Can old gretschs be tuned low?

1988fxlr

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I finally got together the 13” tom for the orphan kit I’m putting together. Its a 1971 or earlier gretsch stop sign badge with die cast hoops. I put a remo Renaissance emperor batter head and a coated ambassador reso and it sounds good but its crazy high pitched.

This drum has definitely seen some abuse but it seems to be flat and in round. The hoop was a little warped but this is crazy. After bringing both heads to a fairly high tension to seat the head I tried to tune it lower. Tuned down to the point the washers of the tension rods are loose its still higher than my 12” rogers tom tuned what I would consider medium high and makes my 13” ludwig sound like a floor tom in comparison.

do these drums need special heads?
 

JDA

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Try 3F triple flange rims on it' that may be what you (want to) hear

other than that watch the Different Drummer Elvin Jones (ex-vhs) video where he's sitting there behind a 12 and 13 and with key he detunes the small toms down then up

3) is the drum head tight on it either top or bottom
 

jptrickster

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In a nutshell Gretsch doesn't have the same low end qualities as Rogers and Ludwigs. I mean Charlie Watts has a nice set of G's and Vinnies sound pretty good but I think they're drums have been tweaked. I could never get as deep a sound as I wanted out of any of my 4 Gretsch kits.
 

1988fxlr

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Try 3F triple flange rims on it' that may be what you (want to) hear

other than that watch the Different Drummer Elvin Jones (ex-vhs) video where he's sitting there behind a 12 and 13 and with key he detunes the small toms down then up

3) is the drum head tight on it either top or bottom
The hoop of the head clears the shell without issue but it does seem like the bearing edge sits to close to the collar all around. Is that a gretsch thing?

would something like an aquarian anerican vintage give more range. Even my rogers and modern ludwigs don’t seem happy with the sort of low tuning that sound awesome on the old ludwigs but this is pretty extreme. I’ll try swapping on a triple flange out of curiosity. Hoping the 15x12 gretsch marching snare will tune down to floor tom range when I get it together
 

1988fxlr

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In a nutshell Gretsch doesn't have the same low end qualities as Rogers and Ludwigs. I mean Charlie Watts has a nice set of G's and Vinnies sound pretty good but I think they're drums have been tweaked. I could never get as deep a sound as I wanted out of any of my 4 Gretsch kits.
It sounds good but its already in what to me is a crazy high jazzy tuning just above wrinkle and weirdly the tone control immediately kills it dead, no thuddy range like the ludwigs
 

JDA

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yeah BKs 3P are lower.... USAC 6P cut and hard

cued
 

JDA

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would something like an aquarian anerican vintage give more range.
I don't think spending a dime is the answer.
You'll get it solved in time and may never go back to slack drums.

6P Gretsch tolerances are tight everywhere.... add in the Zinc Cast hoop ....and that tom crack/rimshot hit will be heard unmic'd 2 miles away
Clearly. That's the kind a drums they are.

Loaded weapons.
built to resist
Once used to 'the crack' may never go back
they're "clean double stroke rolls and ruffs on the small toms" drums
: - ) yeah. you can cheat.
let the other guy play single strokes.
as a 6P DC Gretsch player your entire set is one long taut snare drum roll lolol ;;;; )
 
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1988fxlr

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I don't think spending a dime is the answer.
You'll solve it in time.

Gretsch tolerances are tight everywhere.... add in the Zinc Cast hoop ....and that Tom crack/rimshot hit will be heard 2 miles away
Clearly. That's the kind a drums they are.

Loaded weapons.

: - )
I’m not sure where they were made. If the paper tag will tell me I’ll have to pull the head and take a look. I got them out of the garbage so I wasn’t really looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’m also giving the kit away once I get it together. The head question is mostly curiosity. The recipient has never played before so jazzy tuning will be fine. Its just strange. I’ve played around with all sort of old drums and some needed to be tuned higher or lower to get good sounds out of than others but this is the only one I’ve played with that refused to go low even sounding bad. It just won’t do it
 

JDA

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I’m not sure where they were made. If the paper tag will tell me
no no no it doesn't matter (that was a stupid question from me)


Yea. They are tight/ quick Drums the 6P
tight tolerances everywhere.
it's not the 60s 70s 3P with rings style of drum.
 
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kb

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Something is wrong with your drum.

Remove both heads. Carefully examine everything. Heads, look for warping, dishing or unevenness.

Lay both hoops on the flattest surface you have; check for warping, degree of roundness, etc.

Check both bearing edges on the flattest surface you have. Any gaps or divots? What style edge is it? I think you said the drum is in round, maybe check again....Check diameter, it should be less than 13"....

Your 13 is acting kinda like my out of round 12 stopsign drum from '78. The 13 from that set tunes very well, low or high.
 

1988fxlr

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no no no it doesn't matter (that was a stupid question from me)


Yea. They are tight/ quick Drums the 6P
tight tolerances everywhere.
it's not the 60s 70s 3P with rings style of drum.
6 ply With the silver sealer I think. Definitely no rerings
 

1988fxlr

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Something is wrong with your drum.

Remove both heads. Carefully examine everything. Heads, look for warping, dishing or unevenness.

Lay both hoops on the flattest surface you have; check for warping, degree of roundness, etc.

Check both bearing edges on the flattest surface you have. Any gaps or divots? What style edge is it? I think you said the drum is in round, maybe check again....Check diameter, it should be less than 13"....

Your 13 is acting kinda like my out of round 12 stopsign drum from '78. The 13 from that set tunes very well, low or high.
The shell is pretty consistently round. Sat flat on a table and the edges seem to be in the same shape they left the factory. The hoops were definitely warped but I figured leaving them cranked overnight should sort that out. Do die cast require more extreme measures?

again, this is all mostly curiosity as my gretsch experience is very low. It makes a good sound clear sound without odd overtones, which will do for the purposes I intend it. I do think I’ll try swapping on a ludwig triple flange and see if it changes anything but its not really a concern, just a new experience
 

JDA

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They can be tuned low but there seems to be a unwritten law prohibiting that.:confused2:
no one's ever done it Wayne and let's not go there Now ; )
the only way to soften and get low 6P G's is to
put a million miles on them ....and never tension once tension is set!!
No further tension needed!
lol



[email protected]!
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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I think Gretsch drums seem to be at home with mid to high tuning. I’ll admit I haven’t tried going real low on my round badge kits. But they’re low enough when I need them. The 16 floor can shake down the walls. I say get bigger Gretsch drums if one is looking for low end.
 

1988fxlr

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Heres the tag from the marching snare if that sheds any light on where they were made. I just painted the shells but there were spray painted dates on the outside of these and the other drums I got at the same time that I presume are when they entered the inventory of the NYC board of ed. I think these were 1971 bit that could have been the ludwig bass drum, in which case these were 1973. The ludwig timbales still wear the 1968 spray paint but those were applied to the inside.
948E9459-809E-4E42-B9D1-30AB6F91C559.jpeg
 


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