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Ludwig Banjos

Jim the Bart 12 Jul 00 - 02:14 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Jul 00 - 02:56 PM
Mooh 12 Jul 00 - 04:03 PM
RichM 12 Jul 00 - 05:27 PM
Barbara Shaw 12 Jul 00 - 05:45 PM
Jim the Bart 12 Jul 00 - 06:45 PM
GUEST 13 Jul 00 - 02:53 AM
Steve Latimer 13 Jul 00 - 11:53 AM
Jon Freeman 13 Jul 00 - 12:16 PM
Rick Fielding 13 Jul 00 - 12:17 PM
Steve Latimer 13 Jul 00 - 12:33 PM
Fortunato 13 Jul 00 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,terry tipton 13 Oct 09 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Simon Bennett 13 Oct 09 - 07:49 PM
Charley Noble 13 Oct 09 - 08:53 PM
GUEST 02 Dec 09 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Jerry 27 Dec 09 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 28 Dec 09 - 12:10 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 28 Dec 09 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,guest 28 Dec 09 - 07:09 PM
GUEST 29 Dec 09 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,Jim 29 Jan 10 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,banjo dude 26 Jun 10 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Ray Bernard 30 Aug 10 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,For Sale 1920s Ludwig The Ace, Plectrum Banj 23 Jan 11 - 12:09 AM
GUEST,guest Rhonda 12 Jul 11 - 10:17 AM
GUEST 31 Dec 11 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,jbruman 18 Jul 13 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,jbruman 18 Jul 13 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Kevin Rietmann 02 Mar 15 - 02:32 AM
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Subject: Ludwig Banjos
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 02:14 PM

This thought came to mind when reading the Gibson Guitar thread.

Many years ago, when young and struggling, I worked at a Savings and Loan in Chicago that serviced the Ludwig Drum Company account. They had a factory on Damen Avenue in Chicago and I would periodically be called to deliver paperwork and other stuff to the offices. On my very first visit, I was struck by two thing hanging on the wall in the entrance:
1. An autographed picture of all of the Beatles when they visited the plant and
2. a banjo with an inlay on the back showing the head of a native American in full headdress.

It was a beauo-o-o-o-o-tiful piece of work. Very ornate. All little bits of wood. Truly a work of art. I asked about it and was told that Ludwig had produced banjos for a while before deciding to focus on drums, and that "a few" of the "Indian Heads" had been made for limited release.

My questions to the forum are: Has anyone ever seen/heard of/played a Ludwig banjo? Are they any good?
I'd hate to think that the one I saw was all show and no go. Ludwig is gone now (the factory has been gentrified into lofts) but I'd like to know that that banjo made it off the wall and into somebody's hands.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 02:56 PM

I have played a Ludwig tenor. It was NOT ornate but I liked it a lot. It played well and listening to the owner playing it in the session I was in, sounded good. It was several years ago so my memory is a little bit foggy but from what I can remember, it (second hand) was an excellent buy for the money. I actually prefered it to a Vega ?model that someone else had in the same session.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Mooh
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 04:03 PM

Were they related to Slingerland drums/banjos? Never played a Ludwig, but I once enjoyed a Slingerland. Did other drum co.'s make banjos? Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: RichM
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 05:27 PM

Baldwin - not a drum, but a piano company- made some excellent 5 string banjos, for a while. A friend, who plays in a bluegrass band in Ontario, Canada has had one for a long time. Don't know any more about Baldwin's banjos, though...


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 05:45 PM

My husband's father played a Ludwig tenor banjo, and gave it to Frank when he was about 14. Frank hocked it for his first guitar, and regrets the loss now that he plays the banjo and his father is gone. In fact, he has looked for that old ornate Ludwig off and on, and claims he would recognize it immediately.

The tenor banjo of that period was apparently used a lot for dixieland and popular music of the day.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 12 Jul 00 - 06:45 PM

The one I saw might have been a tenor. I never thought to look. Dumb.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 02:53 AM

Hi, Ludwig made some very fine plectrum (regular length)and tenor banjos from somewhere in the jazz era of the 20's until the mid-40's when you couldn't give four string banjos away. I play plectrum in a vaudeville show, and I have a Bacon and Day Senorita model. My boss plays a beautiful old Ludwig that was made sometime in the 30's. It's built with ebony, rosewood, mahogany and walnut, and the marquetry and inlay are excellent. I've got an old tenor model that I'm trying to repair/restore into playable shape. Owl.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 11:53 AM

Rich M,

I think that Baldwin also made guitars. I seem to recall a Lenny Breau album cover with him playing a Baldwin, and if I recall, it had extra strings, I believe it was an 8-string.

