So, are you familiar with Gretsch Drums? If not, then maybe you are not a proper drummer. The company, Gretsch, is one of the most renowned makers of drum kits, and legendary musicians have used its drums since the company started manufacturing.
Gretsch has been one of the oldest musical companies globally that still exists and is still selling instruments in the market today. The company was founded in 1883 by the German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch and immediately opened a music store in Brooklyn, New York, selling drums, banjos, and tambourines.
In 1918, Mr. Fred Gretsch Sr. was able to develop a revolutionary multi-ply drum lamination process that resulted in the world’s first “warp free” drum hoop. The company introduced in 1927 its historic Gretsch-American drum series, which features the first multi-ply drum shells.
In 1935, the company introduced the original Brodkaster series, which happens to be one of the most revered drum sets of all time today. Gretsch entered a historic partnership in 1937 with the renowned drummer and inventor Billy Gladstone. The Gretsch Gladstone drum line was also introduced.
After the start of World War 2, the company stopped its operations to assist in the war efforts, and it only resumed in 1946, after the war had ended. After Gretsch resumed its production, the master percussionist and innovator Phil Grant joined the company, and they also teamed up with Louis Bellson to introduce the first double bass drum kit.
With the death of Bill Gretsch, Fred Gretsch Jr. assumed control of the company and started the age of prosperity for Gretsch. As Be-Pop started to be popular in 1950, the renowned Max Roach was also officially introduced as a Gretsch Artist. The legendary jazz drummer, Art Blakey, was also added to the Gretsch Artist roster.
The “Gretsch Drum Night at Birdland” was recorded by four legendary Gretsch drummers in 1960: Art Blakey, Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones, and “Philly” Joe Jones. More drummers joined the Gretsch Artist Roster just like Tony Williams in 1966. As Fred Gretsch Jr retired in 1967, he sold the company to the Baldwin Music Company. His nephew, Fred W. Gretsch, vowed to repurchase the company to the family fold.
The band Rolling Stones toured the United States with its drummer, Charlie Watts, using its Gretsch Drums, and until his death last year, he has always played in a Gretsch drum kit while playing for the band. The legend Phil Collins, who is also a renowned Gretsch Artist, joined the prog-rock band Genesis in 1970, which started his very successful career as a musician, reaching multi-platinum status with the Genesis and as a solo musician.
In 1983, Gretsch celebrated its 100 years of making legendary drum kits by releasing a very special limited edition birdseye maple drum kit. Eighteen years after the company was purchased by the Baldwin Music Company, Frew W. Gretsch fulfilled his promise to buy the company back in 1985. The company established its drum manufacturing facility in Ridgeland, South California.
Kaman Music (KMC Music) became the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Gretsch Drums in 2000, but after two years, KMC Music was acquired by Fender Musical Instruments along with its rights to develop, produce, market, and distribute Gretsch Drums.
In 2006, Gretsch introduced the Steve Ferrone Signature Drum Kit, which is a maple kit made in the USA with a 1955 Cadillac Green finish. The late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins became a member of the Gretsch Artist Roster in 2007.
Gretsch celebrated its 125th Anniversary of drum making by releasing a limited edition drum kit in 2008. In 2008, the Brooklyn Series, which is made in the USA, was introduced to the market.
In 2013, the company celebrated its 130th Anniversary by introducing a new limited-edition drum kit made in the USA, which features the original Gretsch Round Badge, making its return to the scene after many years. In 2014, Gretsch introduced the modern-day version of the Brodkaster Series. Its shell design is nearly identical to the original Broadkaster drum kits in the 1930s.
The renowned American drum maker Drum Workshop (DW Drums) was able to acquire the rights to develop, produce, market, and distribute Gretsch Drums from Fender Musical Instruments in 2015. As Gretsch celebrated its 135th Anniversary in 2018, they introduced their Limited Edition Gretsch 135th Anniversary drum kit and commemorative snare drum.
Are Gretsch Drums Owned by DW (Drum Workshop)
The drum company DW or also known as Drum Workshop was able to acquire the license to manufacture and distribute Gretsch Drums in 2015. As of today, DW has the right to be able to develop, produce, market, and manufacture all Gretsch drums kits.
Where Are Gretsch Drums Made?
All Energy, Catalina Club, Catalina Maple, and Renown Series Drum kits are all made in their factory in Taiwan. These drum kits are all from entry-level and mid-level price ranges.
