Color to match vintage Gretsch walnut kit?

JazzDrumGuy

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So I just picked up a sweet little micro bop kit from a fellow DFO-er! The bass (left) is a SSB in walnut lacquer. The "FT" (right) is square badge and also finished in walnut. I am thinking about stripping the FT and refinishing it to try and match as close as I can to the bass. Anyone have any idea about what color Gretsch used for SSB drums to get that more orange shade of "walnut" and what modern stain (preferably Minwax and not a stain/poly combo as I will hand stain then hand finish it) would be close? I am thinking either sedona red or red chestnut? I was going to post in the Builder's section but thought I'd try here first....thanks!

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Skeet6

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TBH I'd leave as is. Close enough for me from the picture!
Mike B
 

kevin klever

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I think the odds of you getting a closer match by refinishing than you already have there are extremely slim. They look great to me as is. Probably sounds incredible too!
 

JDA

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Anyone have any idea about what color Gretsch used for SSB drums to get that more orange shade of "walnut"
So, Arkansas. Right? At some point probably the 85 move to South Carolina changed how the lacquers were applied (chemical to water -based or something) Point being.. You don't strip that drum and with minwax get it back to anything comparable Unless you have the 'Luck o' the Irish'

So leave it alone. Where's the third drum . Might buy a natural maple small tom and play it as a wood-finish jelly bean
 

Kcmcc

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Yeah, to do it right you'd need to first strip it and see what you base color looks like.
Then you'd need to go find some long maple boards that are as dead a match as possible for the drum, and cut out a bunch of small blocks as "swatches"
Then you'd need to try out all the similar looking stains, in all the reasonable strength and number of coat combinations.
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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Well I'm definitely not a pro wood finisher, but I have done lots of wood projects. The rack tom is pretty close to the bass. I would strip the FT easily, sand it down lightly, then hope for a close enough match. I'm not going to go thru color matching many boards, etc. I was ambitiously hoping a close color would simply be found out of a can.

The bigger issue for me, frankly, would be getting a quality clear coat finish without bubbles. I refinish by hand and prefer satin finish for that exact reason. When I refinished a vintage Jazzette kit a few years ago, it turned out killer with a lovely satin finish. Here, both the rack and bass are glossy and very smooth to the finish.....so yes, part of me says leave it be. The alternate plan is I have an 8x12 SSB tom I may strip and try to match, too, instead of doing the FT. There is a matching 11x13 on eBay now but the price is more than I paid for the entire kit, so forget it. Maybe I could put the shell up for a trade and get super lucky but doubtful.

Btw, the rack is a 7x10 Catalina maple in walnut gloss. This was nearly a deal breaker as I prefer vintage USA, but it's actually better than I imagined and the color is nice and has similar but smaller lugs. Neither of the toms have die casts, though, and I won't spend the $$$ on them. It's a perfect little kit as is for my home office. I just turn my chair 90 degrees to the left and the kit is there, with a HH stand and a mounted 19" flat ride when I get an inspiration to play, which is multiple times a day the past few months.

Pics are rack, bass, FT......

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Osahead2

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Trust me, I've had my ups & downs with this issue.

Yes Gretsch developed several different "so called" walnut finishes over the years especially after 1977 and that's when things get tricky.

Depending on what you are seeking never try to mix and match Gretsch colors because the odds are against you...

I have found over the past few years (for Gretsch drums) that if you are going to match drum with drum... your best bet is to match style badge to same style badge... and match paper tag style to paper tag style as best you can.

If you follow this theory your chances of hitting closer to shade/color match will be greater.

FYI: I'm still searching for a super dark walnut 12x8 SSB tom... that looks nearly black with a bright brass SSB badge attached.
 

RIDDIM

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If you want this done well, consult a good cabinet maker. See what he or she has to say and what they'd charge to do it right - if it can be done.

These are staying in your office, right? You don't want to put die cast rims on them, which impact the Gretsch sound far more than what shade they're stained, because you don't want the expense - but you're willing to risk making them even less visually appealing, likely damaging resale value, and incur a significant investment in time and possibly materiel.

The logic is not apparent.

Consider the value of your time and how much effort you'd have to put into this to make it right.
 

studrum

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Everybody's got one, so here's mine: I would go for the long relaxed search of 1. An FT to match the BD. Then and only then, after enjoying playing the drum that came with the set, 2. Sell the FT to someone who wants it to match something he's got. Somebody here said it looks like Antique Maple. If they've got to have it, they will pay! I would not refinish the drum. Gretsch is known for their fine lacquer finishes.

My dos centavos.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I appreciate the "leave it alone" sentiment. If it was original, I'd agree. I am anti altering a vintage piece. But it has 3 sets of holes and unless I get real lucky and find someone looking for a brown original 11x13 converted to a FT (with techware brackets)......good luck IMO! I don't mind waiting for a unicorn drum, but a matching 13" for this kit is not that, certainly not for $400 on eBay (and then I have to drill 6 holes - no way).

The issue is absolutely not spending some $$ on hoops (I have 13's; just need 10's, but the toms sound very good as is). It's about have a closer matching kit. Part of me says strip them all and start from scratch, but I bought the kit for the wood color and the 2 drums look very nice together. I will probably throw a coat of silver sealer in the 10" to give it more of the proper sound, so I'll get a little bit of a project out of this kit after all..... :)

PS: Hey Osa, hope you're well!
 

tkillian

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Leave it.
My gretsch walnut floor tom was all chipped to hell when I bought it. I bought miniwax and tried to "hide" some spots of bare wood wear the outer ply had literally chipped off.

It was about as close as your two drums.

I say dont bother.
Plus..trust me from the audience you wont be able to tell a big difference
 

tkillian

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Screenshot_20200517-073154_Photos.jpg

You can see the darker spots. That is miniwax.

For my situation it worked ok because as you can see in the next photo you cant really tell from 10 feet away.
My point is...take a photo from 20 feet away in lower light. Might not be that bug a deal?
 

retrosonic

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I'd say leave it as is. Its close enough in color, its not like its Purple sparkle or anything!

Remember, millions of drummers added a floor tom to their 3 piece set that often wasnt the exact same color.
 


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