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Latest NSMD Article - Finishes on Round Badge Gretsch Drums

KCDrumDad

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Take a look at my latest article on the Not So Modern Drummer site. This one started as an answer to a DFO post asking about the relative popularity of certain finishes. https://www.drumforum.org/threads/what-finish-did-gretsch-make-more-of…midnite-blue-or-champagne.197196/#post-2303215 I used the data I have been collecting to support my serial number-based dating guide. I am already working on the complimentary articles for Stop Sign Badge Gretsches, and both Keystone and B/O badge Ludwigs.

EDIT - I submitted a few changes to NSMD to address the errors detailed in this thread. George Lawrence made those changes today 8/10/22). Therefore the flipping of red and green sparkle and the use of Wine Red instead of Red Wine Pearl have been corrected. Thanks to DFOers who pointed out those errors.

 
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JazzDrumGuy

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Great article.....thank you! I'm very excited about my rare red glass glitter Sparkle kit in 12 14 16 20 with snare. All of a sudden, my champagne kit isn't so special. I have a handful of WMP snares which to me are boring. I'd really like to find a WMP kit.

Did you make a distinction between sparkle versus glass? My champagne is sparkle but my red is definitely glass. I'm only asking because I have a 6.5x14 snare in red sparkle and my above red snare is actually a blue sparkle which I peeled off and flipped over to make red sparkle to match my kit!

Lastly, interesting note on the tangerine. I have a 70's stop sign badge Tangerine micro kit that was rewrapped with modern tangerine glass. However, I found a RB 4157 snare that was advertised as red but is definitely more orange and looks great with that kit.
 

Rich K.

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The sparkle colors list shows a lot of green which doesn't correspond with the graph. Assuming there's a typo there or I'm reading something incorrectly.
 

cinemadrummer2001

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A great article! Really interesting. I’m really surprised according to the data WMP seems to have been the most popular RB finish.
 

paulwells73

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Extremely interesting - thanks so much for your research!

Fascinating how rare Black Nitron actually was. I’ve seen two or three RB kits in black, although one of the was late 50s. And of course, Tony had a couple of Black Nitron kits between 1963 and 1966.

Also, am I correct in assuming that what respondents refer to as "wood" or "lacquer" should be considered the same thing? Likely an early version of either Walnut or Maple? Or, is it possible that they mean something else? I’m very curious how rare those early lacquer finishes are because I often see people with RB kits that look like a refinish who claim that they think the finish is original.
 

jmetatual

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The sparkle colors list shows a lot of green which doesn't correspond with the graph. Assuming there's a typo there or I'm reading something incorrectly.
I believe Rich is correct, looks like green and red are reversed in the list (green should be 46 and red 242). The text and the graph of green and red are in agreement (green 3% and red 12%).
 
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KCDrumDad

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The sparkle colors list shows a lot of green which doesn't correspond with the graph. Assuming there's a typo there or I'm reading something incorrectly.
Thanks for catching that. Red and Green are flipped in the table. The graph shows what the data showed.

I kept having to move the colors around so all of the small pie pieces were not together because the titles overlapped. This made me move their spots in the table around, too. Apparently I pulled the table off from one where I moved the colors but not the numbers.
 

JDA

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finally. (owned since 1975) I'm a 1% 'er

1966 RB rwp

Gretsch1.jpg RWPaug15 002.JPG NownThens 004.JPG

NownThens 004.JPG
 
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KCDrumDad

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Did you make a distinction between sparkle versus glass? My champagne is sparkle but my red is definitely glass. I'm only asking because I have a 6.5x14 snare in red sparkle and my above red snare is actually a blue sparkle which I peeled off and flipped over to make red sparkle to match my kit!

The Gretsch used the term Sparkle for both sparkles and glass glitters. There is a footnote which mentions this. Although Gretsch had some colors which were true sparkles (hexagonal pieces) in the 1950s and then glass glitters in the 1960s. I do not know when they crossed over or if they went back and forth for a while. Red, Blue, Silver, Burgundy, Tangerine and Green were all glass glitter during the time period studied. Anniversary is its own animal. Champagne was also unique, using multiple colors of metal pieces. They are all "Sparkle" wraps in Gretschland.

Remember that this article only addresses drums with serial numbers - from about 1962 on. I have not collected data for drums made before then. It would also be difficult to determine when those drums were actually made versus using the serial number as a surrogate for date.
 
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JazzDrumGuy

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Good point, I think mine's a Floor Show snare that's six ply, grey inside, but I believe no label. Original red sparkle, not glass. Unfortunately, it did not have hoops that were original. I ended up buying a new pair of Chrome steel stick Choppers.
I suppose I could put on a vintage pair of diecasts but it sounds great as is.
 

