Update on Charlie Watts and his Gretsch's

Jazzhead

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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.
I think there is something really cool about a drum set that has been around, has been played, has scratches, dings and scuffs here and there and even faded wrap but it is structurally sound and sounds great, it has mojo. A brand spanking new kit or a well kept home queen doesn’t have the same character, just my opinion! It’d have turned me off if Charlie’s kit was pristine.
 
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John DeChristopher

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My guess is that was a tv appearance....that would explain the taped up cymbals.
That’s “Angie” from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1973. His Black Nitron SSB kit is still my favorite. The bass drum is from his ‘68 RB kit. It’s the little things… :)

Here’s the video…
 
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Jazzhead

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What would be the modern Gretsch USA Custom RB finish equivalnet to Charlie’s maple finish kit? Gretsch now has multiple natural color finishes available, the natural satin, natural maple gloss, millennium maple, etc.
Charlie’s seems to have a semi-gloss finish that has darkened over time!? it’s yellowish. Nice rich maple color.
 

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That’s “Angie” from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1973. His Black Nitron SSB kit is still my favorite. The bass drum is from his ‘68 RB kit. It’s the little things… :)

Here’s the video…
Hey John, I don’t think he has this black SSB kit anymore, right? In his interview with Chad Smith he doesn’t mention it. He does have his bdp Gretsch kit though.
 

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Hey John, I don’t think he has this black SSB kit anymore, right? In his interview with Chad Smith he doesn’t mention it. He does have his bdp Gretsch kit though.
Yes, he still has his ‘72 black SSB kit, and the bass drum from his ‘68 black RB kit, which was his first Gretsch kit. He tends to forget his SSB kit, but it’s my favorite. Probably 20 years ago I asked him about it, assuming he didn’t have it, but he told me it was in storage in the Stones’ warehouse. And then in 2016 it was on display on their traveling museum “Exhibitionism.”

My understanding is he gifted his ‘69 bdp RB kit to Keith’s son Marlon who gave them to someone else. That kit has a lot of mojo - Get Yer Ya Ya’s, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street were recorded with it. I think they know who has it so maybe he’ll get it back some day.

Here’s his ‘72 SSB from Exhibitionism in NYC in 2016. That’s his ‘68 RB bass drum in the shadow in the left of the frame. He used that bass drum with the SSB toms in ‘75 and ‘76, before getting his ‘57 natural maple RB kit in ‘78 which he’s been using ever since.

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carl1969

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Just wondering if Charlie's kit left the factory as a maple finish kit or do you think it was covered at one time and stripped/refinished when he purchased it. The floor tom seems to have two different pieces of wood going on, one seems to have faded a bit more. Just a thought.
 

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Just wondering if Charlie's kit left the factory as a maple finish kit or do you think it was covered at one time and stripped/refinished when he purchased it. The floor tom seems to have two different pieces of wood going on, one seems to have faded a bit more. Just a thought.
In his interview he says that the natural maple kit was a rental kit for a show or a recording he was doing in Los Angeles in the 70’s. He just liked it and kept it. I think it was born in natural maple finish.
 

John DeChristopher

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Just wondering if Charlie's kit left the factory as a maple finish kit or do you think it was covered at one time and stripped/refinished when he purchased it. The floor tom seems to have two different pieces of wood going on, one seems to have faded a bit more. Just a thought.
He bought it from SIR in 1978 and it was 20 years old then, and it definitely had been wrapped when it left the factory. I don’t think Gretsch offered a maple finish in the 50s?

If you see the kit up close you can see all the imperfections on the wood which would’ve been covered by the wrap. My 1970 SSB kit has the same aged look.

I’ll post the “Gearing Up” interview/article I did for MD. Stay tuned.
 

John DeChristopher

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Just wondering if Charlie's kit left the factory as a maple finish kit or do you think it was covered at one time and stripped/refinished when he purchased it. The floor tom seems to have two different pieces of wood going on, one seems to have faded a bit more. Just a thought.
In his interview he says that the natural maple kit was a rental kit for a show or a recording he was doing in Los Angeles in the 70’s. He just liked it and kept it. I think it was born in natural maple finish.
He bought it from SIR in 1978 when he was recording a Ronnie Wood solo record and it was 20 years old then, and it definitely had been wrapped when it left the factory. I don’t think Gretsch offered a maple finish in the 50s?

If you see the kit up close you can see all the imperfections on the wood which would’ve been covered by the wrap. My 1970 SSB kit has the same aged look.

Here's the “Gearing Up” interview/article I did for MD. It had more detail and a few more quotes from Charlie, but unfortunately it ended up on the cutting room floor at MD. I've posted this before, so apologies for the re-post...
CW Gearing Up 1.jpeg

CW Gearing Up.jpeg
 

carl1969

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He bought it from SIR in 1978 and it was 20 years old then, and it definitely had been wrapped when it left the factory. I don’t think Gretsch offered a maple finish in the 50s?

If you see the kit up close you can see all the imperfections on the wood which would’ve been covered by the wrap. My 1970 SSB kit has the same aged look.

I’ll post the “Gearing Up” interview/article I did for MD. Stay tuned.
Thanks, that's what I needed confirmed, I always thought so judging by the look of the finish on the FT. ( I'm debating on either leaving a tattered BDP wrap on a round badge orphan kit or just removing it and going for my Charlie set up ( I just acquired an 18" natural ufip also!))

( love the drum room videos, I've been watching prior to the youtube channel when you were doing them on FB live.)
 

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wflkurt

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I agree with you b
I see Charlie has a pair of Headhunters Dreamcatcher brushes . Headhunters is owned by a friend of mine named Dave Rundel . A good Canadian Company .

I am with you John D - his black stop sign badge is my favourite of all his kits as well .
I agree with you both. I like the black SSB set too. I'm not crazy about the metal bass drum hoops Gretsch used in the 70's but a beautiful black hoops with silver glass for inlay sounds pretty perfect to me. John, you have a beautiful SSB Black Nitron set. Probably the nicest I know of.
 

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Thanks, that's what I needed confirmed, I always thought so judging by the look of the finish on the FT. ( I'm debating on either leaving a tattered BDP wrap on a round badge orphan kit or just removing it and going for my Charlie set up ( I just acquired an 18" natural ufip also!))

( love the drum room videos, I've been watching prior to the youtube channel when you were doing them on FB live.)
Thanks, Carl. I appreciate you watching and the kind words.
 

John DeChristopher

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I agree with you b


I agree with you both. I like the black SSB set too. I'm not crazy about the metal bass drum hoops Gretsch used in the 70's but a beautiful black hoops with silver glass for inlay sounds pretty perfect to me. John, you have a beautiful SSB Black Nitron set. Probably the nicest I know of.
Thanks, Kurt. I love my black SSB kit so much. And I can honestly say after having the edges done, they sound as beautiful as they look. And as much as I liked having the metal bass drum hoops to keep it looking period correct, I did replace them with black wood hoops with silver inlay. The metal hoops have silver sparkle inlay ;)

BB48BD97-CE36-47E2-A512-90DDCA404946_1_105_c.jpeg
 


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