For the Broadkaster, Brooklyn, and USA Custom Drum sets, they are all made in the Gretsch drum manufacturing facility in Ridgeland, South California. The Gretsch Custom and Signature Series Drum sets are also manufactured in the same facility.
What Is A Gretsch Drum Model Number?
The Gretsch drum model numbers found on the labels represent the model numbers in the catalogs of its specific era. Each drum model number has consistent characteristics such as the number of lugs, type of throw-off, inclusion of a muffler, and many more.
What Are The Gretsch Drum Models That Are Available In The Market Today?
As of this moment, Gretsch offers a variety of drum sets, from entry-level to professional kits. All of the kits are also categorized into different price points in which the Taiwan-made drum kits are the cheaper options, and the US-made kits are the more expensive options.
The Gretsch Energy Series is the entry-level drum kit and the cheapest option of all the Gretsch drums. The Gretsch Energy drum kit still banners the unique Gretsch tone that many drummers are looking for at a more affordable price. These kits are usually sold with either Zildjian, Sabian or Paiste cymbals to complete the set.
The shell material used in the Gretsch Energy drums is all 7-ply poplar shells. This is really what is expected for an entry-level drum kit. Its shells have a 30-degree bearing edge, producing a rounder and more focused sound. The shells also come up with 1.6mm steel triple flange hoops. Overall, the kit sounds punchy.
The Gretsch Energy drum kit comes in two different configurations, a 5-piece kit and a 4-piece kit, and all the shells are in standard sizes. The toms are uniquely equipped with only five lugs as other companies use six lugs in their toms. They also come up with Gretsch’s clear single-ply heads.
The drum kit also comes with hardware; although it is not top-quality, but it still has a decent build quality and can last for a long time. All the stands are double braced, and it uses ball mounts for its toms to have more options in positioning the toms. Its only drawback is that the bass pedal is not as fast as you want, but you can still easily upgrade it.
Overall, the sound produced is really great, maybe even one of the best when it comes to entry-level drum kits. It can also be improved if you replace the drum heads with better quality. The hardware can also be trusted to take some beatings. It is really one of the most sought-after entry-level drum kits in the market.
Gretsch Catalina Club
The Gretsch Catalina Club Series has an entry-level pricing with an intermediate level sound. The Catalina Club drum kits are known for their warm and punchy vintage tone. The drum kits are usually sold without any cymbal set, unlike the Energy drum kits.
The Gretsch Catalina Club drum kits use 7-ply mahogany wood for their shell material. The mahogany wood is known for its warm, rich tone without sounding muddy when it comes to drum kits. The shells have a 30-degree bearing edge and come with 1.6mm triple-flanged hoops.
The Gretsch Catalina Club drum kits have two configurations: a 4-piece drum kit and a 3-piece drum kit. A 4-piece drum kit means that it has only one tom-tom, while a 3-piece drum kit has only one tom-tom and no snare drum. They also come with a smaller bass drum as they purposely created for jazz drummers.
The Catalina Club drum kits come with a complete set of Gibraltar 8600 hardware. The snare stand, cymbal stand, and hi-hat stand are very sturdy and have a great build quality. It also has a mini GTS tom suspension system and low-profile tom and floor tom leg brackets.
The snare drum has a Coated UT Ambassador batter head and Clear UT resonant head. For the toms, they have a Coated UT Ambassador for their batter heads and a Clear UT Ambassador for their resonant heads. The bass drum is equipped with a Clear UT Ambassador batter head with a muffle ring, while it has a Coated white Gretsch resonant head with a muffle ring also. All these Remo heads are very popular for lower-priced drumheads.
Overall, the Catalina Club drum kits are one of the best entry-level jazz drum kits available in the market. For its price range, it is really a very easy decision to get one of these as they are really great sounding drums and are well built at a pretty affordable price.
Gretsch Catalina Maple
If you are looking for a new drum kit with an intermediate-level price but an expensive sound, then the Gretsch Catalina Maple is maybe what you are looking for. Honestly, I personally own one of these kits, and for the price that I paid for it, I was really blown away by the sound that it produced.
The Gretsch Catalina Maple produces a very warm but explosive sound, thanks to its maple shells. Although these are Asian maple shells, still, maple is maple. These kits are very versatile as they can be played in any type of genre, including jazz. However, the Catalina Maple does not come with any free cymbals.
The shell material used in the Gretsch Catalina Maple kits is all 7-ply Maple wood. Just like other Gretsch drum kits, they also have a 30-degree bearing edge which is typical for every Gretsch drum. They also come with 2.5mm triple-flanged hoops.
The Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kits are available in three different configurations: a standard 5-piece kit, a 6-piece kit and a 7-piece kit. The 7-piece setup gives you a giant drum kit setup and is great for metal drummers who want to play on lots of drums.
Every Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kit comes with a Gibraltar 9600 hardware set. The Gibraltar 9600 is highly known as a mid-level drum hardware set, but its cymbal stands look pretty high quality. All the stands are rugged and greatly built. You can also easily adjust them as you would like to.
You can also purchase add-on tom-toms, floor toms or bass drums if you prefer a monstrous drum kit just like a Phil Collins drum setup. All Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kits use a Remo Coated UT Ambassador for their batter heads and Remo Clear UT Ambassador for their resonant heads.
Overall, the Gretsch Catalina Maple drum kit is one of the mid-range maple drum kits available on the market. It is one of the most versatile drum kits I have tried, and for its add-on options, it is really enjoyable to play in a drum kit with a large setup.
The Gretsch Renown Series drum kits are professional-level drum kits that are made in its Taiwan factory. They have similar features to the drum kits made in the USA, although the Renown drum kits are more affordable than their US counterparts.
The Renown drum kits still have that Gretsch drum sound that many professional artists are looking for. Renown kits are their impressive open and harmonic tone, which makes them one of the most versatile drum kits ever made by the company.
The Gretsch Renown drum kits still use the 7-ply Gretsch Formula Maple for its shells. For its bearing edges, it still uses a 30-degree design, as this is the trademark of all the Gretsch drums. It uses Gretsch 302 hoops as they produce a focused sound and is lighter in weight compared to a die-cast hoop, resulting in the drums having a better resonance.
Gretsch Renown drum kits are available in three different categories: a 3-piece, a 4-piece and a 5-piece drum kit. For a 3-piece drum kit, you can use your own or buy a snare drum that you really want as it does not come with one.
The Gretsch Renown drum kit also comes with a Gibraltar 9700 hardware, the most expensive hardware set for Gibraltar products. The cymbal, hi-hat and snare stands are of pretty high quality, and you can rely upon that they will last for a very long time. They are very light, and you can set them up easily without experiencing any problems.
Its snare drums are equipped with a Remo Coated Ambassador for its batter side, while the snare side has a Remo-made Gretsch resonant head. The toms are equipped with Remo Clear Emperor on its batter side, while the resonant side has Remo-made Gretsch resonant heads. Lastly, the bass drum is equipped with a Remo USA Clear Powerstroke on its batter side and a Coated white Gretsch on its resonant side.
Overall, the Gretsch Renown drum kit is one of the best professional kits that are still within the affordable price range. The Renown drum kits are very versatile, as you can use them in your studio recording or live gig without any issues. Although there is a stigma regarding professional-level drum kits made in Asia, it isn’t easy to find a drum kit with this quality for its price point.
Since the Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits were introduced in the market, it has been one of the world’s most sought-after professional drum kits. These kits are made by Gretsch’s USA factory in Ridgeland, South California. The Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits are known for their warm, open and wide sound.
Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits use 6-ply North American maple/poplar for their shells and are with Silver Sealer interiors to improve their resonance. Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits still use a 30-degree bearing edge, which is pretty standard for all Gretsch drums. They also come with the Gretsch 302 hoops, which are 3mm thick and are double flanged.
The Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits are available in two different configurations: a 4-piece and a 5-piece drum kit. There are also some configurations in which the snare drum is not included when you are buying the drum kit. Aside from the standard size, it is also available in a micro-sized version.
The Gretsch Brooklyn drum kits have very durable USA custom lugs, brackets, spurs and floor tom legs. However, they do not come with any snare, hi-hat or cymbal stands.
The snare and toms are equipped with a Coated Gretsch Permatone made by Remo on their batter side and Clear Gretsch Permatone made by Remo on their resonant side. For the bass drum, it is equipped with a Coated Powerstroke Permatone made by Remo for its batter side and Remo White Permatone for the resonant side.
Overall, the Gretsch Brooklyn drum kit is a dream kit for almost all drummers worldwide. It is an excellent drum kit for studio recording as they are very easy to mix on the board. It is also a perfect drum kit to use for any live performances. It is tough to find fault in this kit except its price, but it is really expected for a US-made drum kit.
