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New NSMD Article - Stop Sign Badge Era Gretsch Finishes

KCDrumDad

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Here is a companion study to the one from last month on Gretsch Round Badge Finishes. NSMD has not officially come out yet, but my article is already available on the website. https://www.notsomoderndrummer.com/...981-stop-sign-and-first-version-square-badges

Discussion on last month's article - https://www.drumforum.org/threads/latest-nsmd-article-finishes-on-round-badge-gretsch-drums.199698/

Thanks to two DFO members - Rich K and jmetatual for taking a look at a draft of the article. I made several changes after they saw it, so any mistakes are mine, not theirs.
 

kb

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I guess Antique Maple is listed under "unknown" or "undetermined."

I bought new Antique Maple 12/13/14/16/22 in 1978 from Don Weir's Music City in San Francisco. At that time they also had a 12/14/18 kit on the floor, I think I took the 14 floor tom from that set. I later saw a 12/14/20 kit in the same finish, also in the Bay Area. I've seen a few since then too.

Around '82 I special ordered a 20 bass in the same finish. They first suggested I send in one of my drums so they could match it, then said that wouldn't be necessary. It came in substantially different from my original drums, not nearly as well done. I ordered it without mounts or spurs. They included a loose badge, said they didn't want to install it as they didn't know where I'd put the mount...

It's a very pretty finish, darker than regular Maple, with a slight golden tinge. It does seem to be available again, but it's not the same.

On another topic, nobody ever talks about the short time in the '80's when Gretsch used a 45 degree inside bearing edge. I've seen a few of these, including my 20 mentioned above. There was an article in Modern Drummer about Gretsch around then. The Gretsch guy said "we're basically getting the head to tune on the outer ply"
 

KCDrumDad

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I grouped Antique Maple with the other Maple finishes.
 

paulwells73

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Fantastic work as always, Rick - thanks so much for this! I'm not surprised to see that Black Nitron is the most common wrap of this era, followed by White Nitron.

It's also interesting to note the large number of Walnut drums. Maybe some of these were actually Antique Maple, but mis-represented as Walnut? Also, (and I know this is anecdotal) I feel like at least half of the Drop-G badge drums I've seen were Walnut - it seems to have been a very popular finish in 1979-81. Maybe that contributed to a lot of the Walnut population?

Do you plan to do the Square Badge era as well? Or is that too broad? If you do, I need to make sure to send my Square Badge drum info.
 

KCDrumDad

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Thanks for the kind words.

My next effort will be Keystone badge Ludwigs - 1960-1969, then B/O badges. I do not think I have enough data to accurately reflect the Gretsch Square badge era.
 

KCDrumDad

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There are 24 drums with reported Antique Maple finish. As noted in the article, poor pictures, poor descriptions and fading could lead to misidentification of finish. I did my best to record accurate information.

I am curious why Antique Maple is brought up by two posters. Is this a color that people expect to see more often?
 

dingaling

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No wonder burnt orange drums never come up for sale. They never made many! (1%)
 

K.O.

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No wonder burnt orange drums never come up for sale. They never made many! (1%)
If I remember right Burnt Orange wasn't cataloged until the early 80s "poster" catalog. I believe it was available a bit before that but very few would have been made with original stop sign badges. Almost all production would fall under the "square badge" era or later. It seems a popular color (my favorite Gretsch finish) and I would think they sold a lot of them. But I can attest that used examples seem hard to find, having been hunting add-on BO drums for over 30 years. My guess is that the folks that have them tend to keep them....I know I'm keeping mine.
 

KCDrumDad

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No wonder burnt orange drums never come up for sale. They never made many! (1%)
Remember that the data used for this study is generally made up of information from for sale listings. It does not necessarily mean that not many were made, just that I have not recorded many being offered for sale during the time that I have been gathering information (since 2006).
 

kb

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There are 24 drums with reported Antique Maple finish. As noted in the article, poor pictures, poor descriptions and fading could lead to misidentification of finish. I did my best to record accurate information.

I am curious why Antique Maple is brought up by two posters. Is this a color that people expect to see more often?
Well, to lump Antique Maple in with regular Maple is like putting Burnt Orange in with Rosewood.

I don't think people expect to see Antique Maple often, it does seem to be a very rare finish. But I do think it should be at least mentioned, not treated as if it never existed.

I understand now that your study is based on your examination of For Sale items, and so may not reflect actual drums built.

That's why I'm bringing this up, so your readers at least know that it was a real finish, with at least a few documented examples.
 

