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Old 05-08-2018, 11:50 AM
vyacheslav vyacheslav is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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Default MIJ "Tower" with "error" rack tom


I've had these for a few years, but I recently made some mods and swapped out some parts , so I thought I would post these here. Sizes are 12"/14"/20" with a 14" snare.

Can you tell what the "error" is on the tom? Off day at the factory! I bet some of you are thinking "That crazy vyacheslav, he mounted the tom upside down"! Well, that would usually be par for the course, but in this particular instance, it's actually mounted correctly. You'll notice in Photo 2 that the tone control is on the top head. So either they put they badge on upside down, or they put the tone control on the wrong head at the factory. My guess is that they put the badge on upside down, because the location of the tone control is in line with other MIJ stuff (and USA stuff too). I could always take the badge off and flip it around, but I think it's cool that way. It's a good story! I like how the middle of it reads "3MO" upside down. Also, I've seen "Dixie" badges that are the exact same shape and fort style. I can't recall seeing two MIJ brands that use the exact same template for a badge before.

The kit was originally only Bass/Rack/Snare. I added the floor tom shortly after I bought it about 4 years ago. Musician's Friend had a Sound Percussion brand 14" x 14" on clearance for cheap, so I got that, stripped it down and filled all the existing holes (except the air vent). I had some Slingerland copy MIJ lugs laying around, so I used those, along with Ludwig leg brackets (I also swapped out the cymbal arm and tom brackets to Ludwig, because they have eye bolts (originals did not). The hole pattern was the same, no extra drilling)! Plus, I like the fact that all the brackets match. I had to use the official Ludwig spacers for the floor tom leg brackets. They look a little bulky, but do what they intend (Photo 5 shows a close up). I ordered "Gold Glitter" wrap from Precision and it came out great. The floor tom is just a tad less orange than the other drums, but it's darn close.

Other upgrades I made to the kit included wood bass drum hoops. They originally had chrome hoops with no inlay. My buddy (and fellow forum member nailfoxx) liked the "50's Diner" look. I didn't! The inlay is also new Gold Glitter wrap from Precision. Again, not perfect but pretty darn close. I also put 2.3 mm hoops on all the drums. I upgraded the awful strainer to a Ludwig P-85 and a Ludwig butt (butt fit perfectly, two additional small holes for the P-85). I had been using the rack tom without a suspension mount, but even tuned up high for jazz it just sounded choked, so I added a suspension mount. I'm still not sure how I feel about suspension mounts on vintage kits, but it doesn't look too bad here. I also modify the suspension mount, so it only fits over two lugs instead of four. It lets more of the shell and wrap show, and is less bulky and cumbersome. I also upgraded the L-arm to a DW 12.7 mm to 9.5 mm. They come in a pack of two, I had an extra one. As you can see in Photo 3 on the snare, the factory L-arm didn't offer much in terms of flexibility. I filled in the original bracket holes on the tom with wood filler. It's a reversible mod, if someone ever wanted to, just drill the holes again and it's good to go, plus I saved the original L-arm as well).

I generally don't dig rail mounts, and I'm even less fond off the rail mounts that are off center, but I was able to make this one work, even with the suspension mount pushing it a little further over. I'm rounding the kit out with Ludwig Standard flat base cymbal stands, a Ludwig 1123-1 Hi-Hat stand (best ever made!) and a Premier Olympic snare stand with a shortened vertical tube. The top basket section is a modern Dixon. The Yamaha strap drive pedal is a classic; I love it. Topping it off is an old school metal stick tray.

I just wanted to share these with you all. Hope you enjoy!

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**Looking for a Ludwig Keystone 14" Blue Sparkle Floor Tom**

Last edited by vyacheslav; 05-08-2018 at 12:01 PM.
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