Update on Charlie Watts and his Gretsch's

b/o 402

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Johnny D said:
Great thread and some nice pics of Charlie! Looks like the Vintage Venue is where all the action is! :)

For anyone interested, here's my blog on my visit with Charlie when the Stones came through Boston in June, as well as knowing him during my 24 years at Zildjian... http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/after-50-years-the-stones-are-still-rolling/
Needless to say, he's made a huge impact on my life as both a drumming hero and dear friend... I love him.

Here's some more reading about Charlie http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-sunshine-bores-the-daylights-outta-me/

Better yet, check out my entire blog! :) http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com
Wow, John! You've had quite a career! I loved your blog!
I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to put an excerpt from it re your interaction with Ringo over on the Ringo thread:
"In July 1995, I had the honor of meeting Ringo for the first time and it was an experience I will never forget. He was very warm and gracious and really funny! ... We then went up on stage behind his drums and showed me his cymbals. At that time, he was using two old A. Zildjians (I believe 20″s) on his left and right and some old 14″ A. Zildjian hi-hats. He said, “These two cymbals are from the mid 1960s and the hi-hats are from 1960.” I said, “So these hi-hats were used on-” and Ringo said, “They were used on all the records.” It’s widely believed that Ringo played 15″ hi-hats on at least the first Beatles record, but these hi-hats were definitely 14″s and he said they’d been used on all the Beatles records, so again, who was I to argue with a Beatle!"
 

Johnny D

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b/o 402 said:
Great thread and some nice pics of Charlie! Looks like the Vintage Venue is where all the action is! :)

For anyone interested, here's my blog on my visit with Charlie when the Stones came through Boston in June, as well as knowing him during my 24 years at Zildjian... http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/after-50-years-the-stones-are-still-rolling/
Needless to say, he's made a huge impact on my life as both a drumming hero and dear friend... I love him.

Here's some more reading about Charlie http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-sunshine-bores-the-daylights-outta-me/

Better yet, check out my entire blog! :) http://johndechristopher.wordpress.com
Wow, John! You've had quite a career! I loved your blog!
I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to put an excerpt from it re your interaction with Ringo over on the Ringo thread:
"In July 1995, I had the honor of meeting Ringo for the first time and it was an experience I will never forget. He was very warm and gracious and really funny! ... We then went up on stage behind his drums and showed me his cymbals. At that time, he was using two old A. Zildjians (I believe 20″s) on his left and right and some old 14″ A. Zildjian hi-hats. He said, “These two cymbals are from the mid 1960s and the hi-hats are from 1960.” I said, “So these hi-hats were used on-” and Ringo said, “They were used on all the records.” It’s widely believed that Ringo played 15″ hi-hats on at least the first Beatles record, but these hi-hats were definitely 14″s and he said they’d been used on all the Beatles records, so again, who was I to argue with a Beatle!"
Thanks for checking out my blog and for the kind words... Glad you enjoyed it and sure; feel free to post any excerpts you feel relevant.

AtlantaDrumGuy said:
Cool blog Johnny! Yep, the vintage section is where it's at!
Thanks AtlantaDrumGuy! Yes indeed - I'll be sure to visit here often. It's great to see so many knowledgable people here... very informative!
 

mlvbs

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Great thread!

I'm curious about the year of Charlie's kit (and this is admittedly geeky) - I always see it described as a '57, or occasionally a '56 or '58. Yet all of the hardware is '60s. Not even early '60s, but mid '60s. And in that one pic you can see a paper tag in the bass drum, which didn't start until around '62.

Maybe the toms are earlier, and had the hardware replaced? Or maybe calling it '57 just sounds more romantic (which I'd have to agree with)? But it's strange that, somewhere along the way, it started being known as a '50s kit, when everything about it says '60s.
 

Cauldronics

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I never thought I'd see closeup pics and descriptions of a Rock Deity's drum kit! Amazing that Charlie has been playing pretty much the same kit all this time.

Thank you very much for sharing a behind the scenes, hands on look at not just Charlie's gear, but sacred rock n roll artifacts - the Stones included in that!

My favorite part is that Keith was using Charlie Watts guitar picks because he felt it kept him locked with Charlie. Amazing!

Now I want to find a crash of doom!