Anyone know if i'm completely wrong?


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:16 PM

I have done a lot of internet searching but have not really turned up much of use. They were produced by Ludwig & Ludwig between 1920 and 1931. Also George Formby played a Ludwig Uke which George Harrison is rumoured to have paid £35,000 for.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:17 PM

Hi. I've played several Ludwig banjos and they were top class. Not always ornate, but well-made and intheir day (the 20s) right up there with Gibson and Vega).

Steve. Baldwin made a lot of guitars. Lennie's did indeed have extra strings. He also had a framus 12 string where he separated the pairs (just a bit) and tuned them ALL to different pitches. Very inventive man. The most famous Baldwin product in the world today (other than their pianos) is the amp used by Willie Nelson.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:33 PM

Ah, Praise be to Willie.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Fortunato
Date: 13 Jul 00 - 12:44 PM

Can you tell us more about Willie's amp? cheers, fortunato


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,terry tipton
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 04:57 PM

My dad just bought a Slingerland banjo with an original Ludwig 5 string neck on it. It's 5 piece walnut with a diamond inlay pattern and a MOTS peghead overlay with Ludwig spelled out in little read dots. I've been told that most Ludwig's were 4 string models. Does this neck sound like it would be of value to a collector? If anyone has any connections let me know.

thanks,

tt


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,Simon Bennett
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 07:49 PM

I play the tenor banjo, it is a fabulous sound. Nearly impossible to tune though! I also play a ludwig which belonged to my dad, it's from the 1930's.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Oct 09 - 08:53 PM

This thread is bringing back old memories which have to do with my first banjo search in the early 1960's. A pawn shop manager in Lewiston, Maine, suggested I get in contact with Charlie Gary in the neighboring town of Auburn; he had some banjos, so he said.

Well, I made my way over to Gary's, a modest bungalow house in a neighborhood of working class bungalows and knocked on his door. An elderly man answered the door, confirmed that he was "Charlie" and invited me in. Well, there were several 4-string banjos hanging on his wall including a Ludwig and a Beacon, and they were all very ornate, painted resonators, mother of pearl inlay, just gorgeous machines. And Charlie pulled out some clippings of the banjo bands he's played in during the 1920's and 1930's. The banjos were worth over a $1000 each at the time, and much more now, no doubt, but I was only interested in 5-string banjos. Well, Charlie said he's ask around and give me a call.

Sure enough, within a week, he said he turned up one he thought I'd be interested in, a S.S. Stewart Thoroughbred. Well, I had seen one Stewart banjo before, in a visit to Madison County, North Carolina, and I was there panting at Charlie's door the next day. It was a gorgeous banjo, a Model 3, which is the top of the line before you get to custom Stewarts. The seller had been using it as a 4-string banjo and the 5th peg was missing. Charlie said he wanted $55 for it, without a case. I was willing to pay $500 at the time and was happy to close the deal.

It's the best banjo bargain I ever made!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Dec 09 - 10:58 PM

I just found a Ludwig ambassador banjo in my dead aunts house - I want to sell it . It is very ornate. Whats it worth ?
Call me Bobby-Ray   847-372-8110 Chicago


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,Jerry
Date: 27 Dec 09 - 10:35 PM

Bobby-Ray,

    Did you find out what the Ludwig Amaassador was worth. I am looking at a Ludwig (don't know which model) and they
are asking $800. I don't know if it is a reasonable price or if it is overpriced.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 12:10 PM

Many years ago, in a former life in California's San Joaquin Valley, I was visiting friends when my host pulled out the most gorgeous banjo I have ever seen (hindsight, of course, plays no part in this recollection). It was a custom Ludwig tenor banjo with a beautifully inlaid resonater, all the metal parts gold plated and with an original skin in place. It had belonged to his grandfather, who had played in college and in dance bands in the 1920's and early 1930's. Though it had been kept in pristine condition, no one in the family could play it, but they would not part with it. I would give much to get my hands on it now. Knowing the peculiarities of that family, it is probably still in the hard shell case, in someone's closet or attic, dying to be heard.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 04:20 PM

