Ludwig Marching Percussion and Conn/King Custom Sousaphones

Conn-Selmer—parent company of Ludwig, Musser, and King—has several exciting new additions in 2016. Years in the making, the new Ludwig “Ultimate” marching drums look to revamp the brand for a new generation.

“Because of how prominent Ludwig was in the 70s and 80s, that generation of teachers and performers know Ludwig because that’s what they started on,” says Ryan Galasso, percussion category manager at Ludwig. “What surprised us was the younger generation coming to our booth and saying, ‘I’ve been waiting for Ludwig to do a redesign, and this is really exciting.’”

Ludwig premiered the new drums at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in November and plans to have them for sale in April 2016. The “Ultimate” series will introduce a number of new features and improvements, including 100% maple 8-ply shells for a more resonant sound and standard aluminum hardware, a great reduction in weight from the previous zinc hardware.

“Our drums are made in the Ludwig plant just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina; that’s something that’s unique to us,” Galasso says. “Our industry tends to blur the line between assembled in the USA and made in the USA. Our shells are made in our plant from scratch with North American Maple.”

In addition to the standard features, schools and groups can upgrade to chrome hardware or a lacquer finish. Ludwig has also now partnered with Randall May International for carriers and stands.

“One of the biggest changes we made was partnering with Randall May,” Galasso says. “We’ll have all the May innovations and a few new things we’re able to debut the technology for.”

Galasso says that Ludwig looks forward to the future of Conn-Selmer being a total service provider for groups through Ludwig, Musser Mallet Percussion and King Horns together.

And in another addition, both Conn and King sousaphones have new custom models.

“Universities are asking for heavy-duty options,” says Phil Brown, senior product manager of low brass.“Added braces make the instrument more sturdy on the marching field.”

Custom school logo engraving, black lacquer finish, and ornamental bell wreath engraving are also available for fun or added visual flair.

“The Conn and King sousaphones are legendary, … and we’re just expanding this great line of products,” Brown says.

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About author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.