Coated Diplomats for vintage Gretsch?

charlesm

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Hi all,

I'm thinking of trying a coated Dip batter over clear Dip on my SSB 12". I've never used Diplomat batters.

I'm currently using coated Amb/clear Amb, and it does sound great, of course. Lately, though, I've been wanting to hear a little more sprite and overtones out of that drum. I get plenty of resonance and sustain with the Ambs, but I'm talking more about brighter overtones/harmonics.

For reference, check out this vid from Steve M.


This is one of the sweeter-sounding RB Gretsch kits I've heard demo'd. It sounds pretty lively and open. I'm hearing slightly less focus and clipped highs than we tend to hear with Ambs on RB drums. I have the feeling that these are Diplomat batters. It just seems to have that kind of tone. Anyone else agree?

Also, I've heard that Dips have a lot less durability. How accurate is that? Are these going to lose tone even after a relatively short time? I can get over a year on coated Ambs, even with steady gigs.

I'm mainly looking for feedback on Dips here. Not interested in general head recommendations.

All perspectives thereby welcomed!

Thanks a lot,
Charles
 

ThomasL

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Based on the low tuning, I would be surprised if the batter head was a Diplomat (which I think would sound more papery).

Have you tried changing the interval between the top and bottom heads? I think Maxwell likes to tune the batter higher, but batter lower might also give more overtones.
 

charlesm

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Based on the low tuning, I would be surprised if the batter head was a Diplomat (which I think would sound more papery).

Have you tried changing the interval between the top and bottom heads? I think Maxwell likes to tune the batter higher, but batter lower might also give more overtones.
Yup. I'm always messing around and experimenting with tuning. I do it as an exercise sometimes, in order to keep quick-tuning skills in shape.

In my experience, batter tuned higher brings out upper overtones and batter lower rounds them off...at least, that's been the case with any drum I've ever tuned.

This is especially true with vintage Gretsch with the reverse-roundover edges, though. My USAC toms are a little more forgiving. The sharper 30-degree edge creates more overtones at all tunings since more of the head surface is resonating.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I like coated over coated Ambs. The clear may be adding some sustain versus just a short clean tone. I have an 11x13 SSN set up as a FT on a micro Gretsch kit. I put a diplomat Fiberskyn on it (over a old coated Amb) and it sounds great, much better than the coated amb over amb. Not sure how to explain it but I am leaving it as is.
 

Deafmoon

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Coated diplomats are cool for bottom heads, not certain you will get a lot of life out of it as a batter. Those are 3 ply single heads and were designed for resonance. There is a vintage ambassador out with a bit more collar than you might try. The collar was made for older thicker wraps but it will work fine on any drum.
 

Griener

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Those Gretsch Permatone heads that were on those Gretsch drum initially were made by Remo and were Ambassador weight as far as I know.
Only they were a little bit oversized since those Gretsch shells were a bit wider.
Diplomats are a great choice since speak faster at a lower volume, so if you use smaller sticks, something like a 7A and don't hit too hard, Diplomats make indeed a difference.
I like them.
But of course since general volume increased and stick sizes got bigger since 1969, it might be not your best option if you're playing louder.
 
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RogersLudwig

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You might consider Aquarian American Vintage medium. They make a thin, too. The American Vintage are oversized for older drums and they make Modern Vintage for newer drums; look feel and warmth of calfskin. They also make a clear in these lines.
 

charlesm

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Thanks a lot, everyone, for the suggestions.

Just to clarify, though, my issue here isn't the infamous vintage-Gretsch head-fit problem. Standard Remo heads actually fit very well on my kit and I can get plenty of sustain and resonance with these drums. It's more, I suppose, that I'm looking for a bit more brightness or harmonic openness out of my 12" rack tom. A little less fundamental and a little more overtone.

Now, I realize that the reverse-roundover edge does have the effect of creating more focus and less overtone, and I'm sure that's the primary contributing factor here. So, I'm looking to offset that a bit with head choice. Diplomats being thinner than Ambs, I figured they'd be a little brighter and more open.

I'm onto two other factors at the moment, though. One is that I'm messing around with tuning the reso head a bit higher than I normally do, which tends to be medium-high. Cranking it up a bit more brings out more brightness.

Also, I have my rack tom on a snare stand and I use some taped foam pieces in the basket arms to create some iso action. It's been working great for a long time and really does open up the drum...no choked tone here and the tuning range and sustain are much improved. However, I noticed recently that the foam pieces have gotten very compressed over time to the point that they're losing effectiveness. The drum sounds more open when held by the rim and played. So, I have a set of "proper" Booty Shakers on order and I'm guessing they will do the trick (and look a lot better, too).

These may help things a lot.
 

budrock

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I just put Remo Fiberskyn Diplomats om my round badge kit. They sound really good. The thickness of those heads is 10.5 mil.
 

Spongebob

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you're trying to make a 50+ year old 12" drum built to different specs, sound like a modern 10" drum.

Solution...Add a 10" drum
 

Pedal_Pusher

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I have Remo Diplomat snare side heads on all of my tom toms with Aquarian Modern Vintage medium weight batter heads. It is a bop kit with small drums but I have had a lot of compliments on the sound. No muffling on any of the drums except for the 18" bass drum. I got one of the bass drum heads with the included felt muffler strip and have been happy with the sound. I like bass drum beaters that are softer than the normal hard felt models. I found a beater model called a Marshmellow and love the sound. It blends very well with an acoustic bass, I can't remember the brand. Good luck.
 

charlesm

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I just put Remo Fiberskyn Diplomats om my round badge kit. They sound really good. The thickness of those heads is 10.5 mil.
That wouldn't work in my case. I'm trying to add a bit more brightness to the drum, so a 10.5 mil Fiberskyn will be moving in the opposite direction.
 

charlesm

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you're trying to make a 50+ year old 12" drum built to different specs, sound like a modern 10" drum.

Solution...Add a 10" drum
Uh...huh?

Never said I'm trying to make this sound like a 10" tom. It's a classic Gretsch 12" tom and I said that I'm simply trying to add a little more brightness to it. I certainly don't want it to "sound like a modern 10" drum", nor will changing the reso head from an Ambassador to a Diplomat actually do that.

There's no point to a reply like this with a straw-man premise. It accomplishes nothing.
 


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