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The amazing versatility of the Ludwig Acrolite

The following is a guest editorial from Evans Drumheads' Paul Pearl.

To this day, the Ludwig Acrolite remains to be one of the most beloved and sought after vintage drums on the market. There’s just something about that matte silver, aluminum finish, a classic P-83 strainer and that round felt muffler. High praise if you’re able to find one with a Keystone badge, but a 70’s Blue and Olive will always do the trick.

1970s Ludwig Acrolite

For the price, the Acrolite has always been an exceptionally affordable, and great sounding drum. It’s a tad dry due to its aluminum shell, but with the right drumheads, it can still be very versatile.

For my money, the best sounding Acrolite I’ve ever heard had a Hydraulic Blue Coated on the batter side and a Snare Side 300 on the bottom. Tuned low, this drum will provide a fat, short, deep tone you would have never thought possible (think John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself” from Continuum). You can even throw an E-Ring on the top for some extra control. Tuned up, this head pairing will give you a very short, crisp response from the snare drum with a fat rim shot. Tuned right, you can get this pairing to sound just like Clyde Stubblefield’s drum from “Funky Drummer”.

Ludwig Acrolite Black Galaxy

I get it though, if you’re looking for something a little more straight forward and want to circumvent the dryness of the aluminum shell, check out something single-ply and wide open to counteract the dry nature of the shell. The new UV1 is a great choice for a snare batter. With its revolutionary coating, you’ll have this thing looking new for months and the sound will be versatile enough for any playing situation. You might even think about pairing this with a Snare Side 200 for even greater response and articulation.

For a warmer tone with unrestricted sustain and overtones, check out Calftone. It’ll totally fit your vintage vibe, and the aesthetic will be very pleasing with the aluminum shell. These heads sound and feel great, emulating that of traditional calfskin.

If you’re looking for other ways to expand the sound pallet of your Acrolite, don’t neglect the snare wire. Puresound offers a variety of options that could give your drum a completely new sound. For the maximum amount of snare response, you’ll want to look for models with higher numbers of strands. Check out the Super 30 or some of the 24 strand models in the Custom Pro series (the provided speed straps may not work with your throw off depending on what year it’s from, but some string will do the trick as well). Maybe you don’t want as much buzz, and are looking for a more controlled sound? Check out the Blasters or Equalizer series.

Links to products in this article:

The Beat's Acrolite Collection

Evans Blue Hydraulic Coated

Evans Calftone

Evans UV1

Puresound Snarewire