On a whim, I brought my Gretsch 14x20 to rehearsal with my heavy rock band. The drum is set up with Aquarian Classic Clears (single ply, no rings or muffling) with felt strips on both sides, no hole, and no beater patch. Tuned it up high by rock standards, and guess what... I loved it. It's a very different sound than the standard muffled 22, and I really need to be careful not to bury the beater to keep the sound full, but man, what a great sound. I forgot how much fun 20s are, how easy they are to play vs. 22s and larger, and how they sit in the mix.
I brought it, along with 10, 12, 14, and 16 toms, to my show Saturday night, and despite a little apprehension about the sound guy potentially losing his mind over no mic hole and a very different-sounding drum than he was used to, it ended up sounding great to me onstage. Very present and full, compared to the usual thin click/thunk I'm used to hearing. Guys in the band found it easy to hear too. And, wow, I really forgot how awesome Grestch toms are. So present, so bright. If only they could come up with a good slogan...
People also really loved the look of the drums. Grestch in Walnut are smokin' looking drums. Forgot to take pictures.
A few questions for you guys:
1. I have already put a nice 1/4" dent in the bass drum batter head. Using a Danmar wood beater. I guess my options are to add a patch (probably the Evans fabric one to minimize added attack), switch to a double-ply head, which I don't really want to do, or maybe try a dotted head? I really am enjoying the big, round sound I'm getting with the Classic Clears and probably will throw a patch on the dented head for now.
2. The little guy is light, and that meant it was walking around despite having the spikes out on the spurs. Anything I can do to keep it in place better? I really would prefer not to put toms on top to add weight.
3. One thing I forgot about Gretsch toms is how much they like to detune when tuned low. I had the 10 and 12 up pretty high, the 14 mid-low, and the 16 as low as it could go without flapping out. Has anybody solved this? I hate Lug Locks. I have some of the Rhythm Tech Index Tensioners and they're cool. Do the Canopus Bolt Tight washers work?
Thanks for help!