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80's Gretsch info needed...

spaeth

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After hearing Hefty's Square badge Gretsch kit at our NW Drummers Hang, I have really been wanting to own another Gretsch kit. I found a nice kit with 24" bass drum 12,14,16 toms that I am interested in. I have done some searching but have not found for sure answers. Was there just ONE Gretsch line at that time? Now with the Catalina lines, Renowns, Customs etc... it gets hard to keep track of what is what. Is there anything I need to look out for with a Gretsch from that era? This was supposedly a double bass kit that got split up. It would give me the same sizes as my Ayotte kit which can be handy when stocking and researching head combos. The guy wants a $1000 with hardware and a DDrum snare.

thanks
Craig
 

hefty

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spaeth said:
After hearing Hefty's Square badge Gretsch kit at our NW Drummers Hang, I have really been wanting to own another Gretsch kit. I found a nice kit with 24" bass drum 12,14,16 toms that I am interested in. I have done some searching but have not found for sure answers. Was there just ONE Gretsch line at that time? Now with the Catalina lines, Renowns, Customs etc... it gets hard to keep track of what is what. Is there anything I need to look out for with a Gretsch from that era? This was supposedly a double bass kit that got split up. It would give me the same sizes as my Ayotte kit which can be handy when stocking and researching head combos. The guy wants a $1000 with hardware and a DDrum snare.

thanks
Craig
Hey Craig, got any pics? In the 80's Gretsch just had the one line, I believe, which is the top of the line equivalent today. The badges should be square and say "U.S.A." on them (although a very early 80's badge was a stop sign type). Here's a good starting point for dating Gretsches:

http://www.gretschdr...a=historybadges

There's a lot of conflicting information on the QC of Gretsch drums especially in the 70's and 80's, but from what I gather (and K.O. had a lot of great information on this so maybe he'll chime in) it was really the very early 70's ones that had the most issues (the ones with the first stop sign badge in that link), due to the plant moving that year. The 80's versions are a pretty desirable era for Gretsches, depending on who you talk to, and you know how I feel about mine...

The hardware can be a bit crummy though and the Techware stuff which was introduced in the early 80's improved things but can still just be so-so. Definitely it's better though if these have Techware instead of the earlier stuff. I ended up swapping out NOS spurs on mine for instance since the others were stripped, but now they work fine.

One other thing is that a lot of 80's Gretsches toms and basses are in "power" sizes. Not sure how you feel about that, but they're worth more if they're in traditional sizes.

Let us know how it goes!
 

Elvis

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Actually, the 80's were the beginning of Gretsch's diversification.

They introduced a student line of drums called "Blackhawk".
Basically, a generic kit with Gretsch's name plastered all over it, otherwise, nothing about those drums had any of the classic "ear marks" of a Gretsch drum.

A year or two later, they also tried to cash in on the burgeoning "e-drum" craze by marketing their own line that I believe was called "TechHawk" (something like that).

The e-drums didn't last long, but I think Blackhawk is still around.

Other than that, there was only one model of Gretsch back then and those were the real deal.







Elvis
 

Vipercussionist

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OH yeah, the 1980's Gretsches were AWESOME, that's why I was stupid enough to get rid of my 1980's kit!! :sign4: angry9: :oops: Oh, the pain . . .

The only other line Gretsch had was the Blackhawk line, but they were obvious and very import looking too with none of the good lugs or hardware to confuse you.

EDIT:
Oops, as I was thinkin' Elvis was POSTIN'!!
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kip

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I picked up a early 80's Gretsch kit last DEC (07)
13x9
16x16
24x14

in natural maple

for $800

these were the drums I had been waiting for.....

the kick drum retracting spurs are dated... but those drums ring and sing....

-Kip
 

spaeth

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Thanks. This helps. They have the square badge with the T extending over the word Gretsch. It is the badge that can be read upside the same way. It doesn't look like the 12 is a power tom and I am planning on hanging the 14 down like a floor tom, next to the 16" floor tom. So it shouldn't be a big deal to me. Same with hardware, as I really hate bass drum tom mounts. I am probably going to rims mount both the 12 and 14 and hang them in a one up two down configuration. They look like they are black or a dark green but most definitely a wrap. Most of the Blackhawk stuff I have seen says Blackhawk all over it and the ones I am looking at do have the die cast rims.

The only catch is that I will need to sell my big Leedy / Slingerland kit if I get this Gretsch.