KCDrumDad

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Why don't you write an article about your set for NSMD? Take some nice pictures and tell its story.

EDIT - PS: I do not have details about your set in my database. Would you be kind enough to share serial numbers and other information with me to help future research and writing efforts?
 
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kb

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Why don't you write an article about your set for NSMD? Take some nice pictures and tell its story.
Good point! I guess Antique Maple is even rarer than I thought, so maybe some folks would be interested to see it.

Sometime in the next few months I'm going to pull them out of the closet and refurb them. I'll get my son over to take some pics.
 

wflkurt

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Thanks for the kind words.

My next effort will be Keystone badge Ludwigs - 1960-1969, then B/O badges. I do not think I have enough data to accurately reflect the Gretsch Square badge era.


This sounds like a great article too. I have always wondered how Ludwig (and I suppose any other company) decided on how much wrap to order and how many drums to make in a particular finish. I can't speak for any other company than Ludwig but from what I have figured from at least the mid 70's back is that shells were premade in the colors. There are pictures from various years of of endorsers (I have a pic somewhere of Ray Baduc in the 30's with the shells) to pics of WFL I and II with undrilled shells in the background. From what I understand, the reason for the black panther cover over citrus mod was due to the fact that shells in citrus mod were made up and somewhere in 1970, it was determined that citrus mod was not a big seller and shells would be covered over to get them out the door.

I would love to know how they decided how much wrap to get and when it was time to say goodbye to a wrap. Obviously certain colors like WMP or Silver Sparkle were guaranteed sellers but what about colors like Green Sparkle, Burgundy sparkle or psychedelic red? psychedelic Red actually lasted into the six ply era, though with a different look. I wonder how much wrap they would decide to order and how they decided on any given day what color drums to make? Did stores report back to companies and tell them what colors were popular? Obviously bands like the Beatles had an influence on colors like Oyster Black. I'm just fascinated with the production side of things and this has always made me wonder. I'm sure there are a lot of people that aren't super picky about color and would rather buy straight from the sales floor rather than wait for a custom order.

I mean current Ludwig does this with the quick pick sets as they know certain colors will sell so rather than get bogged down by orders for certain finishes, they make up a bunch of random sets in popular sizes and colors so that people that don't want to wait can get a set almost instantly. I'm sure it's easier to get wrap nowadays as well as shipping is faster and the internet makes it easy to order. If Ludwig ran low on a color like burgundy sparkle and they needed to quickly get more, I wonder how long it would take? I also wonder what the guys at Ludwig and the dealers/customers thought when a wrap like Oyster Black/Blue changed around 1969? I met a guy years ago when I first started gigging out that was playing an Oyster Blue set. He had a 22" bass drum with a matching jazzfest in original 60's Oyster Blue. I guess he got the set in two pieces when he started out and a year or two later added the 13 and 16. The 13 and 16 were added in mid 1969 and the wrap was the bowling ball version. This guy was still a kid when he got the pieces but was understandably bummed out that they never matched. He kept them though and played the set that way. Just made me wonder if Ludwig was caught off guard by the new versions of Oyster Black and Blue or were they made aware of changes before hand? All questions I will probably never know the answers to.
 

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KCDrumDad

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Kurt, I don't have a lot of answers for you. I do not have inside information from people who worked there making drums in the 1960s and 1970s. My approach has usually involves gathering data from drums themselves and sharing observations about that data. I have only gone beyond the drums themselves a few times - one article about the oft-repeated claim that serial numbers were required by US Federal law and one where I communicated with Reliable Plating Corp in Chicago about Anti-Galvanic markings in Ludaloy shells. Rob Cook also shared a Gretsch internal memo about changing the style of paper label used inside their drums in 1983.
 

1988fxlr

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Thanks for the kind words.

My next effort will be Keystone badge Ludwigs - 1960-1969, then B/O badges. I do not think I have enough data to accurately reflect the Gretsch Square badge era.
Are you only tracking sold items or do want serial numbers and info from personal kits for the Ludwig project?
 

KCDrumDad

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Are you only tracking sold items or do want serial numbers and info from personal kits for the Ludwig project?
I love to get information from personal kits. I have received a lot of information from forum members over the years. You can just message me with info or go to my website (www.GretschDrumDatingGuide.com), download the information sheet from the "Report Your Drums" section and email it to me. I try to make it as easy as possible for people to contribute. I gather information from a lot of sources, but the majority of information has been from for sale listings on eBay, Reverb and a few online resources.
 


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