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Keller getting out of the drum shell business ?

wflkurt

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I can't believe that after all the years I have lived in NH (nearly all 52 of them), I have never been to Keller just to check it out. I'm probably 20-30 minutes from there and gig in Manchester fairly regularly. I should try to visit sometime.
 

bellbrass

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I can't believe that after all the years I have lived in NH (nearly all 52 of them), I have never been to Keller just to check it out. I'm probably 20-30 minutes from there and gig in Manchester fairly regularly. I should try to visit sometime.
Knock the front door down, storm in, and demand an answer. Tell them there are a bunch of grumpy old men on a drum forum, none of whom intend to buy a new drum kit ever again, that really, really need to know.
 

DrummBumm89

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Wasn't there a conversation a while back that involved Portsmouth with some shell makeup inquiries?
Gretsch was doing Keller for US, and occasionally/rarely DW provided shells but only for the Brooklyn series when Keller was behind?
 

bpaluzzi

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Wasn't there a conversation a while back that involved Portsmouth with some shell makeup inquiries?
Gretsch was doing Keller for US, and occasionally/rarely DW provided shells but only for the Brooklyn series when Keller was behind?
Yup, that was something Joe posted, coming straight from the horse's mouth at Keller:

 

Esotericdrums

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There’s a ton of hand work that goes into making drums as you know . Entry level should be starting at $20 a hour .
I can see argument for 15 starting out while you’re training/learning the ropes… but after that period you should be getting 20-25 an hour. Any decent woodworker in construction is getting 20-25
 
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Davo

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Fred Gretsch III and family still own Gretsch. They LICENSED the name and distribution rights to Kaman around 2001 which is what revitalized the brand during the past two decades. Kaman introduced the imported lines like Catalina, Renown, etc. which increased the brand's market presence exponentially. The USA stuff all remained in Ridgeland but the factory was run by Kaman, Kaman sold their rights to Fender several years ago and then Fender, in turn, sold them to DW. Apparently DW split off the import lines to Hal Leonard. DW is in charge of production and distribution of the USA stuff (Fred just cashes the checks) but they do not OWN Gretsch. They seem to have taken a mostly "hands off" approach to how things are done in Ridgeland, probably a good call for a brand so steeped in tradition.

I have not watched the podcast mentioned above but if someone is stating otherwise they either miss-spoke or don't know what they are talking about as the above information is well documented in many places.
Yep , you said all that needed to be said in the first sentence . Fred Gretsch III and family still own Gretsch .
It’s what I’ve been saying all along .
 

DrummBumm89

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Small caveat that I personally think the phrase unskilled labor is dumb. I don't know any single job that is unskilled, let alone in the DW factory which I've been to several times, official tours and non.
I couldn't pop behind a counter at a fast food joint and know what to do. Unskilled labor is just a phrase used to belittle jobs and pay awful wages.
I worked in a hardware store when I was young, and the work was 100x worse then any of my office jobs that have paid multitudes more.
The people running mad at a Starbucks are working harder then half off the office staff that sit in meetings to talk about meetings.
 

bpaluzzi

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Yep , you said all that needed to be said in the first sentence . Fred Gretsch III and family still own Gretsch .
It’s what I’ve been saying all along .
That's not what people were disagreeing with you about.

You said DW has nothing to do with USA lines: false, they produce and distribute them
You said DW controlled import lines: false, Hal Leonard does
 

DBT

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Small caveat that I personally think the phrase unskilled labor is dumb. I don't know any single job that is unskilled, let alone in the DW factory which I've been to several times, official tours and non.
I couldn't pop behind a counter at a fast food joint and know what to do. Unskilled labor is just a phrase used to belittle jobs and pay awful wages.
I worked in a hardware store when I was young, and the work was 100x worse then any of my office jobs that have paid multitudes more.
The people running mad at a Starbucks are working harder then half off the office staff that sit in meetings to talk about meetings.
I’m guilty of the phrase , inexperienced . I’ll always fight for them . Drum Company’s are making Thousands for a kit . Break down what they paid their laborers to make those kits . They buy their materials in bulk . $13.50 at the Gretsch factory to start is sad . That’s under the minimum wage in a lot of states . A one bedroom garden apartment in Georgia a month is crazy now . It’s a weak argument that the cost of living in the south is cheaper , that’s out the window these days .
 
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JimmyM

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Excuse me for this, but even though the rumors of Keller not making shells anymore seem false from what I’ve read, what does it matter if they do or not as long as they’re made up to standard? Seems like one more thing to nitpick. They survived Jasper stopping, and if Keller bails at some point, they will find someone else. The only thing you can count on with a company that’s been around as long as Gretsch is that things will change.
 

