Gretsch Serial Number Dating Guide

KCDrumDad

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Great work Rick !

I bought my late 50's maybe 60 Gretsch drums here in Nanaimo BC Canada in 2009 - local CL listing.
They were bought new - all the drums as a complete kit - in 1960 by the former owner. Actually he died in 2005 and I bought them off his daughter - the drums had been stored for decaded. They are 20/12/14 in Gold Sparkle with matching 5.5x14 snare.....all drums 3ply except the 14 FT which is 6 ply. Drums that went out of the factory during the time of transition from 3 to 6ply were sometimes mixed. Harry Cangany told me via email that Gretsch probably filled orders with what they had available and some kits went out with mixed plys.

I also have a few old Gretsch snare drums, 1926, 1949 mid 60's, 70's and a couple of toms with tacked reso heads - 1947 6x10 and 1953 1616 FT.

If there is any information I can provide regarding the history (what know of it), hardware and finish....any details at all that you may be interested in please let me know ....email?....and I will gladly do that.

Cheer,
Thanks.

I am always happy to get more reports of drums with serial numbers. I collect all of the information which is listed in the initial post on this thread. Please forward me that information on your drums that have serial numbers when you can.

I also like to hear about non-serialized drums - like your reliable report of a 1960 purchase of a mixed ply set. I did not include shell construction in the data I collected because for the period I studied, virtually all the drums have 6 plies. However, it would be nice to be able to nail down when the transition from 3 to 6 ply occurred. I set like yours can provide insight into that question.

Rick
 

halldorl

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Just got my copy. It´s a lot more than I expected. Lot´s of great info on the paper tags, badges, etc.

I take my hat off for Richard E. Gier who took his time to collect all this data (over 4000 drums registered from all era´s) and writing this book (or leaflet).

For a Gretsch geek like me this is very helpful and a fun read. Great work Rick! :notworthy: :occasion5:
 

kona1984

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Yes - the question of the transition from 3 to 6ply is hanging out there haha.

From what I've been able to gather since my purchase of these beauties is that the transition started around 1958. If that is true my 3ply drums may have been made in before 58 or 58, 59 or in early 60 (they were bought new in 1960). My drums do not have 'stickers' - I've been told they started around 1962 but I've heard people mention some drums had stickers before that. My snare drum - again, that came with the drums new - has stickchopper hoops while the toms have the regular die-cast hoops. My FT has the diamond leg-plates (not the Gladstone tube-type.


On another subject:
The 300 Champagne Sparkle 125th (2008) Anniversary snare drums - offered for sale in that year - were said to have been made from a 'stash' of Jasper shells (read that on the Gretsch website) found stored in a warehouse. I don't know any more regarding that but I'm sure Paul Cooper at the Gretsch factory would have accurate information on that.

I forgot to include in my previous email that I have one of those #'ed (92/300) and Serial numbered drums.
Even though these snare drums are not "vintage' they do have the Anniversary Round Badge and they are said to be made with shells from the Jasper Wood Products in Jasper Indiana.


Great work Rick !

I bought my late 50's maybe 60 Gretsch drums here in Nanaimo BC Canada in 2009 - local CL listing.
They were bought new - all the drums as a complete kit - in 1960 by the former owner. Actually he died in 2005 and I bought them off his daughter - the drums had been stored for decaded. They are 20/12/14 in Gold Sparkle with matching 5.5x14 snare.....all drums 3ply except the 14 FT which is 6 ply. Drums that went out of the factory during the time of transition from 3 to 6ply were sometimes mixed. Harry Cangany told me via email that Gretsch probably filled orders with what they had available and some kits went out with mixed plys.

I also have a few old Gretsch snare drums, 1926, 1949 mid 60's, 70's and a couple of toms with tacked reso heads - 1947 6x10 and 1953 1616 FT.

If there is any information I can provide regarding the history (what know of it), hardware and finish....any details at all that you may be interested in please let me know ....email?....and I will gladly do that.

Cheer,
Thanks.