About to fire up my Stones collection!!
 

Carlos McSnurf

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It's hard not to play Get Yer Ya Yas Out right now! ;)
Johnny, what a great opportunity you had! So many names, so many stories!
Your blog page added to favorites! :)
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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mlvbs said:
Great thread!

I'm curious about the year of Charlie's kit (and this is admittedly geeky) - I always see it described as a '57, or occasionally a '56 or '58. Yet all of the hardware is '60s. Not even early '60s, but mid '60s. And in that one pic you can see a paper tag in the bass drum, which didn't start until around '62.

Maybe the toms are earlier, and had the hardware replaced? Or maybe calling it '57 just sounds more romantic (which I'd have to agree with)? But it's strange that, somewhere along the way, it started being known as a '50s kit, when everything about it says '60s.
I'm interested as well. Seems like it's always a mystery if it's really a 3 ply or 6 ply.
 

Johnny D

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snurf said:
It's hard not to play Get Yer Ya Yas Out right now! ;)
Johnny, what a great opportunity you had! So many names, so many stories!
Your blog page added to favorites! :)
Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it! I'll be posting another blog soon, so stay tuned! :)

AtlantaDrumGuy said:
Great thread!

I'm curious about the year of Charlie's kit (and this is admittedly geeky) - I always see it described as a '57, or occasionally a '56 or '58. Yet all of the hardware is '60s. Not even early '60s, but mid '60s. And in that one pic you can see a paper tag in the bass drum, which didn't start until around '62.

Maybe the toms are earlier, and had the hardware replaced? Or maybe calling it '57 just sounds more romantic (which I'd have to agree with)? But it's strange that, somewhere along the way, it started being known as a '50s kit, when everything about it says '60s.
I'm interested as well. Seems like it's always a mystery if it's really a 3 ply or 6 ply.
I referred to Charlie's kit as being from '56 based on him telling me that. I want to say he mentioned it in conversation when I saw him in June. He bought it used in the mid/late '70s, so it's possible it's newer than '56 or parts of the kit are - maybe early 60s? Prior to that kit, he used two different black Gretsch stop sign badge kits ('72 & '75 US tours/'73 & '76 Euro tours). And there's also the round badge Gretsch kit he used on the '69 tour i.e. Get Yer Ya Yas Out. I'm partial to that era because of all the classic records they made during that period and the sound of his drums on those records.
The hardware is definitely newer - the late great Ian Stewart bought some Rogers Swiv-o-matic hardware (cymbal stands and hi-hat stands) from me in 1981 when I worked at EU Wurlitzer in Boston.
Sorry I can't shed any further light on the mystery... but I can tell you, he loves that his drums are old ;)
Btw, Charlie's tech, Don McAulay, is a member here (and a great guy), so perhaps he can shed some more light on this topic!
 

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Cauldronics said:
I never thought I'd see closeup pics and descriptions of a Rock Deity's drum kit! Amazing that Charlie has been playing pretty much the same kit all this time.

Thank you very much for sharing a behind the scenes, hands on look at not just Charlie's gear, but sacred rock n roll artifacts - the Stones included in that!

My favorite part is that Keith was using Charlie Watts guitar picks because he felt it kept him locked with Charlie. Amazing!

Now I want to find a crash of doom!

About to fire up my Stones collection!!
That's what it's all about.. The music.. All things Charlie here.. Love it.. More to come....
 

Jim Hodgson

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Awesome thread! Thanks for the incredible pics. :thumbup:

Have to tell everyone this, though. I was just doing a really careful examination of the RB pics in light of Bill's post above. My GF looked over and said, "no more project drums ... those look like crap!" :icon_e_surprised: She thought I was on CL. LMAO! :icon_mrgreen:
 

wflkurt

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A CL fixer-upper set! that's too funny! I remember going all ape just seeing Hal Blaine's blue sparkle early 60's Ludwig kit on display at the Big E fair and as I was lost in a daze of bewilderment, my wife says: What's the big deal? We have drums like that in the basement, just not that color! Great.. now he's going to want a BLUE set!... I could'nt make her understand.

John, it's great to see you on here sharing your info and stories. I met ypou once at the Manchester NH drum show as I had a Ludwig history display and you came through. Hearing all the great stories about Ringo and Charlie is priceless. Thanks again!
 

