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Old 10-14-2013, 05:44 PM
robbiemurray robbiemurray is offline
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Location: Norwich, England
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Default Re: Gretsch Rosewood Lacquer 1971 Stop Sign

After a great deal of hard work stripping the 14" Tom Tom, it became obvious that it wouldn't be possible to restore the drums to anything like the original walnut finish, as the factory applied stain had bled all the way through the top ply, so an even natural colour could only be achieved by sanding - probably all the way through, and possibly even into the next layer down - simply not an option, so it had to be either paint or a wrap. I've always liked the plain black nitron, so that was my choice, but I didn't trust myself to apply it without something going badly wrong, so I decided to have it done professionally. Eddie Ryan is recognised as the No 1 man here in the UK, so I handed it over to him, and he did a marvellous job. I now have a beautiful shiny black kit with gleaming hardware and all non-Gretsch fittings removed and replaced by originals - not cheap, but I'm so pleased I agreed to it. He also re-cut the bearing edges, which were well out, and the sound now is just wonderful.

He also advised me that the shells are actually round badge, probably made just before the factory fire, but shipped in 1972 with very early Stop Sign badges.

I tackled the snare drum restoration myself, on the basis that it was so horribly pitted and moulded, that if it went wrong, it was no big deal, and could easily be replaced, since 400s aren't that expensive, and certainly not rare.

I stripped it down and removed all the fittings prior to doing my best to get rid of the scabbing, but it still looked very sick, so I thought I'd risk sandblasting and powder coating. This was done by a local company specialising in alloy wheels who had never seen a drum shell in their lives, but they rose to the challenge and did a really good job. The finish wasn't perfect, but they suggested spraying with several coats of gloss, so I went to my local car accessory shop and found a very nice Audi pearlescent black which, being a big Audi fan (I've had seven over the past 20 years), I couldn't resist. The result is pretty good - doesn't look mint, but then it is 42 years old ... I had no idea what to expect sound wise, but with a Skyntone batter head and Ambassador on the bottom, it'll hold its own with any Ludwig 400, both with sticks and brushes. (Could be the vintage die-cast Ludwig hoops donated by my friend Rob Masters here in Norwich have something to do with it)

Still have to clean up the stands etc., but there are some photos in my album for those who are interested - (Doesn't appear to work in Firefox, but OK in Chrome)

That, then, is the end of the story for now - I've bought all new cases which will keep them pristine until hopefully one of my grandchildren shows an interest. No hurry - I have 2 grand-daughters under 2 years old, and a boy and a girl expected in 2014, but at least when the kit next comes blinking into the light of day, it'll look every bit as good as it does right now!

Norwich, England

Last edited by robbiemurray; 10-21-2013 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 10-15-2013, 02:49 AM
vibes vibes is offline
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Default Re: Gretsch Rosewood Lacquer 1971 Stop Sign

Looked through all the pics. The drums came out splendid. Like what you did with the snare. I want to do that with my old 71 Supraphonic.
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Old 10-16-2013, 05:17 PM
robbiemurray robbiemurray is offline
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Smile Re: Gretsch Rosewood Lacquer 1971 Stop Sign

Go for it then!
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Old 10-16-2013, 08:24 PM
teverson-sr teverson-sr is offline
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Default Re: Gretsch Rosewood Lacquer 1971 Stop Sign

Very nice-I haven't had good results trying to re-stain in similar situations-always comes out blotchy or in one instance the stain didn't even take. I loved my Stop Sign Gretsch's-
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