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DW jazz series vs gretsch usa custom

jazzguy2

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I've narrowed down my new jazz drum set options to a dw jazz series and a gretsch isa custom kit. I'm not sure which one to pick. The gretsch is more pricy than the dw jazz series. They both have the same tuning range and durability. The finishes are awesome in both companies. They both have about the same "gretsch sound" but one is more pricy than the other. Please help and send pics of both kits. If you have any review i can read, please send them.
 

smythe5

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My opinion...I have owned both old and new Gretsch, as well as two 60's Ludwig sets. I am a professional Jazz musician, so that is the lens that I use in my personal tastes. In terms of new drums, I would actually recommend taking a look at Yamaha Absolute Maples, which you could find probably more cheaply than a Gretsch USA custom set. For whatever reason, I have never been impressed with DW. All drum companies at some point have ripped off the Gretsch formula, (the Absolute Maples are Yamahas loose attempt at this. I think they sound great. Let me put it a different way: If I were to choose between a new Gretsch USA custom and an Old Round Badge Gretsch kit, (which are roughly in the same price bracket), I would without question go for the older Gretsch. This opinion is greatly reinforced if your a jazz player. On the other hand, I'm sure whichever you choose, out of any of the drums mentioned, you will be very happy with your choice. They are all top quality. Go out and play them all. It all comes down to what sound and feel the best to you. Good Luck!
 
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RickP

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I have owned 5 Gretsch kits and currently own a DW Jazz set ( up for sale). Sonically there is very little difference to choose between them. The shells are not exactly the same but they use the same wood combination. They both have chrome plated zinc diecast hoops. They both jave a wide selection of lacquer finishes and wraps. Older Gretsch used to have attrocious hardware, new Gretsch hardware is fine. DW has great hardware and a less bulky suspension mount. Gretsch has the ugly aluminum fence paint interiors, DW has nice lightly sealed interiors.DW has more exotic veneer finishes so if that is something that turns your crank....

I think the decision is ultimately youra. There is little to choose between them. If price is your main concern get the DW Jazz set. If you are looking for a kit to impress people and has a great rep and history buy the Gretsch.

If I was going to buy either, I would probably base my decision on price first as they are both great drums.
 

Stixnergard2

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In 2012 Gretsch restructured their pricing in 3 tiers depending on the finish. A satin finish is least expensive, a wrap Nitron finish in the middle and a gloss lacquer the most expensive . If you go with a wrap or satin the Gretsch USA kit will be very reasonable and probably less than the DW jazz series. I would buy the Gretsch, it has the mojo and better resale. Another option if you don't mind an import is a Gretsch New Classic kit, less money and very close in sound.
 

LimaPop

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I really like the DWs, I've owned both and DW hardware is superior and I like the fine pitch tuning rods. dW finishes are usually amazing, my Jazz kit is a Tobacco gloss and beautiful.
 
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wayne

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Call Maxwells drums and let them explain in detail why you should choose Gretsch. Mind you, thats just thier opinion but at least you will know every detail you need to know about Gretsch. They will also be in a position to offer you a kit at a great price in the sizes you are looking for. IMO Gretsch is the best investment when it comes to resale, if thats a concern to you.
 
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dmacc

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Calling Steve Maxwell is a great idea. He has a vast knowledge base and great prices on the Satin kits (which is why I purchased mine from him).

I also think if you want to save a bundle and have a fabulous sounding set of drums - the idea of checking out a New Classic kit is extremely valuable input and should not be dismissed.

I own two sets - one is a USA Custom the other is a New Classic. Same sizes and finishes. Both sound incredible to my ears, but that's just opinion anyways. I've known 2 people with way too many DW issues of late so they never factored into my decision making. Though, I'm sure if I knew enough people, I'd of known people with similar Gretsch issues as well.

Try them out if possible and decide for yourself. You're in a win/win situation.
 
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RickP

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Calling Steve Maxwell is a great idea. He has a vast knowledge base and great prices on the Satin kits (which is why I purchased mine from him).

I also think if you want to save a bundle and have a fabulous sounding set of drums - the idea of checking out a New Classic kit is extremely valuable input and should not be dismissed.

I own two sets - one is a USA Custom the other is a New Classic. Same sizes and finishes. Both sound incredible to my ears, but that's just opinion anyways. I've known 2 people with way too many DW issues of late so they never factored into my decision making. Though, I'm sure if I knew enough people, I'd of known people with similar Gretsch issues as well.

Try them out if possible and decide for yourself. You're in a win/win situation.


dmacc,
Funny you should bring this up. I love Gretsch drums( as stated I have owned 5 sets) but every set I owned had some issue with it except one, albeit these were stop sign badge kits and this wasn't Gretsch's best years.Both DW kits I have owned have been perfect. I for one would take either companies offerings as they both make excellent drums these days.
 

VintageDrummer

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For me... I want the real deal. If they are all copying gretsch then why not get the real thing? I have 3 round badge kits... But will be selling one to thin out the herd. They just do it for me. With my opinion said... Both kits are supet fantastic an you really couldnt make a bad choice there.
 
