Update on Charlie Watts and his Gretsch's

KINGTRIXON

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I got a chance to go and hang with Charlie Watts and the Stones on Tuesday night. Got to soundcheck early and found a very sober Keith Richards standing around, so I got a nice conversation in with him. Charlie was incredibly kind and welcoming, and got a chance to take some really good pictures of his Gretsch kit...Spent an inordinate amount of time handling Charlie's no.#1 ride cymbal. It is a nearly totally flat 70's UFIP "Golden-Cup" 18" flat ride cymbal. This ride has been every Stones concert, and/or recording session since 1976. Unfortunately, there is now a tiny, nearly microscopic hairline crack right near the center hole. The search is now on for a replacement....
 

rikkrebs

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WOW!

You know, if Charlie's cymbal is cracked I wlll gladly trade him any of my rides for it. Come to think of it he can have ALL my rides for it.
 

MrDrums2112

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Great pics! Wow, that kit really shows some wear and tear, but oh the stories it could tell! Charlie really is the heart and soul of the Stones' sound. Great stuff.
 

tommykat1

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Well now how freakin' cool is THAT!!! Love seeing the big stars playing their own vintage drums. This is very special. Thanks for posting!
 

red66charger

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NO FREAKIN' WAY! I don't know which is cooler...talking with Keef, hanging with Charlie or taking up close photos of Charlie's living museum pieces gear! Thanks so much for sharing, I love seeing stuff like this.

That stick bag looks like it's been around a while and the head on the natural finish snare looks well worn as well. Evidently Charlie doesn't re-head his drums frequently. With all the new-fangled pedals out there, he's still rocking the Speed King. So cool seeing these pics.
 

Fayray

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great photos! That is one very cool kit and an amazing piece of rock history, as is the guy who sits behind them
 

K.O.

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Amazing!
I would never have guessed that set would show that much wear but it adds an extra level of coolness to them.Here's a guy who could be playing any drums in the world by just asking for them and he chooses those.

If Gretsch wanted to do a tribute set it would need to be "relic-ed" like those new-old Fender guitars.
 

Stone Wilcoxon

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That stick bag is exactly like mine...except I still have the top strap handle, and the hanger thongs. Yes, I said "thongs". Great bag, I've had mine since about 1978. Ms. Perc, which eventually became Reunion Blues.
 

DolFan54

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Awesome! I too never realized just how worn that Gretsch kit is. Even in the movie Shine A Light the wear doesn't show like it does in your pics, very cool!
 

KINGTRIXON

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Charlie and his crew could not have been kinder and more welcoming! Here are some more pix. The picture of me standing next to a Gretsch bass drum, is the back-up kick for Charlie. I, with the help of a man named Ward Wilson, formerly of Atlanta Pro Percussion, bought and refinished this drum in 1989. It has been Charlie's drum at every single Stones concert, since then. It has also been used as a alternate drum for recordings, and it shows up in videos where Charlie is playing just a kick and a snare in the early 1990's.

I brought some books for Charlie to check out, and I gave him Harry's Leedy book, and Rob's WFL Jr.s book.
 

GiantBeater

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WOW! No kidding, when it rains, it pours. Thank you much for reporting back to us and for these huge up close shots. Did you happen to get any information or pics of his Hats, particularly the stamps? Or the other Ufip china? Really interesting about the flat ride.. would love to find one myself ha ha.

B
 

KINGTRIXON

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The hihats are vintage 70's NEW BEATS 14". Charlie actually cracked a top 14" hi-hat a few years ago, so this set that he is using now, is a "newer" replacement pair. The UFIP China over by the floor tom is a standard China, while the 18" UFIP China over by the hi-hats, is a " China-crash" cymbal. I was able to coordinate a limited UFIP endorsement in 1994 for Charlie, where he wouldn't have to officially endorse UFIP cymbals, or have to provide any kind of advertising. In 1994, when Charlie received his first 60+ cymbal shipment from UFIP, I was given a few UFIP China-crash's for my efforts. I still have them.

A most noteable addition to Charlie's current set-up, is a Zildjian 20" Crash of Doom cymbal, just above his hi-hats. This is the only cymbal in his set-up that is held up with a current DW 9000 series cymbal stand. All the other cymbal stands are vintage Gretsch CR series "Techware" straight stands. Great care is taken in the handling of these stands, but over the years, these Gretsch stands have been used and abused, and are now showing their age.
 

KINGTRIXON

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The hihats are vintage 70's NEW BEATS 14". Charlie actually cracked a top 14" hi-hat a few years ago, so this set that he is using now, is a "newer" replacement pair. The UFIP China over by the floor tom is a standard China, while the 18" UFIP China over by the hi-hats, is a " China-crash" cymbal. I was able to coordinate a limited UFIP endorsement in 1994 for Charlie, where he wouldn't have to officially endorse UFIP cymbals, or have to provide any kind of advertising. In 1994, when Charlie received his first 60+ cymbal shipment from UFIP, I was given a few UFIP China-crash's for my efforts. I still have them.

A most noteable addition to Charlie's current set-up, is a Zildjian 20" Crash of Doom cymbal, just above his hi-hats. This is the only cymbal in his set-up that is held up with a current DW 9000 series cymbal stand. All the other cymbal stands are vintage Gretsch CR series "Techware" straight stands. Great care is taken in the handling of these stands, but over the years, these Gretsch stands have been used and abused, and are now showing their age.
 
D

dmacc

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Wow... Just wow....

You, sir, along with many other of the front line players and techies, etc in this forum are awe inspiring to me.

I feel like if we were in a crowd, I'd be afraid to speak with any of you and wouldn't know what to say first. I'd be weak in the knees. Like being a little kid again looking up at my heros. Something almost in a make believe world.

Thank you for sharing.....
 

kip

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Looks lime Charlie finally changed his bass batter head. Didn't he have the sam blue Evans Hydaulic on there for over a decade
 


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