My friend Toni has a Ludwig banjo-ukulele just like the one George Harrison had. Most banjo-ukes are crap, but this thing is amazing. It has great tone and can easily be heard over the other instruments in a crowded session.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 28 Dec 09 - 07:09 PM

I have a fairly ornate Bacon Blue Ribbon, apparently made circa 1897. However when I had the velum replaced there was a stamp on the back on the original skin that read ' Leedy Manufacturing Co. Indianopolis". The person who replaced the skin for me noted the stamp and told me that Leedy eventualy became Ludwig ?. I don't know if there is a connection or not. It may be that Ludwig may have made some banjoes after Gerge Bacon went to work for Vega.?.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Dec 09 - 01:15 AM

I have a ludwig plectrum banjo. its rather ornate and sounds great!


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 29 Jan 10 - 02:29 PM

Is your Ambassador a 4-string or 5-string?


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,banjo dude
Date: 26 Jun 10 - 05:40 PM

I have a beautiful Ludwig Stratford plectrum banjo. Inherited it from my great uncle who played it in dance bands. It has great sustain for a banjo, and projects great.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,Ray Bernard
Date: 30 Aug 10 - 06:05 AM

Re Ludwig banjos.
I was always keen on ludwig instruments as my Idol george formby,
played a ludwig banjo-uke(the one bought by My friend George Harrison,actually george paid £10.000 for it plus Formby's Dallas,"D"
model banjo-uke,from my friend Steve Miller who bought it following an auction,I was the underbidder!
Thanks to my good friend Gunter Amendt (Germany)I eventally obtained
a gold-plated Ludwig banjo-uke ,formby's was nickel plated.
since 1970 I've been interested in the tenor Banjo and have had many
ludwigs from the "Kingston", up to the"ambassador"and I must say that
the quality of workmanship is excellent,the necks particularly,are
a joy to play on,the metalwork very well designed,and the "planet"
pegs, the best! the tone of ludwig banjos to my ear are very sweet when played quietly, but lack volume when played in a band,others may disagree,it depends what you want personally.


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,For Sale 1920s Ludwig The Ace, Plectrum Banj
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:09 AM

I have a fully restored 1920s Ludwig The Ace, Plectrum Banjo for sale in it's case....contact me at mego1258@gmail.com if you are interested. It sounds and is beautiful!


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,guest Rhonda
Date: 12 Jul 11 - 10:17 AM

I inherited a Ludwig 4 string banjo with alot of Mother of Pearl inlay and a carved eagle on the back from my Grandfather. Anybody know anything about it?


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 11 - 05:52 PM

i have a langstile III is it very rare in my family for a long time curtis


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,jbruman
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 04:51 PM

I have a Ludwig banjo with the Indian head..full dress..on back. My grandpa lived there and played it. Interested in selling if anyone knows of a buyer. Case too!!


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,jbruman
Date: 18 Jul 13 - 04:57 PM

He lived in Chicago at that time I meant to say. It is a beautiful instrument. I would gladly email pics if you just want to see. My response was to Bartholomew. I know it was forever ago but I have never seen one like I have. Has anyone else seen one?


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Subject: RE: Ludwig Banjos
From: GUEST,Kevin Rietmann
Date: 02 Mar 15 - 02:32 AM

The Ludwigs with the Indian Head were the "Big Chief" model, they are worth a lot of money IIRC - like over $10k possibly, if in tip-top condition. Ask at banjohangout.org if you really have one, they are very rare showcase models, ala the Bacon and Day Ne Plus Ultra or Gibson All American.

I have a Kingston - some of the Ludwigs were "top tension,"meaning the hooks were tightened from the top instead of the more typical bottom. These had hoops of rather thin "pot metal," the junk they make Matchbox cars out of. I loosened up the hooks on mine and the hoop promptly disintegrated. A friend says he can machine me a new one though. Many Ludwigs like this one had all metal pots and an attendant bright sound, thus sound best with skin or Fybreskin (aka Tyvek house wrap!) heads, to mellow things out a bit, or so I'm told.


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