Can old gretschs be tuned low?

1988fxlr

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Snare strainer and one of the badges if that narrows things down
E7D1889B-0ACA-4807-966D-C23876120412.jpeg
 

BennyK

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Mount the drum upside down and see if it behaves the same way . If you prefer the inverted sound play it like that , then exchange top and bottom hoops and if it remains a stinker, then they'll be something you might consider replacing .

I love some Gretsch and despise others for similar reasons .
 
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1988fxlr

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Decided to try swapping hoop and head with my ludwig timbale. Pulled the hoop off and the head gave a fight to come off the drum. Repeat the process for the reso. Took some measurement and checked it on a presumed flat surface. Its flat and its in round, but its also about 13 3/32 all the way around. This shell was originally a lacquer finish over a walnut veneer. Might need to shave back the veneer or find bigger heads.
 

1988fxlr

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Tried spinning heads on the 15” shell. They’re on the tighter side bit do spin. 15” almost exact at every cross lug position
 

1988fxlr

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Regarding the 13 tom, you should still be able to get it at least somewhat low (in other words, it shouldn’t only operate as crazy high pitched). So perhaps there is an issue with the drum or edges or rims, etc. Your description does not sound normal.
Yeah. Its definitely an oversized shell somehow. I was kind of hoping to hear “they all do that” and give away the jazzy gretsches with a sense of superiority for my rock and roll ludwigs. No such luck
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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My BKs are definitely higher than my Rogers just above finger tight. In fact the Rogers 12' goes lower than the BK's 13'!
I can still get a good tone and some good low end rumble out of them, just "in a Gretsch kind of way" wich means that it still has a bit of a high pitched twang blended in instead of just a plain thud.

You may try a studio ring on your toms, those lower the fundamental. Heavier heads might help as well.

Here's a link to video I posted in a thread about my struggles with the BK's (I think you replied a couple times in that one) anyway, this is about as low as they will get before getting "farty", they'll go a bit lower with a studio ring. (Or at least the muting of higher overtones will give the illusion of lower pitch)
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Yeah. Its definitely an oversized shell somehow.
I've had some luck with aquarian american vintage heads on a late 40's somewhat oversized WFL that wouldn't accomodate regular ambasadors. I think Remo does a slightly larger hooped series too. Those might not be available everywhere but any dedicated drumshop should have them in stock
 

charlesm

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My older, c. 1970 Gretsch kit will tune low, but definitely not as easily as the Rogers and especially Ludwig 3-ply kit I had in the past...but they do get there.

It is much easier for me to get the Gretsches tuned down keeping the following in mind:

- Both heads need to be closely in tune at a similar low pitch
- Tuning down needs to happen in VERY small increments, i.e., about 1/8 turn per lug
- It's much easier to tune lower if the heads are pretty well stretched and broken in
- After tuning down, a fairly firm push on the center of the head helps it seat at that low tuning

If these criteria are all in play, it's usually not hard to tune my kit low.

I also have a set of modern USAC Gretsch in the same sizes. Those have a much wider tuning range and will tune down effortlessly.

It's all about the bearing edge. The older inside cut creates more mid focus. The newer 30-degree edge cut to the outside allows for more openness and range.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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13's have always been funky and hard to tune with other toms. I played a 12/13/16/20 for years and it always sounded bad.
The only 13's I play now are either 13/16/20 or 22, or 10 or 12, a 13 FT and 14 or 16 basses. Easier to tune separately than with other toms.
 

kb

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Decided to try swapping hoop and head with my ludwig timbale. Pulled the hoop off and the head gave a fight to come off the drum. Repeat the process for the reso. Took some measurement and checked it on a presumed flat surface. Its flat and its in round, but its also about 13 3/32 all the way around. This shell was originally a lacquer finish over a walnut veneer. Might need to shave back the veneer or find bigger heads.
Yeah, there's your problem I think. It's just too big for the heads you have on it.

Remo now makes a head with a smaller collar, which means it fits better on oversize drums; sorry, can't remember what it's called. Other companies may make a similar product, don't know for sure.

So, get larger heads, or shave down the outer ply, or cut the flesh hoop on the heads.
 

Houndog

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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 ;;;; )
You should be the Gretsch Ad-Copy guy …
 
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Deafmoon

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What’s the edge cut on your drum? Outside In or Inside Out. I’ve seen Gretsch drums with both cuts at different times. Out to In will force a higher tone.
 

ConvertedLudwigPlayer

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Yeah, there's your problem I think. It's just too big for the heads you have on it.

Remo now makes a head with a smaller collar, which means it fits better on oversize drums; sorry, can't remember what it's called. Other companies may make a similar product, don't know for sure.

So, get larger heads, or shave down the outer ply, or cut the flesh hoop on the heads.
Remo Classic Fit are the heads for an old Gretsch kit you are referring to.
 

John DeChristopher

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The simple answer is of course they can. I've played Gretsch drums since 1974. I currently own 7 vintage Gretsch kits and they are all tuned low for Rock settings. Most of the kits are standard size 13/16/22 configuration and I'm able to get the toms to a nice low tuning. I suggest you take your drums to someone who knows what they're doing. I thought my edges were all fine, but after having several of my kits worked on, the difference in the tuning range is night and day. Regular Coated Ambassadors on top and Clear Ambassadors on bottom is the magic recipe.

Jeff Porcaro recorded 95% of the time on Gretsch drums and always had big, fat, low tunings. Charlie Watts has been using Gretsch since 1968 and there are a lot of Stones records with low toms. There's a reason so many people use Gretsch in the studio - they have a wide tuning range. If you can't get your 13" tom to tune lower, there's something wrong it. Good luck.
 

Jazzhead

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You can go way low with vintge Ludwigs and Premiers, that’s what most Rockers used in the 60’s ;) When I hear Gretsch I hear Jazz but pretty sure you can still get any sound you want out of the Gretsch kit you have, with tweaks.
 
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Seb77

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Could be you are not used to tuning die-cast hoops? With triple-flnaged hoops, as on Ludwig etc., you still get some friction/resistance even with low tnesion, the hoops just flex more. With die-cast, depending on the head used, loose tuning might mean just a quarter turn from fingertight at each lug.
 


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