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wflkurt said:
A CL fixer-upper set! that's too funny! I remember going all ape just seeing Hal Blaine's blue sparkle early 60's Ludwig kit on display at the Big E fair and as I was lost in a daze of bewilderment, my wife says: What's the big deal? We have drums like that in the basement, just not that color! Great.. now he's going to want a BLUE set!... I could'nt make her understand.

John, it's great to see you on here sharing your info and stories. I met ypou once at the Manchester NH drum show as I had a Ludwig history display and you came through. Hearing all the great stories about Ringo and Charlie is priceless. Thanks again!
Thanks for reading my blog and for the kind words. Yes, I remember the NH drum show. What I remember most about that show, besides all the great artist clinics and vintage gear, was my old pal Joe Montineri trying to sell me a Gretsch kit I was checking out in his booth. I had two kids in college at the time, but Joe was persistent! :) Anyway, It's a pleasure to re-connect with you here.
 

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Johnny D said:
A CL fixer-upper set! that's too funny! I remember going all ape just seeing Hal Blaine's blue sparkle early 60's Ludwig kit on display at the Big E fair and as I was lost in a daze of bewilderment, my wife says: What's the big deal? We have drums like that in the basement, just not that color! Great.. now he's going to want a BLUE set!... I could'nt make her understand.

John, it's great to see you on here sharing your info and stories. I met ypou once at the Manchester NH drum show as I had a Ludwig history display and you came through. Hearing all the great stories about Ringo and Charlie is priceless. Thanks again!
Thanks for reading my blog and for the kind words. Yes, I remember the NH drum show. What I remember most about that show, besides all the great artist clinics and vintage gear, was my old pal Joe Montineri trying to sell me a Gretsch kit I was checking out in his booth. I had two kids in college at the time, but Joe was persistent! :) Anyway, It's a pleasure to re-connect with you here.
Joe makes some nice stuff. I think he made that big 26" bass drum that David Stefanelli uses all around NH. Will be reading the blogs for sure. I also follow some of your stuff on facebook too. Thanks!
 

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dontfeartheringo said:
Got my leather stick bag from Glenn today. It's top notch. I'll post photos once I've loaded it with sticks and mallets. Super nice, though!
I received mine yesterday, it's absolutely perfect craftsmanship! I'm not surprised that Charlie's bag is still "working" since 40 years.
image.jpg
 

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donnbennett said:
When Charlie visited my shop last time the Stones were in Seattle his tech called me in advance and asked if I had any Speed King pedals. I had 5 or 6 in stock and had them out when they arrived. Charlie tried them all with his foot and found 3 that he liked. Later in the visit one of our teachers asked him if he'd ever tried re-packing the grease in the springs since they will tend to get stiff over time. Charlie was unaware you could do this and asked how it was done. The teacher said "you just loosen those 2 screws on the bottom where you adjust them..." Charlie stopped him and asked "you can adjust them?" He'd been playing a Speed King for over 40 years and never knew you could adjust the tension. He would just find old pedals set up the way he liked. My already massive admiration for him quadrupled in that moment.
I'm always a bit amazed when I hear about great players who don't seem to know a lot about their instruments. On the other hand, Charley was probably on the bandstand while I was reading drum magazines and fooling with my gear.
 

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Wow. Thank you so much for these photos and the info. All these years I've wondered what his cymbals were.

My "WTF is that?!" Cymbal is a Crash O Doom; i get asked about it a lot. Now Charlie and I play the same "WTF" cymbal! Too cool!
 

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dontfeartheringo said:
I've ordered a stick bag from Glenn. I asked him if he still made the blonde bags and he said that the blonde bag started life as light brown and sun, use, time weathered it into that blonde color. He put his stick bag next to a bunch of new ones and sent me a photo, which I will now share with you:

sb1.jpg


sb2.jpg


So, Charlie's bag (and Glenn's personal one, btw) started life as the lighter brown of the four new bags there. It aged into that butterscotch color over 30+ years.

I very, very nearly ordered that bag, but decided to go with the darker chocolate brown bag instead.

I'll post photos when it gets here!
My Reunion Blues bag is from 77 - 8. It's ready for retirement, and now I'm glad to know where the REAL DEAL can be had.
 


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