Differences between G stop sign and later round badge drums?

bongomania

DFO Master
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
3,738
Reaction score
722
Location
Portland, OR
Are there any structural, material, or other real differences between say a 60’s RB and a 70’s SSB?
 

CaptainCrunch

DFO Veteran
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
2,293
Reaction score
366
Location
Where Black is the color, where None is the number
Yes and no. The last RB's and the first SSB's were the same drums, but as the 70's went on there were some thinner shells used, some hardware that even Gretsch understood players didn't want, and some bearing edges nobody would be proud of. But they still sound Gretschy, and none of these problems are unsurmountable. I'll buy SSB drums all day long, just won't pay RB prices for them.

Then again, I'm too cheap to pay RB prices for RB's, so take that into account.
 

K.O.

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
19,241
Reaction score
1,234
Location
Illinois
There were apparently some quality control issues when they first moved from Brooklyn to Arkansas and had to hire/train a new workforce. This happened approximately the same time as the change in badge design. Generally those issues consisted of poorly cut edges, one imagines that most of those problems have been addressed in the ensuing decades. They continued to buy shells from Jasper so those stayed the same. Round badge toms didn't have vent holes so that is a definite difference although I don't know how much that really effects the sound. I've heard that when necessary due to supply issues they'd buy shells from Keller so that might explain the occasional oddball looking shell but for the most part they weren't much different from the Round Badge drums although like any drum brand they continued to evolve slowly through the years. Today's USA Custom line can trace it's roots back to the RB drums and use the same "recipe" but aren't exactly the same.

I have 3 round badge sets and one early SSB and I really don't see much (or any) real difference between them.
 
Last edited:

JDA

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
12,177
Reaction score
1,752
Location
Jeannette, Pa.
Are there any structural, material, or other real differences between say a 60’s RB and a 70’s SSB?
This is slow evolution... wood finishes began to proliferate... at some point the tom tom and floor tom bearing edge reversed itself ( experts will know ex when) but evolution in brackets, Finish colors, shift away from pearls an emphasis on wood finishes...
 
Last edited:

kb

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
1,398
Reaction score
105
Location
SF Bay Area
Well, I don't really know, but I believe it's generally accepted that Baldwin era drums had the worst quality control. Again, I can't say for sure, but I think that era is mid to late '70's.

Certainly my '78 SSB drums had lots of problems: non-existent bearing edges, an out-of-round 12" tom, slipping floor tom mounts, the sometimes problematic self-tapping screws and the "Monster" tom mounts with giant holes in the drums.

But others have said their SSB's are excellent.
 

K.O.

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
19,241
Reaction score
1,234
Location
Illinois
Well, I don't really know, but I believe it's generally accepted that Baldwin era drums had the worst quality control. Again, I can't say for sure, but I think that era is mid to late '70's.

Certainly my '78 SSB drums had lots of problems: non-existent bearing edges, an out-of-round 12" tom, slipping floor tom mounts, the sometimes problematic self-tapping screws and the "Monster" tom mounts with giant holes in the drums.

But others have said their SSB's are excellent.
Quality control seemed to become somewhat lax for all the American drum companies by the late 70s. That is one reason why the Japanese drum makers suddenly gained so much of the market. Gretsch in particular had issues because they continued to use outdated hardware designs well after other companies had upgraded theirs. Those slipping floor tom leg brackets had been there for Round Badge owners as well (and you can still order them on a tom today if you so desire). When Gretsch did "modernize" their tom mounting system it was to the unfortunately clunky and aptly named Monster design. Still the drums themselves were generally good (with some exceptions slipping through) and retained their classic sound. People who wanted Gretsch drums often bought just the bare shell pack and had other mounting hardware, legs, and spurs installed. Eventually they did get things turned around. The wood finishes Gretsch started to offer were pretty spectacular looking and by the early 1980s they finally developed hardware on par with their competition. Despite the rocky road they did manage to survive through it all, which is more than Rogers and Slingerland were able to do.
 


Top