I am always happy to get more reports of drums with serial numbers. I collect all of the information which is listed in the initial post on this thread. Please forward me that information on your drums that have serial numbers when you can.

I also like to hear about non-serialized drums - like your reliable report of a 1960 purchase of a mixed ply set. I did not include shell construction in the data I collected because for the period I studied, virtually all the drums have 6 plies. However, it would be nice to be able to nail down when the transition from 3 to 6 ply occurred. I set like yours can provide insight into that question.

Rick
 

thebeebe5

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Bought a second copy today KCDD. Started marking in this one.... Too much to read and remember for my old, feeble mind.

Great stuff!
 

createpop

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I received the copy! Thanks a lot!
Though roughly reading, it is a great information and very systematized research like thesis!

As going off on a tangent, the serial numbers, I have two questions because you mention about screws and strainers in the paper.

Between early 60's and late 60's muffler, are there any difference? Compared with mine early 60's 4153 and 2×late 60's 4160, the knob's center part is seemingly different. The first is flat and the latter is a little bit sharp.

Second question is that when 4 point snare butt was adopted instead of one point?
4 point snare butt appeared on'61 catalog. so around '60-'61?

If I am missing, pardon me.
 

KCDrumDad

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I received the copy! Thanks a lot!
Though roughly reading, it is a great information and very systematized research like thesis!

As going off on a tangent, the serial numbers, I have two questions because you mention about screws and strainers in the paper.

Between early 60's and late 60's muffler, are there any difference? Compared with mine early 60's 4153 and 2×late 60's 4160, the knob's center part is seemingly different. The first is flat and the latter is a little bit sharp.

Second question is that when 4 point snare butt was adopted instead of one point?
4 point snare butt appeared on'61 catalog. so around '60-'61?

If I am missing, pardon me.
Because my goal was to create a dating guide based upon serial numbers, I did not capture every bit of information about each drum that I encountered. I did record a lot of variables, especially when I saw that they might be helpful in dating drums with serial number labels. I specifically did not track butt ends or variations in the mufflers. I believe that the 1-point had been abandoned in favor of the 4-point before serial number labels were instituted. I made a few notes about muffler knob sizes, which varied over time and by model, but I think this is a different issue than what you are asking.

I think there are people on the forum who can offer informed opinions about your two questions.

Rick
 

thebeebe5

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Second question is that when 4 point snare butt was adopted instead of one point?
4 point snare butt appeared on'61 catalog. so around '60-'61?

If I am missing, pardon me.
the four point rapid tension butt end first appeared in the 1961 catalog if I am not mistaken....
 

createpop

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Second question is that when 4 point snare butt was adopted instead of one point?4 point snare butt appeared on'61 catalog. so around '60-'61?If I am missing, pardon me.
the four point rapid tension butt end first appeared in the 1961 catalog if I am not mistaken....
Thanks for input as always!! :notworthy:

Bought a second copy today KCDD. Started marking in this one.... Too much to read and remember for my old, feeble mind. Great stuff!
And you are the man! :occasion5:
 

KCDrumDad

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Rick, thanks for the comment!!
And sorry for out of topic.
I return to the paper.
I thought about an approach that may help get an answer on the mufflers. If your drums have serial numbers, then we have three data points for comparison of muffler knobs. We can at least know that when you 4153 model was made, they were using one style and when your late 60s 4160s were made, they received a different style. That gives us three dates to work with to answer the question. If we can find more drums with mufflers and serial numbers, then we can start to put together a date for the transition. However, if I understand your flat and sharp distinction, I think that Gretsch continued to use the flatter knobs throughout time on toms while they used both styles of knobs on snares, depending upon the model.

Are these the two styles of knobs that you are considering "flat" and "sharp"?

View attachment 115614 View attachment 115615

Both appear on later 1960s snares.

