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Gretsch Renown vs Brooklyn question

mtarrani

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Am I really losing anything regarding quality or sound by opting for a Renown kit over a Brooklyn? I own a Brooklyn microkit and love the quality (and sound), but have been comparing two identical kits (finish-wise) and the Renown, even after replacing the heads, is way less expensive than the Brooklyn (which will only require replacing the tom reso heads.)
 

Treviso1

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I am a huge fan of the Gretsch Renown Series and find that the fit and finish are both excellent. Now, does it have the same mojo as a USA made kit? I don't think so, but you will have to discover that for yourself. Is it worth the major price premium? Only you can decide...
 

mtarrani

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I am a huge fan of the Gretsch Renown Series and find that the fit and finish are both excellent. Now, does it have the same mojo as a USA made kit? I don't think so, but you will have to discover that for yourself. Is it worth the major price premium? Only you can decide...
I mainly care about craftsmanship and quality. I can clearly hear nuances when I am playing drums (and cymbals) in isolation, but once I am in a live playing situation those nuances are lost, so mojo is not as important to me.
 

bpaluzzi

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I'm a big fan of my Renowns. I have a shell bank of them 8-10-12-14-16-18, 16 kick, 18 kick, 20 kick, 24 kick.

Purchased die-cast for all of the toms (and kept the stock double-flanged), so I really feel like I could cover just about anything with that set if needed. They take different heads really well -- I've used clear Emperors, coated Ambassadors, white suede Ambassadors, white suede Emperors, and clear CS on them, and they'll all sounded great.
 

K.O.

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I have a set of the Renowns from when they came with all the same hardware (lugs, brackets, DC hoops) as the American stuff wore at the time. I also have a few USA Custom sets and I really thought the Renowns pretty well matched to the pricier drums. I suspect that Gretsch realized this as well because it was not long afterwards that thay began to change things in the Renown series, different hoops, different tom mounting hardware, etc. Possibly to increase the differences between the two lines. I don't think they changed the Renown shells themselves though. I don't have any experience with the more recent Renowns but suspect that they would still give the USA stuff a run for the money, especially given the price differential. Many fewer options within the Renown series but if they offer what you want then definitely they are an option worth considering...and used Renown sets from 10 years ago, the ones that have the same hardware as the USA stuff, really can represent some killer deals.
 

David Hunter

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Count me as another Renown fan. I've owned both RN1 and RN2 versions, and they're all great. I'm currently using a Gloss Natural RN2 set in my Rolling Stones tribute band. They look and sound fantastic - I can't recommend them enough.
 

Stretsch

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Same here - have had my Renowns for about 12 years now. I'm not crazy about the missing lug on the smaller toms but besides that they are great.
 

K.O.

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Same here - have had my Renowns for about 12 years now. I'm not crazy about the missing lug on the smaller toms but besides that they are great.

What missing lug? You mean the 5 lug design on toms 12" and smaller? That's a Gretsch thing dating back to the 1930s or 40s. Even the top line drums have it. A part of the Gretsch "mystique". They don't dare change it now.
 

Redbeard77

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You will not sacrifice anything in craftsmanship/quality (or sound) by going with Renowns. The only downside is limited sizes and finishes compared to the USA lines.
 

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I love mine! 13/16/24. I couldn’t quite get with the snare, so I got a Ludwig Universal 6.5 Nickel over Brass. They have a wide tuning range and sound good low, medium or high. I started out with clear Emperors tuned just above wrinkle and they are the only drum set that I’ve owned that doesn’t get flappy at that tuning—-gobs of satisfying low end. Currently they have Aquarian coated Performance 2’s with a medium tuning and they sing. You will love them!
 

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rsmittee

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I'm a huge Renown convert. I was struggling with the very same question, Renown vs Brooklyn, a couple years ago, and then I found a great deal on a demo Renown kit from Sweetwater. I figured for the price, I could have a decent sounding kit, that I didn't have to worry about getting banged up at local dive bars. I fell in love with the sound, and my 4 pc shell pack (10, 12, 16, 22) has grown into a fairly decent shell bank of 10, 12, 14, 16 x 14, 16 x 16, 18 x 16, 22, 24, and 6.5 snare. Sound great, look great, quality is top notch. I have zero regrets for picking the Renown over the Brooklyn. Here's my 13, 16, 24 setup.

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and a 12, 16, 22 gig. My daughter hand painted the bass drum reso head. It's pretty cool.
TV_at_Roxy1Drums.jpg
 

Steech

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What missing lug? You mean the 5 lug design on toms 12" and smaller? That's a Gretsch thing dating back to the 1930s or 40s. Even the top line drums have it. A part of the Gretsch "mystique". They don't dare change it now.
Yup. I opens up the sound in the same way that 6-lug snares do.
 

WesChilton

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I have a Renown RN2 kit, in dark orange sparkle lacquer. I like it ok, its certainly VERY well-made and beautiful... but its not pushing my Gretsch buttons, so to speak, like I was hoping for them to.
So much so that I am considering saving for a USA Custom or Broadkaster kit.

I used to have a early 80s Gretsch stop sign kit, so that is what I am comparing them to.

The biggest difference to me is the shell thickness and bearing edges. Renown shells are heavy and thick compared to any USA model. They have the 30-degree bearing edge but without the outer roundover, so heads are a little tougher to fit on the Renowns, but not hard like with an oversized vintage kit. On my RN2 kit heads drop on the shell, but then the hoops are so tight to the shell that they don't sit flat on the bearing edge. I actually replaced the "302 hoops" with triple-flanged hoops to see if that helped, and it did a bit, but less than I expected.

I also replaced the Renown's tom suspension mount with the USA, RIMs-style mount that Renowns used to com with... and that opened up the rack toms considerably!

I also find that the Renowns are very much modern sounding maple drums, just like any other Asian-made, high-quality maple drum. To my ear nothing about them says Gretsch... or Tama or Mapex or anything else. The things that make them Gretsch-ish are the silver paint on the inside, the 5-lug 10 and 12 inch toms (which can be tricky to tune if you aren't used to them) and of course the badges and heads.

But side by side with a real Gretsch jasper shell... they don't sound the same at all.
But they are very different than my other kits that are more vintage, so it gives me more sound options.

That being said, the quality of the drums is very high for the money, and they will probably last forever. They are pretty affordable too. The Brooklyns will cost you a LOT more money, and being a mode modern style shell, probably wont sound that different to the Renowns.
 

jtpaistegeist

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I had a Renown Bop kit that was great, wish I still had it. Having owned UASC & Brooklyn, the quality is on par, yet I do find the USA models to have some extra mojo, maybe 5% (eye of the beholder). The biggest difference for me are the snares, I prefer the USA models.
 

bpaluzzi

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But side by side with a real Gretsch jasper shell... they don't sound the same at all.
But they are very different than my other kits that are more vintage, so it gives me more sound options.

For me, with die-casts on, you get the Gretsch sound 100%. My only Jasper Gretsch kit was an 18/12-14 kit though, so I don't have first-hand comparison for bigger drums.
 

WesChilton

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For me, with die-casts on, you get the Gretsch sound 100%. My only Jasper Gretsch kit was an 18/12-14 kit though, so I don't have first-hand comparison for bigger drums.
Yeah that's definitely a big part of the sound, but I also think its the thin shells. Its a magical combination. :)
 


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