Most drum historians tend to think of the quintessential Ringo kit as being a mid-’60s (preferably ’64-’66) classic model 22" bass, 13" and 16" toms with a 5" x 14" Jazz Festival model snare drum in Oyster Black Pearl. The Ludwig Drum Co. first acquired this colored laminate finish in the late 1950s from a distributor who had the plastic manufactured in Italy. According to legend, William Ludwig II named the finish Oyster Black for presentation in Ludwig’s product catalogs, due to its resemblance to oyster shells. Somewhere during the years, the word order got switched and the finish became more commonly known as Black Oyster. Interestingly, Rogers also began receiving the same finish at approximately the same time – presumably from the same wholesaler as Ludwig – and called their version of the finish Black Strata. However, drum sets covered in their version of the same finish never made a dent in Ludwig’s market – but then again, they didn’t have Ringo playing their drums. (Liam Mulholland) Fred used to play a vintage kit from ’68, but after the kit fell apart on stage because of the antiquated hardware, he currently prefers a brand new re-issue.