The Legendary Stainless Steel Octa-Plus
with Double Headed Melodic Concert Toms

Built in the 1970's, the Octa-Plus was the largest drum set offered by The Ludwig Drum Company. The Octa-Plus consisted of 2 bass drums (22" was the standard size), 8 mounted "melodic" (single headed) concert toms that could be tuned in whole steps to an octive, and 1 floor tom (18" was the standard size). The electro-polished stainless steel shell was the most expensive (and heavy) material offered by Ludwig. There is not a sliver of wood in these drums. Dick Gerlach of Ludwig (head of production and sales), said he knew of less than 5 complete stainless steel Octa-Plus sets ever being shipped from the Ludwig factory in Chicago.

The original owner, who custom-ordered the drum set from Ludwig (through a dealer), requested two very unusual features. The first request was to put bottom heads on the "melodic" concert toms, and the second request was to have the traditional Ludwig blue/olive badges (with sharp corners) be devoid of any color except for the Ludwig logo. Although an unusual request, in the words of the original owner, "There wasn’t much they (Ludwig) wouldn’t do in order to sell a $4000 drum set back then, so if I wanted all-silver badges, I got all-silver badges!" (click here to see one of the badges). The double headed stainless steel Octa-Plus featured here, is the only one known to exist.

The drums look unbelievable under lights and are fully functional and stage ready, but the set has seen alot of action. The set is in "well used" condition with the typical scratches, dings, pitting, and rust found on most 30 plus year old sets that were heavily played. Several stripped lugs were replaced over time. While it is possible to electro-polish the stainless steel shells back to a "museum quality" mirror finish, we have opted to leave the set in its original state. The original wooden bass drum hoops did not hold up well to the rigors of road life, so they were replace with metal (chrome) bass drum hoops. The drums are perfectly round due to having both top and bottom heads. Many single headed stainless steel drums are known to be out of round.

Stainless drums have a very unique sound. Loud, strong, and dry with minimal overtones. You can view higher resolution images of the set, or of each drum in the set by expanding the accordion tabs below and clicking on the thumbnail images.


The Drum Set
Bass Drum #1 (14" deep x 24" diameter) Serial Number: 16xxxxx
Bass Drum #2 (14" deep x 24" diameter) Serial Number: 16xxxxx
Floor Tom #1 (16" deep x 18" diameter) Serial Number: 16xxxxx
Floor Tom #2 (16" deep x 16" diameter) Serial Number: 18xxxxx
Melodic Tom #1 (14" deep x 16" diameter) Serial Number: 16xxxxx
Melodic Tom #2 (12" deep x 15" diameter) Serial Number: Blank
Melodic Tom #3 (10" deep x 14" diameter) Serial Number: 15xxxxx
Melodic Tom #4 (9" deep x 13" diameter) Serial Number: 16xxxxx
Melodic Tom #5 (8" deep x 12" diameter) Serial Number: 15xxxxx
Melodic Tom #6 (6.5" deep x 10" diameter) Serial Number: 15xxxxx

The 6", 8", and 10" drums appear to have a second row of holes in the shell, where the top lugs were moved to accommodate a lower set of lugs.
Melodic Tom #7 (5.5" deep x 8" diameter) Serial Number: 15xxxxx

The 6", 8", and 10" drums appear to have a second row of holes in the shell, where the top lugs were moved to accommodate a lower set of lugs.
Melodic Tom #8 (5.5" deep x 6" diameter) Serial Number: 15xxxxx

The 6", 8", and 10" drums appear to have a second row of holes in the shell, where the top lugs were moved to accommodate a lower set of lugs.