away from drumming for many, many years, so I'll be especially interested to hear what you think.  I think "fun" is the right word.  It's certainly not a high-end kit, or heavy duty by any stretch.  But it sounds cool, looks cool, and for me just getting back to drumming, and crazy about Mod Orange, it's just the ticket!  BTW, any takers on your classic maple?

-- Doop

#13 mod orange

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 05:54 AM

No real takers on the CM set. I do have a guy that wants to give me $1100.00 for just the snare, tom bass and floor tom. He doesn't want the canister throne. I have everything listed around $1400.00. I may just go with that and have the canister throne rewrapped to match the element set. We will see what I decide. Part of me wants to hang on to the set but part of me knows that the finish on there will never compare to jammin sams version.

Besides, I already have a real 1969 mod orange set so my quest for originality is cured. The bummer is that I will have to wait a week to get the element set! Ouch!

#14 doop

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 06:49 PM

That's not a bad idea -- rewrapping the canister.  Probably an easy job, too, compared to a shell anyway!

Speaking of the vintage Mod Orange kits, I've been scoping around a bit lately, just curious more than anything else.  I never really considered buying a vintage kit, but of course, all this renewed interest in both drumming in general and "the kit" has me wondering about it.  So I've been looking on eBay and so forth.  You probably saw these already, but I came across two kits in the last week from the same collectibles outfit in Canada.  One is a 1967 in the size I think you own -- 13-16-22 (right?) -- it's for sale now:

1967 13-16-22

All for the low opening bid of $2,500!  But this other one absolutely blew me away.  It's a 1967/68 (serial numbers from both years) 12-14-20, and immaculate.  The only thing "wrong" with it: It's the Club Date set, not the Downbeat.  Oh, and the other thing wrong with it was they were asking $9,000!  But the kit is flawless -- and the color spectacular.  Most all the purple still there.  The auction was for 30 days, but after a few days, it was pulled, though it doesn't look like somebody bought it.  Maybe they sold it locally.  Here's that link:

1967/68 12-14-20

Makes you want to cry!

-- Mike (aka Doop)


#15 mod orange

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:27 AM

I did see those auctions. I think I have seen that club date set before. It's a real beauty but WAY over priced! There was also a 1970-1 22,13,16 listed and a double bass 70's mod orange 22,22,12,13,16,18. That is a set I have also seen before and it is incredible!

I did sell my 2004 mod orange reissue. I sold the 20,12,14,snare for $1100.00. I still have the canister and may re-wrap it. I have never done that before and would wonder how to redo the badge. I think that would be my biggest problem. I pick up my element set on Sat and am looking foward to it. I'm going to try and get some better heads as well as I have heard the heads on there kind of suck.

I am very very lucky to have my 1969 set. I looked and looked for years and my guitar player lucked upon it locally here. I also have a real matching 70's mod orange canister throne. That is a real rare beast. I think the dream of finding an original 1960's down beat set is pretty unrealistic. I have never seen one in person out of the 20 years I have been avidly collecting. I will let you know what I think of the element set when I get it. Thanks.
-Kurt

#16 doop

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 07:01 AM

Yes, I don't have much experience checking out vintage kits, but 9-grand seemed steep.  I saw those other Mod Orange kits you mentioned, too.  I've seen a few Downbeats, even a '67, but of course, not in Mod Orange.  Believe me, I'm not holding my breath!  But it's fun to dream, eh?

Congrats on selling your kit!  Jammin' Sams could probably give you some good advice on how to deal with the badge on the canister.

The stock heads on the Elements are not great.  The single 10" tom I bought had a stock Remo coated batter and a no-name clear reso.  I actually tried to tune that one up, and it was OK, but not great.  I put on a Vintage Emperor, and the difference was amazing.  The full kit itself has stock Evans heads -- not sure why the single tom had a Remo.  Anyway, I'm not even bothering putting on the Evans.  Shane at the Drum Center gave me some advice on heads for this kit, based on the music I tend to play, the sound I'm looking for, and his experience with the kit.  Mostly my own ideas were on the mark, but he helped me with a few tweaks.  I'm going with Vintage Emperor batters and Smooth White Ambassador resos on the toms (I'm doing white instead of clear for aesthetics -- a poor man's substitute for white-painted shell interiors!), Smooth White PS3s both batter and reso on the bass, and a CS Reverse Dot batter and Hazy Ambassador reso on the snare.  I'd be interested to hear your head choices/preferences once you get set up.