I have been looking at Gretsch's for a while and Hefty help push me over the edge (not that it took much pushing). I have also wanted to re-rap a kit and these would look mighty good in Tangerine crushed glass, which was the color of my first kit.

Thanks for the info,
Craig
 

DrumminLefty

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I recommend the 80's square badge drums highly. Your badge should look like my avatar. Some like this era Gretsch most of all. Jasper shells and Sam Bacco edges are a potent combination.
 

Vipercussionist

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DrumminLefty said:
I recommend the 80's square badge drums highly. Your badge should look like my avatar. Some like this era Gretsch most of all. Jasper shells and Sam Bacco edges are a potent combination.
And the Techware hardware, though BIG and heavy was certainly bulletproof!! I tossed mine around for YEARS with no ill effects!!
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Kevin OConnor

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Elvis said:
A year or two later, they also tried to cash in on the burgeoning "e-drum" craze by marketing their own line that I believe was called "TechHawk" (something like that).

The e-drums didn't last long, but I think Blackhawk is still around.

/i].







Elvis

Elvis,
The Gretsch 80's e-drum were called Blackhawk as well. I got them in 1984; My brother in NY still has them and they still sound and feel awful. At the time, they were quieter than acoustic drums. Thank God for the inception of Roland TD-7 drums and ultimately TD 20 sets!
 

spaeth

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Drumminlefty,

Yours is my dream kit. It is hard to tell in photos but the burnt orange is my favorite color. I am guessing that is what those are? What are the sizes?

Craig
 

Elvis

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Kevin O'Connor said:
Elvis said:
A year or two later, they also tried to cash in on the burgeoning "e-drum" craze by marketing their own line that I believe was called "TechHawk" (something like that).

The e-drums didn't last long, but I think Blackhawk is still around.

/i].







Elvis

Elvis,
The Gretsch 80's e-drum were called Blackhawk as well. I got them in 1984; My brother in NY still has them and they still sound and feel awful. At the time, they were quieter than acoustic drums. Thank God for the inception of Roland TD-7 drums and ultimately TD 20 sets!
Kevin,

Thanks for the reminder. I must've been thinking about the afforementioned "Techware" hardware.
I remember jammin' on the Roland e-drums at a now defunct local chain called Guitar's Etc.
Gerry Garcia, the drum manager in that shop, hated having that kit in there because every guy who walked in had to have his 15 mintues on it...EVERY DAY. :D
I don't remember the sound being too bad (at the time) but man, any of those old e-drums (with the possible exception of SD-3's) were like playing on a table.
Glad I was younger and hurt less, back then. ;)



Elvis
 

Elvis

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spaeth said:
Drumminlefty,

Yours is my dream kit. It is hard to tell in photos but the burnt orange is my favorite color. I am guessing that is what those are? What are the sizes?

Craig
Ditto.
That kit reminds me of the one in the ad I posted earlier.

....now I want a set of red Gretsch's. :roll:



Elvis
 

DrumminLefty

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Elvis said:
spaeth said:
Drumminlefty,

Yours is my dream kit. It is hard to tell in photos but the burnt orange is my favorite color. I am guessing that is what those are? What are the sizes?

Craig
Ditto.
That kit reminds me of the one in the ad I posted earlier.

....now I want a set of red Gretsch's. :roll:



Elvis

Thanks for the compliments! :) They are Burnt Orange.11x13,16x16,16x18,16x24 and 6.5x14. I also have a 12x14 that works well with the two floors.
 

spaeth

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Those are even the perfect sizes as well. If you ever decide to let go of that kit let me know. I had that Gretsch centennial kit and it was a double bass kit with two 24" bass drums. I should have kept the one bass and the 13,16,18 setup and sold off the rest. It was this gorgeous walnut burl. I didn't want to split the kit up so I sold the whole thing.

I cannot bring myself to let go of my Leedy/Slingerland kit so I am going to pass on the 80's Gretsch I was looking at. You can find it here: http://phoenix.craig.../949592500.html

It seems like a nice set and the guy said he would ship it.

Thanks for all of the info. I am going to keep looking for orphans and either build up a re-wrapped Tangerine glass glitter or a try and find burnt orange shells.

Craig
 

Hemant

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80's Square Badge Gretsch are very sweet. I love mine. They have a very wide range, are very forgiving when tuning high or low - they have a lot of headroom.

