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#1
A Stick

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Hi Folks;

If anyone is playing these drums or tried them out, please let me know what you think of them.

TIA;

A Stick
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#2
mtarrani

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If you like paying a premium price for what appears to be Keller shells in non-tradition sizes (neither of which bear much resemblance to the old Brooklyn RB models), then I suppose they are OK. I noticed the hoops are not the Gretsch traditional die cast, which were actually much lighter than modern die cast, but heavy 3mm hoops that may be stamped (hard to be sure from the product description.)

Personally, I'd opt for something by DW or Ludwig. Both of those companies make kits that are in traditional sizes with some interesting shell compositions these days. Heck, the least Gretsch could have done was use maple/gum/maple instead of maple/popular/maple ... I think DW's classics bop kits are more vintage Gretsch Brooklyn than what Gretsch is offering. Go figure, right?
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#3
duanedrum

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As you can see from the Gretsch website:

Proudly hand crafted in Ridgeland, South Carolina, USA, by a team of veteran drum builders, Gretsch Brooklyn has a sound that is at once recognizable and essential, yet distinctively reinvented. The Gretsch drum design team molded the Brooklyn series by combining classic Gretsch elements while infusing it with new attributes. They expanded upon traditional drum designs to shape a sound that retains fundamental Gretsch characteristics while projecting a fresh voice.

They are not trying to replicate the original Brooklyn Round Badge drums. Most of these sizes look pretty traditional to me....

GB-R844 18" x 24" 9" x 13" 16" x 16" 6.5" x 14"
GB-R843 18" x 24" 9" x 13" 16" x 16"
GB-E8256 18" x 22" 7" x 10" 14" x 16" 5.5" x 14"
GB-E8246 18" x 22" 7" x 10" 14" x 16"
GB-J684 16" x 18" 8" x 12" 14" x 14" 5" x 14"
GB-J683 16" x 18" 8" x 12" 14" x 14"

And they sound amazing!!!

Edited by duanedrum, 29 August 2012 - 11:37 PM.

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#4
mtarrani

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As you can see from the Gretsch website:

Proudly hand crafted in Ridgeland, South Carolina, USA, by a team of veteran drum builders, Gretsch Brooklyn has a sound that is at once recognizable and essential, yet distinctively reinvented. The Gretsch drum design team molded the Brooklyn series by combining classic Gretsch elements while infusing it with new attributes. They expanded upon traditional drum designs to shape a sound that retains fundamental Gretsch characteristics while projecting a fresh voice.

They are not trying to replicate the original Brooklyn Round Badge drums. Most of these sizes look pretty traditional to me....

GB-R844 18" x 24" 9" x 13" 16" x 16" 6.5" x 14"
GB-R843 18" x 24" 9" x 13" 16" x 16"
GB-E8256 18" x 22" 7" x 10" 14" x 16" 5.5" x 14"
GB-E8246 18" x 22" 7" x 10" 14" x 16"
GB-J684 16" x 18" 8" x 12" 14" x 14" 5" x 14"
GB-J683 16" x 18" 8" x 12" 14" x 14"

And they sound amazing!!!


Traditional? Not a single bass drum is in 14" depth. I have messed with the Brooklyn and the DW jazz model and the DW - to my ears - beats it hand's down when it comes to the Gretsch sound of those old Brooklyn RBs. If they did not want to replicate the sound (or sizes) it sure begs the question as to why they named them Brooklyn and slapped a round badge on them, huh? :) Moi? DW or Ludwig any day for modern drums with a true, vintage sound. That's just me.
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#5
noahJT

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Brooklyn series has no real identity. Yea they have the maple poplar shells, but it just doesn't fit what they're trying to market: a retro-ish throwback kit. The bearing edges are wrong. The sizes are horribly non-era.

So if you wanted a modern kit, the sizes and bearing edges are right, but the shells are wrong. If you wanted a throwback kit, then the sizes and edges are off!

So it is what it is. I personally don't care from them compared to other maple poplar kits like the Ludwig legacy or even C&C maple poplars. To me, I think gretsch saw an interest in throwback kits, then just pieced something together without perfecting it.
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#6
mtarrani

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Brooklyn series has no real identity. Yea they have the maple poplar shells, but it just doesn't fit what they're trying to market: a retro-ish throwback kit. The bearing edges are wrong. The sizes are horribly non-era.

So if you wanted a modern kit, the sizes and bearing edges are right, but the shells are wrong. If you wanted a throwback kit, then the sizes and edges are off!

