Gretsch questions

wflkurt

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Hey guys, my 1974 Gretsch set has been with me since June of 1983 and we just celebrated 36 together. I have a whole article on my set that I wrote for NSMD describing how and when I got them. My question is this.... I thought it might be fun to use them on a gig last month as they aren't played much. I set them up in my drum room just to give them a gig test. I had forgotten how much noise the springs inside the lugs make! The Pratt mufflers also rattled a bit and that was annoying. Is the ring from the lugs part of the Gretsch charm or do you guys put cotton inside the lugs to stop that? If that is the case then I am also worried about taking off the lugs. The screw don't look nearly as easy to take off as the many Ludwig ones that I have done over the years. I would also hate to break a screw and or a lug as I certainly don't have much in the way of Gretsch parts on hand. Do the 60's Gretsch have ringing springs as loud as the 70's ones? This might be a good question for you Kevin(K.O.) as I know you are well versed in the Gretsch area.

I still may not use the set all that frequently but it would be nice to know that I could and I have sentimental attachment to them as this was my first set that I got when I was 12. I'm just curious as I almost exclusively gig out Ludwig drums vintage and new. Thanks!

https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/not-so-modern-drummer/2017/9/11/everyone-had-a-first-set-of-drums-what-was-yours
 
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It's a common problem, so when I have gotten a "used" 60's through 80's) Gretsch drum in the past, I do a few things pre-emptively: Pack the lugs with cotton, take out all mufflers (pratt, snare, and tom,) replace tom mounting hardware with RIMS and Yamaha mounts, and have the edges done. Then, and only then, do I have a GREAT sounding, reliable drum, that won't give me any problems, EVER!!!!!

Thankfully I'm done with all of that, because I now have Gretsch Black Nitron drums in ALL sizes (toms 8 through 18, and Bass Drums 18 through 24.) all have had the above preemptive work done, and NOW all of them sound GREAT!!!!!!!! As I say all the time, their motto was, "That great Gretsch sound, NOT that great Gretsch workmanship.

When taking the lugs off, yes I'd be VERY careful with those pot metal self tapping screws. One thing that I have found VERY helpful, is take only one lug off at a time, and replace the screw in the exact hole from whence it came (keep track.) And take them off with a nut driver NOT a normal screw driver. But be very careful!

I always forget to check at Home Depot (or wherever) when I'm there, for some of those "self tapping Gretsch screws," just to have on hand as spares. It might be a good idea though. Although who knows if they would work.

Be careful, but worth the effort!
Hope that helps,
MSG
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I don't notice rattle of springs or mufflers on my various RB, SSB or USA kits. I would caution you about the removal of lugs, though. I've stripped many lugs (mostly bass lugs) or screws due to the crappy self-tapping holes.

Neither Rogers nor Ludwig nor Slingy has given me that problem on vintage drums......I think in terms of vintage parts durability, I'd go R, L, S then G!
And of course, they ain't cheap to replace, either......
 

JDA

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Do the 60's Gretsch have ringing springs as loud as the 70's ones?
My 60s are silent have been for 44 years; brass snare, toms, bass, Lugs never rattled.
I wouldn't consider rattling a charm.
My 1966 RB or 2006 BK.
Tight as a Dr...um

maybe it's Arkansas leper colony curse
RB flat round head screws can come out and in 50 times a day 24/7; never took a hex head out and in

I think you should just Tighten the drums up and show em who's boss.
Mufflers are a separate issue; may get one with extra play every now and then.
 
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In retrospect I 'll say this. I have never heard the ringing of the springs in the lugs, as I said I do all of the above mentioned work "pre-emptively." Because I never want to be in the position where any of my equipment is "a problem" (in any way.)

Throughout the years though, I have had a few recording engineers, and a few techs along the way ask me if the lugs were packed (just to be sure there wasn't the potential for a problem, especially when recording) And I remember all the "old guys" when I was a kid (35 years ago) complaining about the Gretsch lugs and mufflers. Old wives tale... Just a rumor... I don't know... who knows...

But I guess all their bitchin' and moanin' made enough of an impression on my young drumming mind that now I just do the work. Better safe than sorry, the lack of "worries" lets me approach my (musical) work with a clear mind.

But yes, be careful!
MSG
 

kb

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My '78 Gretsch had lots of spring noise, and rattling mufflers too....and slipping floor tom mounts, and poor edges, and an out-of-round 12" tom....oh well, they LOOKED great...although, come to think of it, the 12 was darker than the 13....

Thankfully, I didn't strip out any lugs when I packed 'em with cotton balls.
 

edge

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the best thing to do with Gretsch lugs is to use a tap to clean out the holes before trying to run a screw in them
 

Pounder

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All those brands can have rattling issues. I had a Rogers Dayton/Cleveland (transition?) era set that was the bomb-diggity a friend and fellow drummer bought. He never could get the 14" floor tom to stop an annoying vibration. He took the entire drum apart and still couldn't get to the problem.

I would say that the Stop-sign Gretsch with the ball-socket mounts are oft-complained about.
Still Gretsch shells from the 50s through to the present have been rated tops by many. So, you do what you do to stop the rattle and move on.
 

Powertone

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I have had several Gretsch bass drums from the 60’s thru the early 80’s. Only had lug spring rattling issues in one bass drum, a 24”. The others were fine. I have no idea why just the one drum. I guess some do have the issue and some don’t, which would account for the variety of answers.
 

charlesm

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When I got my c. '69 kit it was filthy, wrap seams lifting, etc. I did a thorough breakdown and cleaning of everything. I worked carefully and slowly and never had any issues with stripping screws.

I had heard some slight rattles here and there beforehand, so I packed all lugs with felt. I also wrapped some small felt strips around the hinged areas of mufflers. Didn't want to remove the Pratt because I love its functionality and usefulness. Everything is dead quiet now.
 

rikkrebs

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My 50’s kit doesn’t have rattling at all. However, I sold a 70’s kit that rattled pretty badly. The guy I sold them to just did the cotton ball trick and it worked perfect
 


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