Finding old Nitron wrapped orphans and doing a rewrap can be a cost effective option if you stick with 22/12/13/16 sizes. They can be had for a reasonable price. If you are looking for 10(TT), 14 (FT), 18 (BD or FT), 20 or 24 BD's - they can get very pricey.

That Craigslist ad is a pretty good deal.
 

spaeth

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This silver kit is one that was for sale here a few years back. I missed it and have been kicking myself ever since. It is a lot like what I would like to put together.

This Centennial kit is the one that I sold a while back and as much as I would have hated to split it up, if I had it to do over again I would keep the 12,14,16 and the snare. (Or some kind of configuration like that.) The snare was absolutely AMAZING!

I like the Tony Williams yellow.

You guys really aren't helping. I finally talked myself off the ledge, and now you are all down on the street yelling JUMP, JUMP!

thanks
Craig
 

DrumminLefty

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Hemant* said:
80's Square Badge Gretsch are very sweet. I love mine. They have a very wide range, are very forgiving when tuning high or low - they have a lot of headroom.

Finding old Nitron wrapped orphans and doing a rewrap can be a cost effective option if you stick with 22/12/13/16 sizes. They can be had for a reasonable price. If you are looking for 10(TT), 14 (FT), 18 (BD or FT), 20 or 24 BD's - they can get very pricey.

That Craigslist ad is a pretty good deal.

Hemant,those are excellent,what sizes do you have?
 

hefty

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Ok, can't resist. Gonna do my part as an enabler, spaeth. Here's my aforementioned kit, 1983 square badges in walnut, 14x22, 8x12, 14x14 shown. I also have a 9x13 and an 8x10.

Agreed Hemant that they seem forgiving, at least in the sense that I think you mean. I have on occasion done a hack job of tuning, in a hurry, or just because, and set the drums up and they still sound cool. I don't understand the whole thing with people feeling that Gretsches have to be tuned up high to sound good, at least for the "modern" era ones. I've been leaving mine fairly thuddy lately and it works, for sure.
 

K.O.

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Tough to beat 80's Gretsch Customs. As mentioned earlier the only other line they had at the time were the Blackhawks and you'll know those if you see them...they were pretty much generic imported drums with the Gretsch name on them but not Gretsch lugs or hardware (the Current Blackhawks are still Gretsch's cheapest line but they have improved them a great deal over what they were in the 80's). If the drums aren't Blackhawks then they are the top-of-the-line, jasper shelled, die cast hooped, silver interior drums that were once round badges and today are USA Customs. That was all Gretsch made at the time and they were pretty much handmade in the USA (which is why they called them "Customs").

Those quality control issues mentioned took place primarily in the 70's on some of the early Stop Sign Badge drums and had been pretty well sorted out by the 1980's when Charlie Roy took over the company from Baldwin. Later in the 80's Fred Gretsch brought the company (which his uncle Fred had sold in the late 60's) back under Gretsch family ownership.

I ordered a new set in 1987 and have been in love with them ever since.


I liked them so much I put together a second set in the same color (and I'm working on a third one :) )

These 80's drums are pretty much the same as the current USA Customs so they can be a real bargain if you can find a deal ...and, OH Yeah! they have actual Jasper shells too (not that I've noticed anything wrong with Gretsch's post Jasper shells though). The only downside is that power toms sold seem to have outnumbered standard sized toms about 9-1 (not on my set though, I didn't fall for that) so if you prefer standard depths it might take a little while to find them.

Great drums, basically like those of a custom shop but yet wearing a real brand name with a celebrated history....So snag them if you can....you are hereby enabled....
 

Elvis

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SPAETH,

I, for one, am glad you decided to pass on those Gretsch's, if only for the fact that it would've meant getting rid of your Slinger-Leedy's (NEVER PART WITH THOSE!...please).

It seems you keep coming back to Gretsch, though, as evidenced by this little kit, which was also yours back in 2004...

http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/1201353537034804801prjRog

...so I suspect that a Gretsch kit is in your future (and it will compliment the S-L kit nicely, I think).

Lastly, I think the 24/13/14/16 setup would be way cool. I've used that combo with a 22" BD for a recording project once, and it worked just fine.
Maybe you could make that 14, 11 or 12 inches tall. That would allow you to use it as a big rack tom, or a small floor tom.
I think that's the depth you're already using on the Ayotte kit, right?



Elvis
 


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