The Gretsch Broadkaster is one of the oldest drum kit models available in the market today. The Gretsch Broadkaster was the flagship drumkit of the company from the 1920s to the 1950s, and its produced sound was also the basis for the company’s moniker “That Great Gretsch Sound.” These drum kits are still made in the Gretsch USA factory located in Ridgeland, South California.
The shells of the Gretsch Broadkasters are made from a 3-ply North American maple/poplar/maple formula. The snare drums still use the 30-degree bearing edge design. In contrast, the rack, floor and bass drums use a roundover bearing edge design, which allows for a greater surface contact between the drumhead and the bearing edge, resulting in an incredibly deep and warm tone.
The Gretsch Broadkaster is available in two different configurations: a 3-piece drum kit with no snare drum and a 4-piece drum kit. An advantage of having a drum kit with no snare drum included is that you can use your preferred snare drum when you are using the drum kit.
The Gretsch Broadkaster drum kits are equipped with durable and heavy-duty Gretsch lugs, spurs, and an excellent straight-sided GTS tom suspension. However, snare, tom and cymbals stands are not included when purchasing a Gretsch Broadkaster drum kit.
Like the Gretsch Brooklyn, the snare and toms of Gretsch Broadkasters are equipped with a Coated Gretsch Permatone made by Remo on their batter side and Clear Gretsch Permatone made by Remo on their resonant side. For their bass drums, they are equipped with Coated Remo Fiberskn for the batter head.
Overall, there is really no doubt that the Gretsch Broadkaster is one of the best drum kits in the world. Even with all the upgrades through the years, the iconic “That Great Gretsch Sound” is still embodied in this drum kit. You will really have to expect that you are going to pay a hefty price if you are planning to get one.
Gretsch USA Custom
The Gretsch USA Custom drum kit has been the cream of the crop for Gretsch Drums for more than 65 years. After replacing the Broadkaster as the company’s flagship drum kit, the USA Custom drum kit has become the foundation of “That Great Gretsch Sound” for many years.
The shells of the Gretsch USA Custom are made from the legendary 6-ply maple/gum Gretsch formula. Just like every Gretsch drum, the Gretsch USA Custom uses a 30-degree bearing edge, resulting in a rounder, warmer presence and punchier, drier attack. The USA Custom drum kits are also equipped with a die-cast hoop that delivers rich tones and superior intonation
The Gretsch USA Custom drum kits are available in four different configurations: a 3-piece, a 4-piece, 5-piece and a 6-piece drum kit setup. These drum kits are made in the Gretsch USA Factory in Ridgeland, South California, where the legendary drum kits are made.
The lugs, brackets and other hardware in the Gretsch USA Custom are made to last for a lifetime. They have a high-quality build, and you can expect them to last for a long time. However, snare, hi-hat and cymbals stands are not included when buying a Gretsch USA Custom.
The Gretsch USA Customs drum kits are also equipped with Silver Sealed interiors to help protect the drums. All Gretsch USA Custom drum kits come with Remo’s renowned Gretsch Permatone heads.
Overall, I have no questions about why the Gretsch USA Custom has been the company’s flagship drum kit for a very long time. This drum kit is made to perfection, and if you are planning to buy one, you will have to break the bank for this one.
Do Gretsch Drums Have Badges?
Gretsch drum kits are widely known for their iconic badges, and it is the company’s way to recognize the different drum kits they made in different eras.
From 1883 to 1971, Gretsch drum kits are always known for their round badges. From 1972 to 1979, the shape of the badge was changed to an octagon, which makes it look like a stop sign. The word “Gretsch” was embossed on the badge with an elongated “T” in the middle.
From 1979 to 1980, newly designed stop sign badges were used with different content of words from before. In 1980, the square badge was introduced. The square badge had mirror images of the Gretsch name in block letters above and below the grommet and U.S.A. to the left and right.
In early 1981, the stop sign returned again. It is where the iconic drop G logo can be seen for the first time. From late 1981 to 2013, the square badge made its return to the scene again, but it was different from the original version. The word “U.S.A” was replaced with the phrase “Since 1883” in the new square badge.
Gretsch also made anniversary badges on a limited series of drum kits. They only made 100 drum kits that have an anniversary badge, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the company. In 2013, the round badge was reintroduced again and has still been used today.
Overall, Gretsch drum kits are one of the best in the market today. From their entry-level to the professional-level kits, they are all high-quality and top of their class. Many legendary drummers have used Gretsch drum kits for all their careers, so there is no doubt that Gretsch drum kits are among the best in the business.