Help with Leedy & Gretsch (?) Purchase - What I have and what to do?

retrosonic

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Count Me In- (By that way, thats my favorite Gary Lewis record):

The fact that your bass drum doesnt have built in spurs means that the original owner went to a Gretsch dealer and ordered it that way. I'm sure he had hoop mounted spurs, like many, many 50s drummers had. I have a gretsch bass drum shell that was never drilled for a pratt muffler, or ANY muffler...thats what the original owner wanted.

Your set does not, in any way shape or form, need a rewap. Your bass drum wrap is actually in good shape. You just need to do a once a generation repair on it. For the seam that is lifting: With a credit card, pry up the whole thing enough that you can clean the undersides with goo gone and some sandpaper. Get it as clean as you can and clean off all residue, then glue it back down. You'll need some clamps and something to place between the wrap and the clamps...I use wooden yardsticks cut to size.

Do your research before you start. Many of us here have done this many times and can help you with your questions. Dont rush! Go slow, methodically and tackle each piece and project one at a time. if you do this, you will end up with a great looking set.
 

studrum

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Count Me In- (By that way, thats my favorite Gary Lewis record):

The fact that your bass drum doesnt have built in spurs means that the original owner went to a Gretsch dealer and ordered it that way. I'm sure he had hoop mounted spurs, like many, many 50s drummers had. I have a gretsch bass drum shell that was never drilled for a pratt muffler, or ANY muffler...thats what the original owner wanted.

Your set does not, in any way shape or form, need a rewap. Your bass drum wrap is actually in good shape. You just need to do a once a generation repair on it. For the seam that is lifting: With a credit card, pry up the whole thing enough that you can clean the undersides with goo gone and some sandpaper. Get it as clean as you can and clean off all residue, then glue it back down. You'll need some clamps and something to place between the wrap and the clamps...I use wooden yardsticks cut to size.

Do your research before you start. Many of us here have done this many times and can help you with your questions. Dont rush! Go slow, methodically and tackle each piece and project one at a time. if you do this, you will end up with a great looking set.
This^^^. And to add: that old school and aged WMP just has "the look" that is hard to get with new wrap. Plus, this way you keep it original, which maintains and will increase it's value. Recovering makes the value plummet.

I also want to add that if retrosonic's excellent suggestions are beyond your skill set, please, please find the good, honorable drum resto guys in your area to do that work. Shouldn't be expensive.
 

count_me_in

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Nice score. I would get the Pearl iso feet for the floor tom, those straight legs are notorious for killing the resonance of a drum.
Thanks for the tip!

I could definitely clean up and lubricate the leg mounts too, as they make a pretty unpleasant screeching noise when extending the legs down top-to-bottom. The guy that sold them to me said you have to just pull the legs all the way out through the bottom and then feed it back through to top when I wanted to break it down (as if they only went one-way). I took his word initially but then realized there's a tiny hole for something small like an allen key, which can tension the spring out of the way so you can retract the legs back up. I reckon that hasn't been done in 50+ years, so they're pretty seized.
 

Pink69

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I respectfully disagree with this position.
I actually think the poster might be making a joke. I mean, around here.... stripping shells?
No joke at all. It is a group of mismatch drums so no real value as a set, I think they would sound better without the extra wrapping and look as good if not better.
 

retrosonic

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No joke at all. It is a group of mismatch drums so no real value as a set, I think they would sound better without the extra wrapping and look as good if not better.


I would respectfully disagree, as 'The Dried Glue Look" wasnt very becoming in 1961 and still isnt in 2021.
 

count_me_in

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Count Me In- (By that way, thats my favorite Gary Lewis record):

The fact that your bass drum doesnt have built in spurs means that the original owner went to a Gretsch dealer and ordered it that way. I'm sure he had hoop mounted spurs, like many, many 50s drummers had. I have a gretsch bass drum shell that was never drilled for a pratt muffler, or ANY muffler...thats what the original owner wanted.

Your set does not, in any way shape or form, need a rewap. Your bass drum wrap is actually in good shape. You just need to do a once a generation repair on it. For the seam that is lifting: With a credit card, pry up the whole thing enough that you can clean the undersides with goo gone and some sandpaper. Get it as clean as you can and clean off all residue, then glue it back down. You'll need some clamps and something to place between the wrap and the clamps...I use wooden yardsticks cut to size.

Do your research before you start. Many of us here have done this many times and can help you with your questions. Dont rush! Go slow, methodically and tackle each piece and project one at a time. if you do this, you will end up with a great looking set.
I love everything about this post! I noticed and was wondering about the lack of a bass drum muffler too, which I thought to be pretty common in that era. I need to check the hoops more thoroughly to see if maybe I can see any "bite marks" from the clamp-on spurs.

Trust me when I say my top priority is preserving the drum, not modernizing or bastardizing it. I am by nature slow, methodical, and overly meticulous - for better or worse I've never rushed a project in my life! Your wrap repair advice is great, and I'm sure I'll be able to handle it after tons more research on the process!

This^^^. And to add: that old school and aged WMP just has "the look" that is hard to get with new wrap. Plus, this way you keep it original, which maintains and will increase it's value. Recovering makes the value plummet.

I also want to add that if retrosonic's excellent suggestions are beyond your skill set, please, please find the good, honorable drum resto guys in your area to do that work. Shouldn't be expensive.
Agreed - definitely want to maintain its natural beauty as much as possible and not ruin the drum for myself or for whoever I may eventually pass it off to
 

count_me_in

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No joke at all. It is a group of mismatch drums so no real value as a set, I think they would sound better without the extra wrapping and look as good if not better.
I knew pre-purchase I wasn't getting myself a matched site, but as I'm pretty new to the world of vintage drum collection and restoration, I'm still excited to grow my modest collection. Mostly excited to play them as the make, models and shell compositions all check off quite a few new boxes for me :)

I'm sure it will sound great regardless of whether I leave the wrap, fix the wrap, remove the wrap, or even re-wrap the Gretsch kick, but I'm more inclined to keep it as "original" as possible and enjoy it for what it is.

I still appreciate you and everyone else on here taking the time to leave some feedback and suggestions for the newbie, even if it seems to against the "grain"!
 

K.O.

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People dig matched sets now but a lot of drummers back in the day used mixed sets. You often see different brands mixed together as sets in period photos. Not everyone could afford a whole drum set at once and often they might start with just a bass and snare drum and then add toms as they could afford them. It seems that maybe brand wasn't as important back then and so the add ons, while almost always of the correct color, might be from another company.

This doesn't change the fact that today's collector favors matched sets, preferably all built on the same day in whichever factory. It does explain how some of these sets came to be. I'm sure even those drummers from back then would have likely preferred to buy a shiny new complete matching drum set all at once but that wasn't always possible.Shell make up, edges, etc. were not really considered much back then so really if the wrap matched the only difference for a drummer to consider was the lug design and if that didn't concern him greatly he might decide which add on drum to buy based solely on price or availability or a combination of both.

Which is all a long winded way of saying that your drums, while obviously not all "born together," may well have been together as a "set" for a very long time.
 

retrosonic

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K.O is absolutely right. And another point, in the era from which your drums were made, Pawn shops and music instrument stores were far more plentiful at that time than today. Both had many used musical instruments including drums for sale. So, a working drummer might see a really good deal on a used Gretsch bass drum in WMP at a music store and would grab it, and then maybe see two Leedy WMP toms out of pawn for a good price and grab them as well. Instant matching drum set, and just fine for working around town.
 


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