I have seen a quite a few instances where people removed the wrap from S/L and earlier rocker kits and found a nice looking outside ply on all the shells nice enough to do a clear coat and have a nice looking Natural maple finish kit.Since the Acrolite generates respect among those who have played them I thought I would give an overview of its “career” for those who may not be familiar with the venerable 404 (5 x 14) which is still readily available.Made them well into the '80s, and still offer them for their 14" marching snares. I pulled the old beat down and scarred wrap off the drums and found a rather nice looking wood grain underneath.Ludwig showed them as an add-on for a drum set in 1 catalog that I know of; it was in 1978, I think. They had Black and white badges and the seller said they were from the mid eighties.Upon inspecting the 9"x13" tom, a drum head was removed and I discovered the business card shown below.I tracked down Dave Golding and found him to be a wealth of untapped information. Here are the details:1964 Kit9”x13 - Tom (Keystone badge # 33649 / No stamp date found)16”x16” - Floor Tom (Keystone badge # 33571 / No stamp date found)14”x22” - Bass Drum (Keystone badge # 89896 / No stamp date found) Unique oyster black pearl swirl pattern Keystone badges (16"x16" floor tom has the Keystone badge positioned in the center of the drum)3-ply mahogany/poplar/mahogany shells with white painted interiors Baseball bat tone controllers with red or white felt tone control pads (Ludwig changed from red to white early in ’64)Threaded mount casing with wing-bolt (P-1672) 16.5” floor tom legs with knurled stems Fold out bass drum spurs with knurled stems (P-1305)Rogers Swiv-o-matic tom mount assembly Chrome over brass (COB) tom rims Andy Babiuk’s book, Beatles Gear, states that Ringo was given this set by Ludwig Drum Company and that Ringo received this kit on May 31, 1964 at the Prince of Wales Theater in London. This brought on changes in design, concepts, and the relocation of the production facility.The Ludwig catalog would advance, utilizing an array of new materials and ideas previously nonexistent to the drum market.
I was told that the dual tom mount was used at some point in 1968.The 6-ply maple shell design that debuted in 1976 carried on into the early part 1980’s.The Modular bracket, another 70’s era innovation, took on more recognition in the 1980’s.We can pretty acurately date Ludwig drums and Ludwig serial numbers are a big help, but not an exact science.Other special features like badges, shell plys and the interior finish all help in giving you a date range of your drums manufacture.