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  #1  
Old 12-18-2007, 11:22 AM
PK Drums PK Drums is offline
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Default I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Hey everyone, just re-posting this as I was hoping for some more feedback, but I think I posted it in the wrong sub-directory...

I have been collecting vintage drums for a few years now and have aquired a nice collection of all the major US Brands (Rogers, 2 Slingerlands, Leedy, Ludwig) as well as some nice new custom and higher end snares.

Recently I obtained a beautiful WMP 1960's 8 Lug, 4 point strainer 5 1/2 x 14 Snare complete with the sliver interior and paper tag. Cosmetically the drum is gorgeous, with minimal fading to the wrap, that has resulted in a slightly grayish tint instead of the ussual yellowing.

Now the bad part: I HATE the way it sounds! The snare came with fairly new Remo Ambassadors, that suprisingly didn't fit too tightly. (I know that is ussually an issue with the RB's). Just to be on the safe side, and to ensure the best sound I purchased new Aquarian American Vintage heads for the top and bottom (medium weight).

No matter what combination of heads I use, and so far no matter how I tune it it sounds like garbage!

It is the least sensitive drum I have ever played, and has an extremely boxy sound. The drum sounds like someone glued some snares to a cardboard box!

I have done research and know that not everyone loved Gretches snares, and that many players would use Gretsch kits with another makers snare. However there are tons of pics of the greats (Max, Art, Elvin, etc.) performing on these snares.

I find it hard to believe that this is just the way they sound. I am hoping there is some secret or at least some advice someone here can give me as to how to make this snare sing!

One last thing- the snare beds are very deeply cut (as are most Gretsch snares I see form this era). I think this has a lot ot do with it, but there must be someway to still make this snare sound good. Re-cutting the beds/edges is something I really don't want to do (and I don't think something I should have to).
Drummers have been raving about these snares for decades now, and there has to be a reason...I just have yet to find it!

PLEASE HELP!
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2007, 11:46 AM
Rich K. Rich K. is offline
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Leave the edges alone...most folks (not all) seem to feel the same way...Gretsch toms sound nice...the snares don't. Leave it alone and get an acrolite. If you only keep "players", sell it and buy a nice old tube lug Ludwig or something else...
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:50 AM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is online now
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Gretsch snare drums gave me the exact same problem that you describe. They sound like boxes! I don't know why they sound that way....but, they do. You're not the first one to be frustrated by them. I would suggest the following:

Try a Remo DIPLOMAT batter head and a Diplomat snare side head. Exchange the wide snare wire set with a thin set (like a 12 or a 16 strand set) -nothing fancy -just good old regular snare wires. You could also try exchanging the diecast rims with some 1.6mm triple flange rims. All of these things will combine to "open up" the boxy sound of a Gretsch snare drum....but, don't lose the original parts and replace them back to original condition if you ever plan to sell it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 12:27 PM
Vaquero44 Vaquero44 is offline
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

If you are a super purist, don't touch the edges, but you'll have to use much heavier heads and tune them more tightly.
I use a calfskin head on my old 40's round badge and it sounds amazing.
I't a new calfskin that doesn't need to be heated or anything. Sounds great and very tunable.
I also have an old 50's round badge that was dropped and the edges were damaged. Nodar Rhode in NYC re-did the edges and it sound beautiful.
It depends on what you want. I'm sure there are many people who will take it off of your hands if you don't want it.
Good luck.
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:16 PM
PK Drums PK Drums is offline
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Thanks for the comments guys. I really don't want to alter the bearing edges, and I have dealt with Nodar before and I was not at all impressed. In general the Modern Drum Shop is my go to when I can't fix things on my own.

I might just end up selling/trading this for a nice Ludwig Jazz fest or Super Classic.

Keep those comments coming!
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:28 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is online now
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Calfskin might be an interesting solution...but they are rather expensive and have somewhat of a higher maintenance level than a synthetic head. They DO conform to uneven bearing edges much better, though.
A "heavier" synthetic head would definitely NOT be my advice. In fact, it's the opposite. If a thick head is used on an "over-sized' vintage wrapped shell with poor bearing edges, then tuning will be made more difficult. That's why I recommend using a Thin batter side head and snare side head -because the thinner film will conform better to the uneven edges. A thinner head will also add more high overtones -which are often missing in drums that come across as sounding "boxy".

I would NEVER recommend getting the edges re-cut on an otherwise original round badge drum -because it would mess up the collectible value of it forever. If you need a better sound, then, as Rich K has mentioned, it might be better just to spend some money on Ludwig snare drum. An Acrolite or a Supra are always readily available on EBay and they sound good even if you try to make them sound bad!
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Old 12-18-2007, 01:30 PM
O-Lugs O-Lugs is online now
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PK Drums
Thanks for the comments guys. I really don't want to alter the bearing edges, and I have dealt with Nodar before and I was not at all impressed.
I was going to say the same thing about Nodar. He doesn't seem to pay a lot of attention to detail....but hey, to each his own!
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2007, 10:37 AM
n&cgretschman n&cgretschman is offline
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Default Re: I HATE my Gretsch RB Snare...please help!

Just to chime in, I had a gretsch 60's and everything sounded great except the snare. I tried every head combination and couldn't get it to sound good. I would leave it and either sell it or just cover it up to keep the set intact. Work on the bearing edge would improve it from my experience but it would definetly hurt its vintage value and you probably still wouldn't be 100% happy with it.
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