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moonpalace

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dmacc

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Calling Steve Maxwell is a great idea. He has a vast knowledge base and great prices on the Satin kits (which is why I purchased mine from him).

I also think if you want to save a bundle and have a fabulous sounding set of drums - the idea of checking out a New Classic kit is extremely valuable input and should not be dismissed.

I own two sets - one is a USA Custom the other is a New Classic. Same sizes and finishes. Both sound incredible to my ears, but that's just opinion anyways. I've known 2 people with way too many DW issues of late so they never factored into my decision making. Though, I'm sure if I knew enough people, I'd of known people with similar Gretsch issues as well.

Try them out if possible and decide for yourself. You're in a win/win situation.

dmacc,
Funny you should bring this up. I love Gretsch drums( as stated I have owned 5 sets) but every set I owned had some issue with it except one, albeit these were stop sign badge kits and this wasn't Gretsch's best years.Both DW kits I have owned have been perfect. I for one would take either companies offerings as they both make excellent drums these days.

Thanks for chiming and and emphasizes my point "I'm sure if I knew more people who purchased Gretsch, there would be issues with Grestch as well."

Heck I had purchased a Yamaha Recording Custom back in the early 80's that had issues as well. No one believed that this could possibly be until I showed them the ply's separating slightly on the floor tom.

I agree with you that both DW and Gretsch make excellent products. I think lemons can and do exist with any product - drums, cars, cereal boxes, houses, etc.....
 

Sonorholic

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My choice would be Gretsch just cause they're so iconic. But if I've learned anything in all this time of buying drums is that you have to go with what you like and what works. Sometimes you have to buy the wrong kit to learn about drums. It's also really easy to get caught up in any company's hype and these days everyone knows possibly too much about drums. If budget is a concern then save your money and just get something that works. There are a ton of great drums out there right now and you have to be god awful cheap to buy bad ones. Yes, there are always 'bad' drums out there and any kit can have a dud drum in it.. or be really special. There are no sure things anywhere. So just go get some Gretsch drums and be done with it!! ;);)
 
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dmacc

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My choice would be Gretsch just cause they're so iconic. But if I've learned anything in all this time of buying drums is that you have to go with what you like and what works. Sometimes you have to buy the wrong kit to learn about drums. It's also really easy to get caught up in any company's hype and these days everyone knows possibly too much about drums. If budget is a concern then save your money and just get something that works. There are a ton of great drums out there right now and you have to be god awful cheap to buy bad ones. Yes, there are always 'bad' drums out there and any kit can have a dud drum in it.. or be really special. There are no sure things anywhere. So just go get some Gretsch drums and be done with it!! ;);)

This is so true. I can't recall a time where there's been so much decent stuff available at affordable prices. Back in the day an entry level kit meant industrial strength garbage. Now-a-days you can play some of these less expensive kits for life and it sound like a million bucks.
 

smythe5

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Gretsch RB are the real deal and I recommend them without hesitation if you can afford them. I have never had issues with old Gretsch hardware, matter of fact, I prefer it. It's durable, much lighter weight and just fine for me. The reason I recommended checking out yamaha absolute maple is because I know alot of poor jazz drummer who would love to buy some round badge but found the yamahas to be the next best thing. Not newer Gretsch. I've played some and they sound killer, they have the thin maple shells (without the gumwood), and the die cast hoops on all drums. If you can get past the iconic Gretsch mystique I recommend them. I just scored some Gretsch Broadkasters (from the 90's) for $1,500 on ebay. They are beautiful and are the last shells made by the illustrious Jasper. If you can find some of those, I also recommend them.
 

drumnhands

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If I read this right, you're looking for a great sounding jazz kit, and price is part of(if only a small part)your decision. Take a listen to the Yamaha Club Custom. They were designed for the player looking for a vintage vibe with modern reliability. These kits sound fantastic, are light weight (easy on the back), look great, and street price is about $800 or so less than the Gretsch. One of the guys on another forum posted a You Tube of a comparison between the two. Definitely worth your time giving them a listen.
 
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VintageDrummer

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I'll be selling one of my gretsch RB kits soon. and yes they are the real deal...thats why I now have 3 of them :)
 

Neal Pert

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I've owned a bunch of Gretsch kits and two DW jazz series kits. I presently only own a Gretsch jazz kit.

With all due respect to the good guys at Maxwell's, they sell Gretsch and don't sell DW. Of course they'll recommend the Gretsch.

Here's how I'd break it down:

1. If you're buying a kit that you'll be playing jazz on all the time and all you care about is the sound, either one is great.
2. If you're the kind of guy who is into a very integrated look, get DW.
3. If you're the kind of guy who likes classic things, get the Gretsch.
4. Having sold both types of kits, resale is comparable as long as you don't get anything weird.
5. If you want an extremely responsive company, hundreds of finish options, ease of getting perfectly matching add-on drums, or want to easily mix and match shell types for your own distinct drum sound: DW, hands down.
6. If you want to look like Art Blakey and/or don't want to take crap from a certain number of drum forum superheroes, get Gretsch.

Long story short, both are awesome-- I like them both equally.
 


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