So it is what it is. I personally don't care from them compared to other maple poplar kits like the Ludwig legacy or even C&C maple poplars. To me, I think gretsch saw an interest in throwback kits, then just pieced something together without perfecting it.


+1
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#7
thenuge

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I always chuckle when companies try to cash in on their legit history..and fail miserably. The Gretsch building in Brooklyn is still there..and amazingly still called the Gretsch building..except it's been made into luxury condos, complete with mini-museum in the lobby touting the history. "We'll always have Paris.."
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#8
scaramanga

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On the other hand, the example played on the Memphis Drum site sounds very good to me.
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#9
wflkurt

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I'm sure they are great sounding drums and they even look kind of cool to me. I just don't for the life of me understand WHY gretsch does'nt make a true round badge replica set? The could have a series called the round badge series and make them like the old ones. Obviously there are a ton of people that love old round badge Gretsch drums sets and I'm sure they would sell a ton of them. Obviously they could have a few updated features but really you could use the newer diamond pattern mounts, a two bolt rail and real to spec die cast hopps with a new version of a round badge. I'm sure the bass drum legs would have to be somewhat modern but I just don't get why they don't make these. Is it because they want the old ones to be that much more rare?
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#10
mtarrani

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Is it because they want the old ones to be that much more rare?


If so they are missing the boat in more than not stepping up and making a real RB replica. Allowing the old ones to remain rare does not put one cent of revenue into their coffers, while replicating RBs would. For the record I am not into that 'Great Gretsch Sound', having turned down a deal on a 60s RB kit in incredible condition for $800 a few years back. A friend on this forum got them - I brokered the deal for him - because they are not my sound. But they are for many people and Gretsch could potentially do well if they resurrected them. Their current workforce seems too caught up in pandering to rock drummers, which is why I personally think the Brooklyn series is a joke.
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#11
Matt Middleton

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The concept behind the Brooklyns and many other "throwback" kits like The Yamaha Club Custom, etc. is to BLEND modern and vintage designs and aesthetics, rather than segregate them as so many people seem bent on doing. Like every other kit on the market, you like them or you don't. I think Brooklyns sound great and I don't give a **** about the shape of the badge. Why anyone does is beyond me.
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#12
Shedboyxx

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I haven't played the Brooklyns but own an '80s Gretsch kit which I and others love. However I also have a more modern Yamaha MCAN drum set that I love as well. Glad I have both but they are different approaches to drum sound.

My .02

The Brooklyns are probably very nice sounding drums in general. Again I haven't played them yet.

By using the term 'Brooklyn' it kinda feels like they are trying to imply that there is a sound connection to an older retro sound. To be fair the description from the website doesn't seem to hide the more modern approach (read: BD sizes and general description). But the combination of the Gretsch name and 'Brooklyn' points toward an old school sound.

Marketing is marketing so everyone can and should do their research before plunking down the Benjamins.

The only newly made drums I've heard recently that had the older Gretsch RB sound were the DW Jazz bebop size drums I've heard and tried. That's my experience and there are probably more out there, especially if you have a custom drum maker and price is not a factor.

I do believe that, because of their name and history, Gretsch is positioned very nicely to take this market although they haven't as far as I can tell. Heck, I'm even sentimental enough that if I were looking for that sound (which I'm not) and Gretsch and DW were both the same in price, availability and recreation of 'that' sound, I'd go with Gretsch. But none of that is the case as far as I can tell. DW will most likely attract those that are truly looking to get the RB sound without going down the road of acquiring a used RB set.

Again,it's important to weed out our sentimentality with how things really are. At least I have to remind myself of that.

Jim
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#13
FloydZKing

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Yeah, I gotcha Brooklyns right here...

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#14
FloydZKing

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The new ones seem to mirror Gretsch's missteps when they brought out the first Catalina Club bopkits. They got that all whack; 16" deep BDs, 6-lugged FTs, Playboy lugs etc. Then their core audience demanded the obvious tweaks and year-by-year that range has really gotten smart with its appointments. I'd look for the same to happen with the Brooklyns.

The COB snares sound great. I like the hoops. A true 3-ply maple shell with thick plies would really go a long way.

Don't forget, they already offer RB replica sets. All those need to be complete would be actual round badges. The other vintage-style fitting are all available now. They could even have Remo do undersized heads for them!
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#15
franke

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Gretsch (like Ludwig) is a brand that trades heavily on its past, so it’s natural that they would try to invoke the iconic nature of their brand at every opportunity.

I agree that the Brooklyn Series has little to do with anything that Gretsch has done before, owing more to a desire on their part to offer a more affordable US-made “genuine” Gretsch drum kit, rather than even the faintest attempt at a “reissue” or “tribute” kit.

