Gretsch USA Custom: A Few Questions

JDA

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I'm not sure what you mean about them not being sensitive
yeah, I could have worded that better. One has to activate them ; whether sensitively or harder I meant ....they don't tolerate just "dropping a stick" down on them like a lighter drum (would) does respond. They need (some) conviction (moreso) one way or the other, from the operator
 
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JDA

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Per Ronn Dunnett, there are no loud drums.
That's true but some do quieter easier than others.

Take a 6L old triple flange stock Pioneer 5x14 versus an 8L 5 x14 DC hoop wood Gretsch. One is a light drum the other not. You can (I can) do dainty easier on the light drum. Have to concentrate a little more on the the stiff heavier drum. It's mostly to do with the hoop height and hoop thickness. If I had a long , very long, mezzo-piano passage to play on a snare drum I might be wont to use the lighter loodwig hoop drum..

that's all
 
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jb111

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1. The big difference between your kits and Gretsch is diecast hoops. Some drummers avoid them because they reportedly feel "brittle" compared to TF hoops. I think the silver sealer affects the sound of the drums more than the makeup of wood plies in said shell, but that's IMO. Best remedy is to play a snare or kit with discasts and see if you like that feel.

2. There have been issues, albeit small in most cases, amd they do take a long time to resolve them. There was a drummer locally, he ordered addons for his Gretsch kit and they messed up not once, but twice in fulfilling the order. He sold all of his Gretsch and bought a Yamaha kit. Many of these issues are because they are backlogged and rushing out orders, even with DW helping distribute. While that drummers reaction was a bit drastic, it's something to think about.

3. The edge on GG wraps is fine, it's that they cut the wrap lower than other brands so that drumheads will fit on them. When it's all assembled, it looks fine, but when you take off heads, and you see that big 1/2" gap on either end of the shell, it looks like they made a mistake applying the wrap, but they didn't. It is what it is. I prefer the Satin finish drums over a wrapped finish, the wrap also mutes the drums ever so slightly. It might work out for you, and it's not enough of a sound difference to stay away from a wrapped kit. Just my opinion.

4. Yes. and No. As I wrote earlier.

5. Yes, they updated the rail mount. It is much more functional than previous versions and looks less fiddly. I owned a beautiful Gretsch kit last year that I traded in mainly because of the vintage build. The rail mount is too fiddly and the vintage spurs don't hold up to my playing. I recommend the newer hardware, it's not much heavier than vintage, but IMO is much more functional. I don't mind the big post in the kick drum, it all works and sounds fine. You can always leave it virgin and install whatever works best for you if you don't like either option.

6. other thoughts....I like Caddy Green Satin, even Walnut Satin. Gloss is more expensive, but Antique Maple Gloss is *Mwah!* (Chef's Kiss) stunning. One finish that really caught my eye in a good way is Black Satin Metallic. Not to steer you away from wraps, because I know drummers who have Silver Sparkle, Turquoise GG and they love their kits.

If and when you decide to custom order, be ready to wait. They say 6 months lead time, but often times it's been seven, eight, even nine months before you hear an inkling about a drum being done. Most Gretsch guys however, are extremely patient, because they know what they're getting. They wait. If you don't care to wait so long, maybe a different brand might suit your needs. If your need is not urgent however...go for it.
Thanks very much for this detailed response. I appreciate the insight—very helpful.
And I've definitely thought of buying a set of die cast hoops for my Bleifuss kit. May go that route.
 

jb111

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Well...pulled the trigger today. USA Custom in downbeat sizes with 5.5 / 8-lug matching snare. Silver glass glitter. Now the waiting begins....
Thanks again to everyone for the helpful thoughts feedback.
 

sptucker

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Well, I missed this entire thread somehow, but just to make you feel even better now that you have yours on order...

I purchased my slightly used 2018 USA Custom kit from a fellow DFOer, and was admittedly a bit skeptical before they arrived, but I was completely blown away once I had them in-hand. So much so that I custom-ordered multiple factory color-matched additional drums shipped direct to my house in 2019 in order to create a sort of "dream" kit. I sold my early 2000s Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes because the USACs just flat out sound and look better. It was an easy choice, frankly.

