Ro Sham Bo - Replica of Neil Peart's Presto Ludwig kit

For the 2009 Winter NAMM show, the Ludwig Drum Company created several drum kit replicas to mark their 100th anniversary. These kits, by decade, included:

  • Buddy Rich's "West Side Kit" (1950s)

  • Ringo Starr's "Liverpool 4 Kit" (1960s)

  • Jason Bonham's "Vistalite Signature Kit" (1970s)

  • Neil Peart's RO SHAM BO Kit, similar to the kit made for Neil for the Presto tour (1980s)

You can read the full story of RO SHAM BO by Kevin Packard, Director of Marketing, Ludwig Combo Percussion. I've included excerpts here from his story:

Neil Peart and his Ludwig Presto drum kit

The Ludwig Super Classic kit Neil played on the 1990 tour for the Presto album, to me, represented a brilliant bridge between the "old" Rush (which played many long and complex pieces based mostly on Greek Mythology,) and the "new" (a power trio that played songs to a sequencer about the ironies of the post-industrial world.) It was the last of his live kits to feature the classic double-kick configuration that is instantly recognizable to the Peart aficionado (of which there is a small army.) As the third of the five kits Neil had built during his tenure at Ludwig, this kit had been through some noticeable changes from the previous two: the four concert toms to the player's left had been replaced by three closed toms (6", 8" and 10",) and two concert toms (6" and 8".)



With the goal of re-creating this kit in mind, my partner in crime Victor Salazar (of Chicago’s infamous Drum Pad,) set out to make sure it was totally authentic (well, within the limits of existing tooling, time, money, and technology.) All sizes in this kit are totally true to the original Neil played on this tour, but there were several little nuances that were totally unique to this set-up that Vic and I had to research to get exactly right. These are as follows:

•The 16"x24" bass drums (the first to feature this depth,) were made with two spurs on the outside of each, but only one spur on the inside so that they could be put closer together to accommodate Neil's playing.

•The original left bass drum featured a very rare side-mounted single tom holder that is no longer in production. We paid homage to this by using the new Ludwig Rail Consolette mount in the same position to place the 12" tom above the snare at just the right height and angle.

•The second floor tom is actually a single-headed 14"x22" bass drum on 3 legs (the original being a Tama gong bass drum that was painted to match the rest of the kit.)

•The snare drum that comes with the kit is the first wood snare drum to feature the Imperial snare lug. This was done as the drum Neil played on this -- and all previous -- tours was a 5"x14" Slingerland.

•Ludwig Lacquer and Shell Production Manager Rockie Hinson was the craftsman that painted a similar finish on Neil's final Ludwig kit (for the Counterparts tour.) The Presto kit was meant to look black but turn to purple under lights. This was achieved by putting several coats of black, purple, and red phosphorescent paint on top of each other with a clear coat on the outer. You will notice that even the insides of these shells are painted to match (to catch the essence of the "Vibra-Fibing" treatment on the inner shells of the original.)

•This is one of the first Monroe-production kits to feature Brass hardware, which I had to personally source in order to get for the kit. Some pieces, such as the two bass drum cymbal arms, two high tom tilters, and two multi-clamps, could not be brass-plated because they are aluminum.

•The 12" and 24" cymbal stackers had to be custom-built and plated at the source to be true to the set-up.

Since Neil left Ludwig in 1995, we couldn't call the kit The Peart Kit, so we called our recreation RO SHAM BO (so named because on this tour, his kick heads featured three illustrated hands doing "Scissors-Paper-Stone" as described in the album track Hand Over Fist,) a very obscure reference that only a true fan would catch (Neil himself reportedly had to look up the phrase "ro sham bo" on Wikipedia to catch the reference.) Though the kit does not come with the cymbals, cowbells, chimes or bells that appeared on it at the show, it does come with all drums and hardware outlined in the attached document (the kicks have standard Ludwig logo heads on the front now, but that will probably change sometime soon.)  

Photo from the 2009 Ludwig Drum Company catalog (click for larger size):