Rick
 

createpop

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Thanks Rick,

4153 doesn't have the serial number.
I guess it is circa '61(4 point snare butt/Micro/6ply/Silver Sealer)?
As for mufflers, left side is '68 4160 and right is 4153.
The first is sharp to me. When I checked another 4160, it is also sharp to me.
 

kona1984

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I have a Gretsch 16" FT with date stamped in it.........no serial #.
Horizontal-type mute with small knob.
The Duco finish is a little rough but I decided not to refinish it - let it alone for the 'vintage' vibe. I did have to tack a new reso head and I used the tacks you see in the Gretsch tom badges. I could not find the original flat oval two headed tacks anywhere - I searched high and low.
 

KCDrumDad

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Thanks Rick,

4153 doesn't have the serial number.
I guess it is circa '61(4 point snare butt/Micro/6ply/Silver Sealer)?
As for mufflers, left side is '68 4160 and right is 4153.
The first is sharp to me. When I checked another 4160, it is also sharp to me.
Based upon your list of characteristics, I would conservatively date your 4153 from the 1958 - 1962 time frame. Appearance of a feature in a catalog (like the 4-point butt in the 1961 catalog) helps to approximate the date, but since catalogs did not come out every year, they do not necessarily pinpoint the start date of that feature.

As far as the mufflers, I misinterpretted your flat and sharp as large and small. I do see a subtle difference in the profile of the knobs you picture, but I do not know when such a change may have occurred.

I have a Gretsch 16" FT with date stamped in it.........no serial #.
Horizontal-type mute with small knob.
That one is pretty easy to date! I have a 9x13 tom that is date stamped 1952 that is missing its muffler. It has the three holes lined up horizontally like your floor tom. (I am looking for one if anyone has one available.) I hung it on a circa 1954/55 cocktail drum. The snare control mechanism has the larger knob that appears to be the same used on most later mufflers, not the small one that you show.
 

halldorl

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My friend has a RB snare with a stamp inside. Can´t remember the date but the year was 1953
 

createpop

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Thanks Rick,

4153 doesn't have the serial number.
I guess it is circa '61(4 point snare butt/Micro/6ply/Silver Sealer)?
As for mufflers, left side is '68 4160 and right is 4153.
The first is sharp to me. When I checked another 4160, it is also sharp to me.
Based upon your list of characteristics, I would conservatively date your 4153 from the 1958 - 1962 time frame. Appearance of a feature in a catalog (like the 4-point butt in the 1961 catalog) helps to approximate the date, but since catalogs did not come out every year, they do not necessarily pinpoint the start date of that feature.

As far as the mufflers, I misinterpretted your flat and sharp as large and small. I do see a subtle difference in the profile of the knobs you picture, but I do not know when such a change may have occurred.
Got it! Specially thank you so much!
 

JOE COOL

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my book arrived a couple of days ago.quick delivery.
very good job putting it together.

this book finally fills a void that has existed for many decades.
us gretsch folk do appreciate your effort.
 

thebeebe5

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Thanks Rick,

4153 doesn't have the serial number.
I guess it is circa '61(4 point snare butt/Micro/6ply/Silver Sealer)?
As for mufflers, left side is '68 4160 and right is 4153.
The first is sharp to me. When I checked another 4160, it is also sharp to me.
Key holder Yoshi? The 1961 catalog lists the snap in key holder as standard equipment on page 10. Of course as KCDrumDad mentions it's tough to mark dates that features went into regular use, but I imagine that in 1961 that feature was quite regular.
 

createpop

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Thanks Rick,

4153 doesn't have the serial number.
I guess it is circa '61(4 point snare butt/Micro/6ply/Silver Sealer)?
As for mufflers, left side is '68 4160 and right is 4153.
The first is sharp to me. When I checked another 4160, it is also sharp to me.
Key holder Yoshi? The 1961 catalog lists the snap in key holder as standard equipment on page 10. Of course as KCDrumDad mentions it's tough to mark dates that features went into regular use, but I imagine that in 1961 that feature was quite regular.
Yes, it is equipped. Thanks for the input, Bro!
BTW, I turned aside this thread too much. I'm very sorry.
Let's back to the topic!
 


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