The build quality of all the drums has been top-notch, and the lacquer/stain is flawless. Edges are perfect. Hardware is excellent. I went with shell-mounted diamond brackets and could not be happier. Kick drum does not move at all (on carpet). Also, the 5.5 matching snare is stupidly great -- I was not expecting it to be as fantastic as it is. I got the updated Microsensitive strainer and it has been rock solid, just a pleasure to use.

Somebody mentioned the Permatone heads being bad. They are Remo Ambassadors, which just happens to be my favorite, so naturally I love them. In summary, I've got nothing bad to say about these drums and they will probably be the last high-end drums I buy.

You are going to love yours!
 

RIDDIM

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yeah, I could have worded that better. One has to activate them ; whether sensitively or harder I meant ....they don't tolerate just "dropping a stick" down on them like a lighter drum (would) does respond. They need (some) conviction (moreso) one way or the other, from the operator
- To get them to really sing, perhaps. Then again, if they're cranked and in tune, a little goes a long way.
 

jb111

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Well, I missed this entire thread somehow, but just to make you feel even better now that you have yours on order...

I purchased my slightly used 2018 USA Custom kit from a fellow DFOer, and was admittedly a bit skeptical before they arrived, but I was completely blown away once I had them in-hand. So much so that I custom-ordered multiple factory color-matched additional drums shipped direct to my house in 2019 in order to create a sort of "dream" kit. I sold my early 2000s Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes because the USACs just flat out sound and look better. It was an easy choice, frankly.

The build quality of all the drums has been top-notch, and the lacquer/stain is flawless. Edges are perfect. Hardware is excellent. I went with shell-mounted diamond brackets and could not be happier. Kick drum does not move at all (on carpet). Also, the 5.5 matching snare is stupidly great -- I was not expecting it to be as fantastic as it is. I got the updated Microsensitive strainer and it has been rock solid, just a pleasure to use.

Somebody mentioned the Permatone heads being bad. They are Remo Ambassadors, which just happens to be my favorite, so naturally I love them. In summary, I've got nothing bad to say about these drums and they will probably be the last high-end drums I buy.

You are going to love yours!
Very happy to hear this! Glad to hear you're digging the Microsensitive strainer as that's what I went with as well. I ended up going with the modern spurs and single tom post with diamond bracket direct to shell. Can't wait!
 
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bellbrass

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I'd like to go to bat for Gretsch USA Custom snares. I'm old enough to remember when Gretsch wooden snares sounded boxy; I have my share of be-bop albums from the 50s and 60s with Gretsch drums where the bass & toms sounded fantastic, and the snare sounds were hit-and-miss. That is not the case today.
Firstly, I think the new Micro-sensitive throwoff, designed at least in part by Sam Bacco, is great. In fact, it's my very favorite throwoff. The old ones were garbage; very unreliable, I'm told. But I've had several Gretsch USA Custom snares with the new Micro, and all have worked flawlessly. I even started gigging with my 5.5" x 14" Anniversary Sparkle USA Custom. It sounds great and stays in tune.
Now the Lightning Strainer...I just don't like those things. Never have. But when they came out with the new Micro, I was all over it. Love 'em!
 

Iristone

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+1 on the new Micro throw-off. I installed it on my RB Gretsch and, it works! No experience with the Lightning throw-offs but the name... what about some Tom throw-offs or Butch throw-offs? :happy11:
 

jb111

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I'd like to go to bat for Gretsch USA Custom snares. I'm old enough to remember when Gretsch wooden snares sounded boxy; I have my share of be-bop albums from the 50s and 60s with Gretsch drums where the bass & toms sounded fantastic, and the snare sounds were hit-and-miss. That is not the case today.
Firstly, I think the new Micro-sensitive throwoff, designed at least in part by Sam Bacco, is great. In fact, it's my very favorite throwoff. The old ones were garbage; very unreliable, I'm told. But I've had several Gretsch USA Custom snares with the new Micro, and all have worked flawlessly. I even started gigging with my 5.5" x 14" Anniversary Sparkle USA Custom. It sounds great and stays in tune.
Now the Lightning Strainer...I just don't like those things. Never have. But when they came out with the new Micro, I was all over it. Love 'em!
Yeah, I've heard good things about the Micro. I do play with snares off on a couple tunes per set, and I heard the Lightning would rattle. Didn't want that. Stoked to hear you're into the USA Custom snares.
 

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