Ludwig and Ludwig Original 1942 Top Hat and Cane 26,13,16 Stunning!

Arguably the rarest and most sought after finish in the history of vintage drums! A Ludwig and Ludwig Top Hat and Cane set would be considered the crown jewel of any collection. The art deco graphic is as seductive today as it was when it was first created over 80 years ago. This 1942 set is the real deal, the set that has inspired countless reproductions and reissues since it was first unveiled back in 1940. It's dripping in glamour and timeless elegance.

The Top Hat finish was only available for a short time in the very early 40s. A very small number of sets were created in this finish and only handful are known to remain today. Most of the sets were made in the 1940 and 1941 however I've seen Top hat sets with date stamps as late as 1946. Nearly all of these sets were made in the 26, 11, 13, 16, 7x14 "Swing Sensation" configuration that featured a rail mount that held the 2 smaller toms and the cymbals. It's impossible to trace the exact origins of this set. I've been aware of this set for decades and seen it pass amongst a few different owners.  When I received the set there were an additional 13" tom and a 14" floor tom on legs that were probably added after the fact I am selling separately on this website.

This 26x14, 13x9, and 16x14 configuration is an extremely "usable" set up that would work great in a wide rage of rock, swing or country settings. There's WAY too much music left in these drums to be retired to a museum or a collectors hermetically sealed vault. This set is dying to get back on stage and in the studio and show everybody just what an amazing set it is.

The drums are structurally flawless and absolutely stunning to see and hear. No extra holes or modifications. Calf heads on top and bottom. Smooth edges everywhere. The hardware is super clean but shows some minor scratches and pitting. The finish on the bass drum has some issues that you have to look very closely to see. (I honestly didn't even realize they were there until I was packing the set away after the photo shoot). Most notably the inlays on the bass drum are non-original reproductions and a slightly whiter shade than the rest of the set. This is easily aged by anyone familiar with old finishes. The finish on the batter side edge has lifted very slightly right behind the flesh hoop of the calf head. It is very slight. I tried to take a photo where you can see it but it's barely noticeable. There is a substantial crack in the finish that extends from the 3rd lug down from the badge on the players left side. It's in a very inconspicuous spot and also barley noticeable. The photo I took of the crack was taken from 3 feet away. The crack was probably caused by a bump to the lug. 2 tiny crack off of the ends of the lug are visible in the wood on the inside of the drum. The cracks are minute and would not be worth noting on a less substantial drum.

Both the 13 and 16 toms have white enamel badges and are date stamped 2/42 (February, 1942). The bass has an all brass badge. There appears to be a date stamp that COULD say 6/41 but it is extremely light and impossible to read.  The photos depict the condition very accurately.

This is a set the deserves to be played. I've priced it to make it possible at less than a third of other Top Hat sets on my website. I will ship internationally.

Reverb Buyer Protection

Reverb has your back if your item is lost, damaged, or doesn't match its description. Simply report any issues within 7 days and we'll help you get a full refund.Learn more about Reverb Buyer Protection.

Listed4 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
  • 26,13,16
  • Cane & Top Hat
  • 1942
Made In
  • United States

Reverb Protection

Simple Returns, Secure Transactions, Human Support

Learn more

Secure Checkout

Donn Bennett's Drum Vault

Seattle, WA, United States
Joined Reverb:2014

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.