From a product selection standpoint I find the Brooklyn Series rather perplexing: Gretsch already has the New Classic series (which sells for just slightly more): while I can well understand why they would need to offer something to compete in the Ludwig Classic Maple/DW Performance Series price bracket, this sort of leaves the New Classics adrift, and, to a lesser extent, the Renown Series (which in many ways could be the better bargain in comparison).

As for making a “round badge reissue”, I believe that they already done this at least once, maybe more, albeit on a very limited basis (Steve Maxwell had one a few years back); still, making a reissue kit doesn’t pencil out as well with drums as it can with guitars. While in the vintage guitar world the price difference between the “real thing” and a well-made reissue could be a multiple of 4 or more, one could buy an original RB kit for about the same price as what a modern reissue would go for; also, the market for such kits is really, really limited, but the advertising and promotion costs are the same regardless of whether it’s a limited run kit or one that had a better chance of selling in higher numbers.

Edited by franke, 30 August 2012 - 02:36 PM.

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#16
mtarrani

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... I don't give a **** about the shape of the badge. Why anyone does is beyond me.


Nobody cares about the badge shape (or nobody expressed such). It's what a round badge implies, not the actual badge itself. Brooklyns fall way short. I think the consensus is overzealous marketing. My personal opinion is there are two American drum companies that do seem to get it and Grestch is not one of them.
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#17
Matt Middleton

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When I started selling drums in the mid 90's, Gretsch was nearly DOA. Why? because they were doing the same old stuff they always did and nobody wanted it. There's a reason so many SS/Drop G/Square badge kits have hardware mods... Gretsch hardware was terrible.

What put them back in the game were the Catalina Kits, beer can bass drums and all. By modernizing their designs, they became relevant in the marketplace again. The money made from the sale of those kits is what paid for the improvements and upgrades at the factory and catalinas and renowns still outsell the USA kits by nearly a thousand to one. Gretsch is not in the nostalgia business, they are in the drum selling business and modern designs sell drums. Do they care about their past? Absolutely, and the Brooklyn is an attempt to bridge the gap between past and present.

BTW... wait until the new owners of Rogers bring drums to market. I have $10 that says everyone in the vintage community freaks out. Wait and see.
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#18
mtarrani

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BTW... wait until the new owners of Rogers bring drums to market. I have $10 that says everyone in the vintage community freaks out. Wait and see.


I am not moved by Gretsch even if they did replicate a RB kit, but if what you are saying is true about Rogers, then that does excite me.
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#19
sonicD

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Yeah, I think people make too much of a fuss about "historic inaccuracies" when it comes to reissues and "vintage vibe" stuff. Gretsch doesn't claim much for the Brooklyn series beyond citing the originals as a source of inspiration and being a "blend of old and new", whatever that means.

FWIW, I've got a few Gretsch guitars that have the same problem. Supposed "reissues" of earlier models that got more things "wrong" than "right". But they're still fine guitars - play and sound great! So what does it matter, really?

I just can't resolve myself to triple flange hoops on a "real" Gretsch kit - that's what bugs me about them. Give 'em some die casts and we'll talk!
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#20
K.O.

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Gretsch still makes a modern version of the round badge sets...they're called USA Customs. Those would be the drums to compare to the DW Jazz series (the USA Customs being the drums that DW has copied). Those would also be the series that could (more or less) accurately wear the Round Badge (which some do every 5 years when they do the limited edition anniversary kits...2013 is 130 years).

The Brooklyns appear to be an attempt to offer a USA made set that Gretsch can sell at a lower price point than the USA Customs, while not being on the same quality level (or at least perceived as such) as the Customs (because no one with any marketing sense wants to cannibalize sales of their top of the line drums with their own products). It's a set that people who can't justify the price of a Custom set, but want USA made-Gretsch (as opposed to the nice but imported Renowns and New Classics)can afford...and they'll probably continue to aspire to owning some customs someday.

The maple/poplar shell is what the old 3 ply Gretsch shells were, and the stick chopper hoops also harken back to those early 50's drums. I will agree that the bass drum sizes are goofy...but all the makes seem to do this, even on some "retro" sets, so I guess that's what their research says all the "kids" want.

I personally don't know if the Brooklyns are good or bad (I'll just settle for my Customs and vintage Gretsch sets) but to compare them to the classic round badges is pretty much the same as comparing modern Ludwig Keystones to 60's Ludwig three plies.

Edited by K.O., 30 August 2012 - 07:48 PM.

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