Ludwig-Gretsch, Apples-Oranges

MBB

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When I (and many here) were growing up the big U.S. drum companies were Ludwig, Gretsch, Rogers and Slingerland. I have always played Ludwig (Ringo effect, plus cost - luds always were less expensive than Gretsch/Rogers, and I never warmed up to Slingerland). I did have a dw set for a few years but grew tired of it. Honestly not sure why because they sounded fine and were quite pretty. I find I am now craving the tone of a Gretsch (gum inner ply like the Jasper shells), hence my apple-orange title. If I decide to go that route I will go simple again 22,13,16 shells. My snare is a '59-60 trans badge COB Supra that I love so there will always be a luddie component to my setup. My only quandary aside from a finish is bd depth. My Legacy kit is 16 deep but I may go 14 for more boom. Anyone have experience with USA custom shells and can give me a sense if there is a noticeable difference between the two depths with that particular shell layup?
 

John DeChristopher

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14" is the optimum depth for Gretsch bass drums. I have seven vintage Gretsch kits from the 60s and 70s; six are 14x22 and one is 14x20 and they are fabulous sounding bass drums. It sounds and feels great to play. You don't need anything deeper.

When I was coming up in the 70s, the US companies went in the order of Ludwig, Slingerland, Rogers... and Gretsch was a distant fourth. It's really something that they (Gretsch) not only survived the 80s and 90s, but they're thriving today.
 
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charlesm

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You'll probably find that the Gretsch will have a more open, louder tone and sharper attack while still retaining good lows. The Lud should be more focused around low-mids, less bright, and more round in attack.
 

hsosdrum

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I owned a USA Custom kit with 14x22s that was manufactured in 1984 and the BDs were great; a perfect sonic compliment to the toms (also 'traditional' depth). Personally I don't think increasing BD depth makes sense without a commensurate increase in diameter. The smallest BD that I think works in 16" depth is 26" diameter. Anything smaller is best at 14" depth. (20" and 18" diameter also work well at 12" depth.)
 

Deafmoon

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I have owned and played Gretsch: 22x14 and 20x16. I love the 14” depth it’s just faster and easier to get a great sound from. The 16” depth on my 20 bd is fine too, but not as fast to reach tone as the 14”. I would go 14” depth on bass drums.
 

JDA

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Premier and Sonor and Hayman were seen used by bands (in the magazines) (early 70s late 60s) at that time too.
creem, rolling stone, downbeat, melody maker.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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To this day the best sounding bass drums I have ever owned or played have been Gretsch maple/gum bass drums . The Sonor Vintage series is a close runner up . Gretsch USA Custom toms have a such a huge tuning range and don’t choke when tuned to higher pitches like a lot of their competitors toms .
 


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