Can't remember if we already talked about this -- are you thinking of retro-fitting a bass mount cymbal stand?  I think they might be available now in the new keystone bracket.  You can now get the new bracket on Classic Maples and Legacy Classics, including for the cymbal mount.

-- Mike

#17 mod orange

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:36 AM

Hey Mike, I would like to retro fit a cymbal mount to my bass drum. I know Ludwig makes one that works on classic maple drums and legacies but that one is the standard bracket they have been using for years. It is the same as a classic floor tom leg. I had one on the 2004 mod orange reiisue i just sold.

I would like to get one in the new keystone lug design to match the mounts on the floor tom and keep everything consistent. Where did you see this listed? I might be able to just get and extra floor tom leg mount and use that. Do you know of the size of the insert is 9.5mm or 10mm? 9.5 is what is like on old Ludwig sets and is pretty standard for old drums. The 10mm is what they use for elite mounts and it is supposed to be more haevy duty. I was just curious what they are using.

I also have a newer set of t's and claws that are Ludwig that I plan to add to the bass drum. The ones that come on the element look pretty cheesy to me. I think that once the kit is set up with better heads and a couple of mods it will be great. I would like to put coated white Ludwig heads on my set all around and possibly a powerstroke 3 for the bass drum. I may even make a better front head logo. we'll see. All extra money that i don't really want to spend.
-Kurt

#18 doop

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:59 AM

Hey Kurt --

If you go to Ludwig's site and download their configuration guide for the Classic Maple or Legacy Classic, you'll see that the keystone bracket is now an option.  On the Legacies, it specifically asks if you want the classic bracket or keystone bracket for the shell mount cymbal holder.  I haven't seen it anywhere else, but it suggests to me that the mount would be available with the keystone bracket now as a component.  I was planning to ask Shane at DC to look into it.  Like you said, if nothing else it might be possible to buy just the bracket from Ludwig as a replacement part, and use it instead of the classic bracket that comes with the shell mount add-on.  I'm pretty sure the size is 9.5mm but am not positive.  None of the literature specifies, as far as I can tell, and the drums didn't come with any kind of paperwork.  Not sure how to measure it ...

Yes, the bass claws are odd on the Elements.  That's not a bad idea to replace them -- I may do the same.  And I have plans for the front head, too.  I'll have to post pics when I do it -- I think you'll get a kick out of it (sorry, bad pun)!

And yeah, for me, getting back into drumming, it seems the more I'm buying, the more I need to buy!  The spending has just begun ...

-- Mike

#19 doop

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 02:54 PM

Hey Kurt --

I was nosing around eBay today for vintage Ludwig drums, and look what I found! Gotta be the kit you traded to Shane for the Element SEs, right? Cool setup! Man, he got it up there right quick!

BTW, I asked Shane about the keystone bracket on the bass drum cymbal stand, and he asked Ludwig for me.  It's not available after all right now as a separate hardware piece, but he guesses it will be soon enough.

Hope you enjoy the new kit!  I finally decided on heads and they arrived a couple days ago, so I hope to finally start setting up.

-- Mike

#20 mod orange

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:20 AM

Mike, I'll have to check the auction when I get home. I am blocked here at work from ebay. Is it a WFL set in WMP from the 40's? I picked my set up on Fri. I have'nt had a lot of time to mess with it but so far it looks good. The color is incredible and all my seems are in the right place! I do think I might have to change some heads as well.

One thing i did notice was that the bass drum hoops seemed to be a tad bit oversized. I got them on OK but it seems like they should be a hair bit smaller. Was that the case with yours? I thought the trade was pretty even and I hope he feels the same way. Shipping a 26" bass drum is a pain. The store was fairly small and he had it packed! He had a psych red downbeat and a citrius mod downbeat as well. The all look really great. I am going to do a full review on my set and post it over at drumforum.org when I get pics. I will put up the link here. Talk to you later.
-Kurt




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