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  #1  
Old 12-01-2019, 08:34 PM
DrumBob DrumBob is offline
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Default I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

Back in the '80's, I got a six ply round badge Gretsch set, mostly because I had never owned Gretsch drums and wanted to discover what all the fuss was about.

Survivor was a pretty popular band at the time, and I liked the look of their drummer's bright red Gretsch set in Modern Drummer ads, so I gathered up a bunch of orphans and had them reworked to match that drummer's set. I played them for a couple of years, and in that time, never really bonded with them. They were, I felt, no better than my old Slingerlands, or the Pearl maple shell set I was also using. There was just something about those drums that didn't resonate with me. I sold that red set to a drum student of mine and never gave it a second thought. Who knows where they are now.

So, I know there are Gretsch fans here. Why do you like them and what is it about Gretsch drums that is so special? I'd honestly like to know. I'm certainly not influenced by the Bop drummers of the 50's, many of whom were Gretsch players, as I don't particularly care for that style of jazz. Maybe I have a built-in prejudice as a result of that dislike. Who knows? Maybe I thought I'd have an epiphany playing Gretsch drums, like they were truly more special than any other quality drum brand, the be-all end-all. That certainly didn't happen. It could have something to do with my perception that Gretsch drums were for jazz players.

So, I'd really like to know how you Gretsch players feel and why. I have never again had the desire to own Gretsch drums, and at this point, most likely never will.
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'01 DW Collectors, Oyster White, 10/12/14/16/22
'64 Slingerland, 13/16/20/22 (to be restored)
'65 Leedy, Blue Sparkle, 12/14/20
'67 Ludwig, Burgundy Sparkle, 12/13/16/22
'71 Slingerland, Champagne Sparkle, 12/13/16/22
'72 Slingerland, Red Tiger Pearl, 12/13/16/16/22
'74 Slingerland Gold Sparkle, 13/14/18/24
'72 Rogers, Black Strata, 13/16/22
'00's Tama Swingstar, White Satin Flame, 12/13/16/22

Author, "Great Rock Drummers Of The Sixties."

Last edited by DrumBob; 12-02-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2019, 08:51 PM
Multijd Multijd is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

They have a focused sound with a natural muting effect. They don’t ring as much. They tune well high or low and seem to sound good even if you aren’t super careful with tuning them. They are durable. Look good. Cool factor is part of it.
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2019, 09:56 PM
jda jda is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

I like the Cast Hoops. On the Snare, the Toms, the Floor Tom. The Shell. Gum/Maple on Bass, toms, snare everything. The Cast Hoop you can really thwack. And I'll tell ya . You only have retune them- well never- every 30 years or so.
So. Low maintenance. High Quality (satin wood finishes), Rock Solid tone and heft. Not heavy but definitely not Light..Solid. USA.

I have 2003 (ish) gunmetal (bought dealer new old stock shipped direct from Gretsch) Broadkasters 14x18/10x12/9x10/12x14 in Satin rw
Have 1966 RB Redwinepearl 20/12/14/COB bought used in 1975
(also 16x16 converted to bass + 8x12 Red Glass RB)
Had Yellow Satin Flame 20/12/14/matching bought used also in 1975. Sold

Never let me down tuff drums. Never budge Never detune Tight tolerance.
Owned Ludwig (1st set in 1969), Premier (2nd set new in 1971) Couple Tama (new aqua Superstar and black Rockstar) Baltimore (satin bebop)- all gone- Gretsch survived.
Tuff drums.

Playing my 6 ply 18/12/10/14 gunmetal Broadkasters with a 1965 RB wmp 5" 8L survivor Renown snare. A few months back (September) playing with long time friends Kenny and Eric.

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Last edited by jda; 12-02-2019 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:31 AM
Multijd Multijd is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

Nice JDA! Great Gretsch Sound!
JB
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:11 AM
johnnyringo johnnyringo is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

I had a rb with a 13,16,24 and currently have a 22 kick. My main issue is changing the heads, it's an adventure to say the least.
The drums sound fantastic, the kick I have now is one of the best I've played. I don't think they're any better sounding than Ludwig, Slingerland or Rogers, just a little different.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:06 AM
idrum4fun idrum4fun is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

I, too, have never understood why vintage Gretsch drums sell for so much more than a comparable Ludwig, Rogers or Slingerland kit. I've always felt that the drumming public at large feeds this perception.

Growing up, I really liked the look of Gretsch lugs and their die-cast hoops. However, their hardware, such as tom holders, tom and leg brackets and their Micro-sensitive and Lightning strainers were a real pain. While the "look" of the top/bottom muffler knobs looked pretty cool, those dual, rectangular, muffler pads take up too much real-estate. I did like the Pratt bass drum muffler, though!