KCDrumDad

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Also, am I correct in assuming that what respondents refer to as "wood" or "lacquer" should be considered the same thing? Likely an early version of either Walnut or Maple? Or, is it possible that they mean something else? I’m very curious how rare those early lacquer finishes are because I often see people with RB kits that look like a refinish who claim that they think the finish is original.
If it had paint, I used the term lacquer. All DUCO finishes would have been included in the lacquer category. If it was unpainted wood, then I used the term wood. I threw out over 450 drums because they were rewrapped or stripped of their original finishes (usually wraps). Some of the wood finish drums could be stripped of wraps, had DUCO paint removed or started as wood finish. It can be difficult to tell from pictures on the internet. I did my best trying to weed out the altered drums, but some certainly could have slipped through. It is also possible that I threw out some original wood finished drums thinking that they were refinished in some way. Sorry, but fifty plus years later, it is difficult to know for sure how common the wood finish drums from the factory actually are. If people would have just left their drums as they were when they left the factory we would not have these problems. :)
 

JDA

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I Know it +/-
because I sent you the tag pics (they are on my other computer)
"..when I bought these drums they had one problem (I caused* two later on) ; the previous owner had dusted the interiors with day-glo orange ; the floor tom and the bass tags were readable along with the brass micro snare) Rich. thanks.
78654- 14"FT (late 66) 77719- 14X20BD (late 66) 84126- COB snare (early side of 67) All Rb
someday Hawthorne (he doesn't know it yet) is going to have a JDA (consignment? maybe [maybe not) sale.
not yet, yet.

P1140001.jpg
* I'm guilty of drilling for having a ludwig mount installed and for coming down a carpeted berklee step the 12 slipped out of my hand and caused a baby-break on bottom edge (yes it was in concert no bottom head mode) I quickly glued and haven't bothered with since.
(both events occurred in76.

next
 
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KCDrumDad

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A great article! Really interesting. I’m really surprised according to the data WMP seems to have been the most popular RB finish.
What did you think would be most popular?

One caution about these numbers is that the source of most of my information is the internet (ebay, Reverb, Craigslist, drum forums, etc...) Most drums seen on these internet sites are for sale. Drums that are being held by their owners and are not for sale are not plentiful unless their owners are talking about them on drum forums. Therefore the data is skewed a bit, I just do not know how much.
 

KCDrumDad

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From the preliminary work I have done on the 1970s and early 1980s Stop Sign badge drums, the finishes are very different. Wraps are way down and wood finishes are way up compared to the 1960s.
 
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drumtimejohn

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What did you think would be most popular?

One caution about these numbers is that the source of most of my information is the internet (ebay, Reverb, Craigslist, drum forums, etc...) Most drums seen on these internet sites are for sale. Drums that are being held by their owners and are not for sale are not plentiful unless their owners are talking about them on drum forums. Therefore the data is skewed a bit, I just do not know how much.
Thank you for taking the time to collect and share this data Rick. Do you have percentages from where each piece of data was sourced (x% eBay, x% DFO, etc)? What insights have you gathered as a result of this work?
 

KCDrumDad

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That is an interesting thing to look at. I will do it tomorrow and post it here.
 
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cinemadrummer2001

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What did you think would be most popular?

One caution about these numbers is that the source of most of my information is the internet (ebay, Reverb, Craigslist, drum forums, etc...) Most drums seen on these internet sites are for sale. Drums that are being held by their owners and are not for sale are not plentiful unless their owners are talking about them on drum forums. Therefore the data is skewed a bit, I just do not know how much.
I would have thought sky blue pearl or champagne sparkle.
 

paulwells73

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What did you think would be most popular?
I hope it’s ok if I answer this too, even if it wasn’t directed at me.

I’d have guessed Blue Sparkle - I feel like I see a ton of Blue Sparkle 60s drums, but that’s purely unscientific. For 50s Gretsch, it has to be Midnight Blue Pearl. If I was to guess for the 70s era, either Maple or Rosewood lacquer, with a fair bit of Black Nitron thrown in. Most popular 80s finish might be Rosewood or Walnut. Again, just a guess based on endless drooling over internet sales listings.
 

KCDrumDad

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more green than red sparkle? hmm..
more Gold than red sparkle? aw come on : hey what do I know : )
(I can't even recall a gold sparkle 60s RB
but stats are stats right Zen
Red and green sparkle were flipped on the table. I blame my proofreader (me),
 
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