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“If he can start over, I can start over”

William F. Ludwig III is the last living Ludwig making drums in the industry. Ludwig is a name that drummers will certainly recognize and some non-drummers may have an understanding of it too. The Ludwig name is made up of rich history, innovation, and passion with many twists and turns along the way.

When Bill was 59 he decided that he should get back into the drum industry and follow the footsteps of his grandfather. Bill’s grandfather had started WFL drums after leaving Ludwig drum company, which was bought by Conn. He had decided that he wanted to create, for the second time, a company that focused on quality products and great customer service to match – a company that wasn’t as focused on the corporate mentality. He very cleverly indicated below the WFL badge that these were, in fact, a Ludwig product and this helped gain the trust of new customers. Bill’s grandfather would eventually buy back the Ludwig name after a very successful run under the WFL name.

It was Bill’s grandfather’s decision to start over by creating WFL that inspired Bill Ludwig III to create WFLIII Drums. Bill had a strong urge to get back into the drumming industry after a long hiatus. As evidence would suggest, Bill made a great decision starting WFLIII because everything is falling into place perfectly as if it was meant to happen.

In this episode:

You will hear about…

  • The humble beginnings of Ludwig and silent film era instruments
  • The start of WFL drums leading to the buyback of the Ludwig name
  • Ringo Starr and the Beatles’ influence on drum sales for Ludwig
  • Bill Ludwig III’s beginnings and future roles at Ludwig
  • Why Bill Ludwig III created the WFLIII drum company
  • WFLIII Drums’ growth, strengths as a company, and future

Why you should listen:

You will understand the entire history of the Ludwig drum company by listening to this episode, and it is told by an actual Ludwig! The history told by Bill sets up the second half nicely to bring context as to why WFLIII drums may be appealing to drummers. Not only is it an actual Ludwig heavily involved, but I also felt a sense of family and warmth to this company. For example, when you call WFLIII, you get Bill. Also, the drums are based on old shell recipes developed by Bill’s grandfather many years ago that are tried and true. Nothing flashy. Just stuff that works.

One of Bill’s biggest obstacles is to educate drummers on what WFLIII is and what the Ludwig story is really about. This is such an important feature of these drums. For drummers who have a strong liking to the history and spirit of Ludwig, you may feel a pull toward WFLIII once you realize the degree of passion and love that Bill has for this company and the William Ludwigs before him. You may feel like the spirit of Ludwig lives in WFLIII.

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