Tornado

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Small caveat that I personally think the phrase unskilled labor is dumb. I don't know any single job that is unskilled, let alone in the DW factory which I've been to several times, official tours and non.
I couldn't pop behind a counter at a fast food joint and know what to do. Unskilled labor is just a phrase used to belittle jobs and pay awful wages.
I worked in a hardware store when I was young, and the work was 100x worse then any of my office jobs that have paid multitudes more.
The people running mad at a Starbucks are working harder then half off the office staff that sit in meetings to talk about meetings.
I think the phrase has some merit if meant to describe a job that can be filled by someone without prior experience or training. That doesn't reflect how difficult the job is. My first job as a teenager was in a fast food & ice cream shop. It was very fast paced, stressful, and physical. The customers really sucked too. Hardest job I've ever had, if taking into account my age and work experience. But I had the necessary skills to do the job within a week.
 
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K.O.

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Interesting, in watching that Gretsch factory tour video again I noted that one reason that Keller had to invest a bunch to make the Gretsch shells was because they are 1/16th inch bigger than industry standard. Keller had shell molds for the standard sizes so they must have had to invest in new molds to enable them to make the slightly larger shells. Again "tradition" wins out, Gretsch could have had Keller make standard sized shells, which would have saved Keller that investment and solved those occasional head fitment issues, but no, they required that the size remain the same as it ever was.
 

bluejacketsfan

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As someone who has never owned a Gretsch set, when you say they are bigger, how much so? And is it ever an issue getting heads to seat?

I had a Sonor Signature set, and it had undersized shells, which was a first for me.

It's the first I've ever heard of this in 35+ years of playing, about Gretsch shells.

And why oversized shells?
 

K.O.

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As someone who has never owned a Gretsch set, when you say they are bigger, how much so? And is it ever an issue getting heads to seat?

I had a Sonor Signature set, and it had undersized shells, which was a first for me.

It's the first I've ever heard of this in 35+ years of playing, about Gretsch shells.

And why oversized shells?

Gretsch 6 ply shells have always been less undersized than most other makes. It can be a problem fitting modern heads on older RB drums, particularly those wrapped in glass glitter wraps. Lacquered drums present less of an issue. One assumes that when the 6 ply shells were introduced, aound 1955 during the calfskin era it wasn't a big deal. It has also been assumed that Gretsch's own line of plastic heads, Permatones, were sized to fit (although modern Permatones appear to just be standard Remo heads with different branding).

They aren't actually oversized because all drum shells are less than their cataloged size but Gretsch shells (at least the 6 ply ones) are closer to the cataloged diameter than is typical.
 

el_37

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Small caveat that I personally think the phrase unskilled labor is dumb. I don't know any single job that is unskilled, let alone in the DW factory which I've been to several times, official tours and non.
I couldn't pop behind a counter at a fast food joint and know what to do. Unskilled labor is just a phrase used to belittle jobs and pay awful wages.
I worked in a hardware store when I was young, and the work was 100x worse then any of my office jobs that have paid multitudes more.
The people running mad at a Starbucks are working harder then half off the office staff that sit in meetings to talk about meetings.

It is unskilled in the sense that someone of average intelligence with no job experience whatsoever can learn how to do it with minimal training- you might not be able to pop behind a fast food counter and know what to do- but with 4-8 hours of training you would certainly know what to do unsupervised.

But 8 hours of training will not be enough to allow the average person with no electrical/mechanical experience to be able to repair the register behind that counter, and 8 hours of training wouldn't be enough training for the average person who never worked with a soldering iron the skill to be able to assemble that register.

Skill level has nothing to do with how hard or tedious a job is physically. The order pullers and loading dock guys are working harder physically for a whole lot less money than the machinists at a company like Edelbrock (aftermarket "hot rod" parts manufacturer in the USA), but the machinists also have a skill that takes years to learn and are not easily replaced. The designers and engineers working at the company do even less physically for more money than the machinists, but they have years of education on top of the practical experience required to design the parts.

People with entry level jobs shouldn't necessarily be demeaned, but they also shouldn't be unnecessarily lauded. I worked plenty of crappy service and laborer type jobs when I was younger. The experience was worth it in the sense that I saw right away that I needed to get skilled in order to not end up like some of the 45 year old guys I was working with when I was 19. They weren't bad people by any means- but I wasn't going to work 70 hours a week at 2 jobs because my only marketable skill was either driving a car/van (not even a Class B/C CDL) or lifting and packing stuff.

It is a nice thought that everyone should be paid more, and I applaud people who speak with their wallets and not just their mouths- even though in reality I seldom see it. But at the same time people don't start companies to spend money- they start them to make it. The skilled labor rate in SC is $18-$30 an hour, just like the skilled labor rate in NYC and LA is $35-$50 an hour. If you adjust the cost of living- the rates are essentially the same.

Musikraft the guitar parts company is in NJ and they were paying essentially the same rate as Gretsch to be an entry level worker learning how to make necks and bodies. At most they were offering $15 an hour- but the only requirement was wanting to learn. It would be sad if $15 was the end of the road salary wise- but I have seen enough people squander even high paying jobs- that if I was running a business I would not be put in the position to lose all my time training someone at a high salary- just to have them quit over the silly reasons we have all seen even people we know personally do.
 


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