Another clueless Gretsch question

mtarrani

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I apologize in advance with dumb questions about products that I hope I don't buy. But my latest drum porn viewing has been between a Renown and a Brooklyn kit. The Renown is silver oyster pearl in bop sizes and the Brooklyn is WMP in micro sizes (16-10-13+13sn.) Prior I was torn between a Tama Starclassic walnut/birch in the same sizes as the Brooklyn, and the Renown bop cited above. I am still resisting the urge to purchase a new kit, but am very curious about the Brooklyn. It's a model line that has been way under my RADAR. It's described as truly having that Gretsch sound and I am wondering if anyone here has experience with both Renowns and Brooklyns.

By the way, in case you think my micro kit size desires are daft, I have been playing with a Odery Cafe kit in 14x11 (BD) 10,12+12sn sizes and a Tama Jam Mini (18x7 BD + 12sn) for the past two years. A micro-sized kit splits the difference.
 
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Deafmoon

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Brooklyn’s are a slight different sound than Gretsch USA’s. Mostly because the wood is different. Both shells are by Keller I believe though Brooklyn’s are Maple/ Poplar and USA are maple/ gum. If you are doing more rock, fusion and pop, Brooklyn’s are great. Though I’ve seen even jazz folks on Brooklyn. So why not? Renown? I can’t tell you much other than they are made outside of the USA. Doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them, just are not something I know enough about having never played them.
 

mtarrani

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Brooklyn’s are a slight different sound than Gretsch USA’s. Mostly because the wood is different. Both shells are by Keller I believe though Brooklyn’s are Maple/ Poplar and USA are maple/ gum. If you are doing more rock, fusion and pop, Brooklyn’s are great. Though I’ve seen even jazz folks on Brooklyn. So why not? Renown? I can’t tell you much other than they are made outside of the USA. Doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them, just are not something I know enough about having never played them.
Thanks for your reply. Ironically I am doing pop and classic (50s/60s) rock these days instead of jazz, which is my true love. I am looking more for an even sound. I was very impressed that the Brooklyn came with coated heads front and back on the bass drum, and coated Ambassadors on the batter side of the snare and toms. That means that I would only need to purchase coated Ambassadors for the reso sides of the toms. The Renowns are almost the same - I would still need to purchase a batter side head for the bass drum, as well resos for the toms, but that is better than having to purchase all new heads (except the BD reso) if I were to actually purchase the Tama kit. I probably won't be able to hear the difference anyway, even if it were a USA kit. As for Renowns not being made in the US, no problem there. My favorite cymbals are Dream (Made in China), the usual Turkish stuff a close second, and I have recently developed a soft spot for that Canadian cymbal maker :)
 

K.O.

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Renowns have an all maple shell, but made overseas and not sure where the maple is sourced. Some say it's North American maple but I'm not sure if Gretsch has ever claimed that. At one time Renowns were close to being imported clones of USA Customs with the exception of the shells lacking the gumwood core that the Customs have. Since then some of the hardware details have been changed and they aren't as close to being lower cost Customs as they once were.

Brooklyns are a mix of maple and poplar which is what a lot of drum makers have used over the years. I believe the Brooklyns are 6 or 7 plies. The Broadkasters are also maple and poplar but in a 3 ply layup (poplar as the core) that mimics the original Gretsch 3 ply shell they were making in Brooklyn before they switched to the 6 ply design in the mid fifties. At that time shell manufacturing was farmed out to Jasper in Indiana who used gum as their secondary wood instead of poplar.

I play "jazz" on a Renown set fairly often, never had any trouble getting them to sound the way I want them to.
 

Tyro

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If I were you I’d go with the Brooklyn micro kit. I find Brooklyns to be very versatile, have played jazz on a regular bop-sized Brooklyn (18/14/14 with an added 10” tom too) during the last five years and also recently added a 16/12/14 USA Custom micro kit so have some reference to the more micro size kick too. The Gretsch 12x16 bass drum I find amazing and I recognise the tonal and sustain quality in the Brooklyn micro videos.

Don’t know if you’ve seen but Gretsch released several new videos of Mark Giuliana who helped develop the micro kit with Gretsch, this one for example:
That video alone makes me really want one!
 

mtarrani

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If I were you I’d go with the Brooklyn micro kit. I find Brooklyns to be very versatile, have played jazz on a regular bop-sized Brooklyn (18/14/14 with an added 10” tom too) during the last five years and also recently added a 16/12/14 USA Custom micro kit so have some reference to the more micro size kick too. The Gretsch 12x16 bass drum I find amazing and I recognise the tonal and sustain quality in the Brooklyn micro videos.

Don’t know if you’ve seen but Gretsch released several new videos of Mark Giuliana who helped develop the micro kit with Gretsch, this one for example:
That video alone makes me really want one!
Hence, why I am drawn to it.
 

GiveMeYourSmallestSticks!

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I've got a set of Brooklyns in WMP (8, 10, 12, 14, 14 snare, 20). They definitely have that great Gretsch sound, but remain incredibly versatile. They have a very wide tuning range, and have worked for me in higher jazz tunings, lower rock tunings and everything in between (I like them with tight batters on the toms, they respond quickly and retain a rich tone). I can't speak to the micro bass drum, but the 20 sounds massive, and all the drums really sing.

I've played Renowns only a handful of times, but they definitely sounded thinner, a bit more plastic and less resonant than my Brooklyns, and the hardware seemed a bit less solid and reliable (I have the vintage style hardware on my Brooklyns). Still, I've heard many good things about them, and for the price I think they're fine drums. I've loved my Brooklyns since I acquired them though, and really don't think you can go wrong if your interest is already piqued by them. Renowns may suffice, but I think the Brooklyns will exceed your expectations.
 


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