Almost every drum manufacturer has acrylic drum kits in its portfolio, but for most drummers, Ludwig Vistalite is the benchmark for acrylic shells.
Virtually every company that runs a large-scale production of wooden shells currently offers acrylic drums. In many cases, these shells are manufactured to their specifications by RCI. Initially, RCI dealt with refurbishing acrylic drums from the 1970s.
The first such series was Pearl Crystal Beat, which was released in 1973 and is still produced today in updated versions.
This year, Ludwig is celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Bonham’s favorite acrylic drums by resurrecting two standard kits and five Limited Edition colour options with the addition of two snare drums.
Originally launched in 1972, the Vistalite was first offered in transparent, blue, green, red, amber and yellow finishes. At that time, drums were meant to keep up with the increasingly visual side of the music, so while offering good sound they were also supposed to make a visual impression on stage.
In 1975, Ludwig became the first brand to offer acrylic shells in multiple finishes, which was due to its collaboration with Elvis Presley’s drummer Ronnie Tutt.
The finishes were determined by their pattern letter, which gave us patterns A and B (three and five-band rainbow), pattern C (spiral), patterns D and E (three and two-band swirls), and pattern F (vertical stripe).
In 2022, Ludwig is reintroducing two collector favorites with a red and less common green finish (the lack of original popularity in the 1970s resulted in a small number of aftermarket kits).
These drums currently come in limited quantities, but the manufacturer ensures that they will be available to everyone in standard configurations in the near future.
In addition to the traditional two colors, Ludwig has prepared five limited edition colour combinations. They are available in the Fab (22″x14 “, 13″x9 “, 16″x16″) and Pro Beat (24″x14″, 13″x9″, 16″x16″) configurations with 14″x6.5” snare drums, which are also available separately.
The kits will be available in a limited number of 25 units worldwide.
The new finishes feature three classic Ludwig designs with the A motif available as a tri-band combo of Black Sparkle / Smoke / Black Sparkle, Blue / Green / Clear or Red / White / Blue.
The C design has been reactivated with a red and yellow striped ‘Candy Cane’ spiral, the E motif is again offered in the Clear / Smoke combination.
In addition to drum kits featuring snare drums, Ludwig have also introduced two new limited-edition snare drums. Both instruments are sized 14”x 6.5″, with a Salesman Sparkle multi-color finish – originally developed as a sample for Ludwig sales representatives to show dealers the range of finishes.
The Salesman 2022 snare drum is offered in a combination of five shiny bands consisting of silver / gold / green / red / blue color.
Meanwhile, the other limited-edition snare drum features an E-type (diagonal vortex) finish in red and white acrylic.
The sound of these snare drums, despite the acrylic, is described as complete, condensed and beautifully blending with the kit.
Ludwig’s 2022 limited-edition Vistalite sets and snare drums are now available for sale.