Silver sealer? To my eyes, it's just marketing hype! Yes, I know I'm going to take flak for that statement! Gum/maple shells? I have a beautiful 2006 Pearl Export kit with 6-ply poplar shells that sounds fantastic. It's all in the shell diameter and bearing edges. We all know that Gretsch used shells that were not undersized. Add in the wrap and you now have shells that require the use of a rubber mallet to force on a drum head! Seriously!! Remo finally addressed this issue with their "Classic Fit" heads!

That "great Gretsch sound" was also achieved by the use of "reverse" bearing edges on the toms. Changing where the edge hits the head changes the sound! I also read that many the 50's drums used a cloth wrap between the shell and outer plastic "Nitron" wrap.

Please don't get me wrong. I know there are thousands of drummers who love vintage Gretsch drums. But, when I factor in every aspect of Gretsch versus the other American-made drums, I just don't understand how they can fetch two times, or more, than a comparable Ludwig, Rogers or Slingerland kit. I guess it's just perception!

All the above is just my opinion. YMMV!! Keep on drumming with the drums YOU love!

-Mark
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:29 AM
JimmySticks JimmySticks is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

Quote:
Originally Posted by idrum4fun View Post
I, too, have never understood why vintage Gretsch drums sell for so much more than a comparable Ludwig, Rogers or Slingerland kit. I've always felt that the drumming public at large feeds this perception.

Growing up, I really liked the look of Gretsch lugs and their die-cast hoops. However, their hardware, such as tom holders, tom and leg brackets and their Micro-sensitive and Lightning strainers were a real pain. While the "look" of the top/bottom muffler knobs looked pretty cool, those dual, rectangular, muffler pads take up too much real-estate. I did like the Pratt bass drum muffler, though!

Silver sealer? To my eyes, it's just marketing hype! Yes, I know I'm going to take flak for that statement! Gum/maple shells? I have a beautiful 2006 Pearl Export kit with 6-ply poplar shells that sounds fantastic. It's all in the shell diameter and bearing edges. We all know that Gretsch used shells that were not undersized. Add in the wrap and you now have shells that require the use of a rubber mallet to force on a drum head! Seriously!! Remo finally addressed this issue with their "Classic Fit" heads!

That "great Gretsch sound" was also achieved by the use of "reverse" bearing edges on the toms. Changing where the edge hits the head changes the sound! I also read that many the 50's drums used a cloth wrap between the shell and outer plastic "Nitron" wrap.

Please don't get me wrong. I know there are thousands of drummers who love vintage Gretsch drums. But, when I factor in every aspect of Gretsch versus the other American-made drums, I just don't understand how they can fetch two times, or more, than a comparable Ludwig, Rogers or Slingerland kit. I guess it's just perception!

All the above is just my opinion. YMMV!! Keep on drumming with the drums YOU love!

-Mark
This is good schooling for me, since I eventually would like to upgrade to a nice vintage American kit someday.

I was always perplexed at the vintage Gretch prices myself, and wondered what made them so much more expensive than the others. I kind of put Gretch out of my mind due to there expense. To rich for my blood. A nice 3 piece bop set is about $3000 or better!
I'm not sure I can justify double the price of a comparable Ludwig, or maybe 3 times the price for a comparable Slingerland, or am I oversimplifying things?

But Gretch isn't the only expensive vintage American kit out there, Rogers is right up there as well and I can't figure that one out either, but we can always do another thread someday called, "I Have Never "Gotten" Rogers Drums"...
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:50 AM
leedybdp leedybdp is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

1950's--1980's Rogers drums were more expensive than those other brands mentioned in this thread largely due to the most innovative and most versatile hardware that the industry is still copying. Rogers drums were the DW of the industry before there was a DW. Of those American-made brands mentioned, Gretsch made and sold the fewest drums. The law of supply and demand comes in to play here. When you mix collectors' hype with short supply, the prices go up.
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:00 AM
jda jda is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

vintage Gretsch drums are not that different from modern Gretsch drums.
That's beauty 1)

2) You can spec a new Gretsch set (6 ply USA Cus) to be better than a RB reason? 3)
newer brackets check. Sharper edges Check Satin (and gloss) finishes myriad of choice Check No head fit issues Check...add additional available Tom sizes Check.

So when you see 12,000 RB$ 18" sets and 6000$ and 5000$ Don't Fret. New Gretsch (1800$-2500$ new) are near identical and Fresh.
Owned -for 45 years) both 1966 and 2003 models. There's not a lot of sound difference (if any at all) (equals none) . Just upgraded mounts and did I mention Fresh..
Gretsch have only changed details expanded color and size options sound remains

Last edited by jda; 12-02-2019 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 12-02-2019, 10:03 AM
leedybdp leedybdp is offline
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Default Re: I Have Never "Gotten" Gretsch Drums

I hope the same can be said about comparing the forthcoming Sound King Slingerland drums to the 1950's and 1960's Slingerland drums. I also hope that there are some new Radio King models that are direct replicas of the 1940's and early 1950's Slingies.
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