Identifying a Gretsch Drum Set

bwa

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Recently came into possession of an older Gretsch 4 pc Drum set. I've tried my best to research, but have found little info. There is a similar set on EBay # 192885138629

That listing claims to be a 1950's 4280 Round badge Gold Duco. I would not be so skeptical of the age of mine, as the original owner said they were from the early 70's (maybe they were used? As there are no serial numbers, and the round badge covered through 1971 (by my research), the opinion of a knowledgeable Gretsch enthusiast would be welcome.

I attach a few photos. Can provide more if necessary
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K.O.

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The Snare drum is a Renown model (not the same as the current Renown series of drums). It was essentially the same as the top of the line Name Band model except it used the Renown throw off. The snare, bass and small tom probably came as a catalog outfit (I don't have access to my catalog scans at the moment). There were lower cost offerings with just a single tom and the center lug design. The floor tom was likely added on later, although it could have been ordered with the set.

The basic construction (shells, hoops, edges) would be identical to any other Gretsch drums of the time so "that great Gretsch sound" is going to be there, although the single tension bass somewhat limits the tuning options there. Looks like a cool set from, I'm guessing, the late 50s or early 60s. Once the Beatle boom hit in 1964 these sorts of sets became less popular, even as an entry level purchase, but they did remain available so they could be from somewhat later.
 

bwa

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that would put the time estimate in the 1965-1966 range, if all of the serial numbers are in the 58000 ish range.
Thanks for that info. Do you know the the series this is from? And are they worth keeping?
 

JDA

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HERE'S SOME SOURCES for IDENTIFYING




where's my Anxiety medication...
 
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K.O.

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Thanks for that info. Do you know the the series this is from? And are they worth keeping?
There were no "series" back then, just Gretsch drums. The less expensive models differed in the hardware on the drums but on all the things that were sonically important they were the same. Same shells (6 ply maple/gum made by Jasper), same die cast hoops, same bearing edges. They have the potential to sound more or less the same as other Round Badge drums if that is something you want. They would also have the same quirks such as tight fitting heads although that is probably less of a problem on lacquered shells.
 

retrosonic

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Late 50s. The consolette tom tom mount is the hard to find one that was on *my* late 50s Gretsch bass drum.
 

studrum

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You have a very cool kit that, though not for everyone, is definitely right up the alley of many of the fiends around here!

This fiend included.

The duco appears to be in far better condition than we usually see for drums that age. Treat them with care.
 

JOE COOL

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1964 gretsch catalog introduced 'the playboy'.... variation on the theme.

 

JOE COOL

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variations on a theme was also a short song that was both the introduction and finale on the second album of the jazz-rock band ,blood sweat and tears
 
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bwa

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Thanks for all of the replies. Seems to be many opinions on the set; year and model. So, I have opened the Toms and can report that the interiors of all 4 drums are painted silver.

Snare: Model 4102 SN 58331 14" x 5"
Tom: Model 4435 SN 97902 12" 8"
Floor T: Model 4478 SN 109301 16" x 15" Model # is very smudged / unreadable
Bass: Have not opened

Both Toms have Round Badge with button

So, can anyone year date these?
 

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JDA

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According to Gier's reliable Gretsch book

Snare: Model 4102 SN 58331 14" x 5"
Tom: Model 4435 SN 97902 12" 8"
Floor T: Model 4478 SN 109301 16" x 15" Model # is very smudged / unreadable
snare 58331 = 1966
small tom 97902 = 1968
floor tom 109301 = 1968

model 4102 is correct. for mahog. or lacquer Renown snare drum (pearl wrapped was 4103)
 

K.O.

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Those years tie in nicely with when the "Playboy" center lug drums were available. That strikes me as fairly late for someone to be buying kind of a bargain basement set like that but they were still available and for someone on a particularly limited budget they may have been the stuff of dreams. Of course the snare and the floor tom don't represent the very cheapest options of the time so things may have been prioritized along those lines. As far as I recall there wasn't a 16" Playboy style floor tom offered so if someone really wanted a 16 that would have been their only option.

Lots of sets were bought and assembled one or two pieces at a time, usually starting with a snare drum, then a bass drum or a bass drum and small tom, and finally adding a floor tom. I'd say there's a pretty reasonable chance that was the case with these, although there is really no way to know for sure, short of having some purchase receipts accompanying the drums (which does sometimes happen, but only rarely).
 

KCDrumDad

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According to Gier's reliable Gretsch book



snare 58331 = 1966
small tom 97902 = 1968
floor tom 109301 = 1968

model 4102 is correct. for mahog. or lacquer Renown snare drum (pearl wrapped was 4103)
Thanks JDA for the confidence in my guide, but the dates produced using my dating guide are approximate and not quite as definitive as you suggest. The serial number ranges presented for each year are not as exact as people would like to have, but that is as close as the data permits.

As stated in my earlier post, I would place the snare as from the 1965-66 time period. Based upon the new information, the small tom would be 1967-68 time frame and the floor tom (which is likely model 4418, not 4478 as reported) in the 1968-69 time frame.
 
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