When Steve Maxwell Says It’s the Best Gretsch He’s Ever Played…

musiqman

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YT Comments- that floor tom on the Santa Monica's- It's human to err..
Steve missed the boat on this movie for sure, comparing two sets that aren’t even ment to look/sound/vibe/be build like each other from the start.

And reading the comments,it mis-informs a lot of people By being online as it is.

Bellbrass said it best:
I was the lucky recipient of the first Santa Monica kit made available to the public. There are a few things to note: 1) The Santa Monica line is not, nor was it ever, intended to re-create the sound of Oaklawn / Chanute Camcos. They are an attempt to re-create the sound of LA Camcos. Modern shell construction will always result in stiffer shells than most vintage shells, hence the "harder" sound, compared to vintage. 2) Mid-60s-onward Oaklawn & later Chanute shells were maple and gum, with a different bearing edge profile than the LA Camcos. The LA shells were all maple and had a sharper edge. A side-by-side with later LA-era Camcos, or even some of the very first Drum Workshop kits, would be a more accurate comparison. 3) The closest modern drums to the sound of Oaklawn Camcos are probably Ludwig Legacy Maples, especially since they are undersized, and the Oaklawn / Chanute shells were very undersized. The undersized shell and the bearing edge are key parts to the Oaklawn Camco sound. I believe the LA-era shells were also undersized. The Santa Monica kits sound fantastic, but they aren't the soft, vintage kit sound. And yes, the tunings in this video are not the same. Steve is a jazzer, and all of his demos seem to be with the toms tuned way up high, which doesn't always give the best indication of shell sound. I think the Santa Monicas sound great; but they are different than Camco Oaklawns, for sure. In fact, at jazz tunings, I like the Santa Monicas better than Camcos.
 
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multijd

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Steve isn’t just for the big spenders. I bought a Leedy and Ludwig snare from him last year and I was thoroughly satisfied from my phone conversations to delivery. I don’t often go looking for vintage gear. What I have has “fallen in my lap” over the years. But I had a strong desire for a 6.5x14 wood shell snare. I looked at new and used online at stores, auction sites and here. There were some nice choices. I went with Steve because he had the drum I wanted and I new he was reliable. Although I had budgeted for the drum my funds were limited And frankly after the many horror stories Ive read here about sales gone south or fed ex crushing some classic drum I wanted as much of a sure thing as possible. (Good excuse for the old brick and mortar shops as I can think of!) Anyway Steve produced. Fair price, great drum, great service.
 

bellbrass

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Steve missed the boat on this movie for sure, comparing two sets that aren’t even ment to look/sound/vibe/be build like each other from the start.

And reading the comments,it mis-informs a lot of people By being online as it is.
Yep; I pointed out in the comments that the DW Santa Monica drums were meant to recreate the LA Camco sound, not the Oaklawn / Chanute sound.
 

musiqman

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I wanted to add your quote, but the mobile version didn't let me.

He has a tremendous knowledge regarding drums, but not the full knowledge of what his reputation can do to uniformed people. Leaving such vital information out results in what happens here (and in general on the www)
 

Johnny D

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Does Steve actually work at a store? I figured he just made videos.
He personally waited on me in the NYC store last Thursday. He put a VickKick Beater on the aforementioned Gretsch kit for me to try and I bought it. The VF beater that is! :D

I can’t say enough about Steve, Jess, Eddie and the guys in the NYC store. Great guys and always very fair. Steve helped me acquire my Gretsch Gold Plated snare last spring, so I’ll always be appreciative.
 

robthedrummer

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Like others here, I have nothing but good things to say about items I've purchased from Steve, Steve himself, or his staff that I've dealt with. All first rate.

Yes, he charges top dollar for his better items. It's a business with stores in Manhattan, outside of Chicago, and now Nashville (Fork's). Rent and salaries for qualified people need to be paid. If you want Guitar Center level gear and Guitar Center type people answering your questions, just go to Guitar Center.
 

bellbrass

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So safe to say Oaklawn sound better than LA? :)
Boy, that's a big debate there. I think most of the true Camco guys, I mean the ones who know the details even better than I do and own several kits, are divided into 2 camps: The LA / Keller camp and the Oaklawn / Chanute / Jasper / 6-ply camp. They have happily debated this for years. Some even say that, because Camco used the same shell dimensions and ply thicknesses throughout their existence (once they took over from George Way), there really isn't that much difference in sound. Those are the minority, though. I prefer the Jasper / Oaklawn 6-ply sound. But I'd love to own a set of the LA, just because they are supposed to sound incredible in their own right.
 

musiqman

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We could even go back further to George Way

Geo Way/Camco Shells Timeline:
Geo Way 1957-1960 3-ply Jasper.
Geo Way 1961 4-ply Jasper.
Camco Oaklawn era 1961-mid 60s 4-ply Jasper.
Camco Oaklawn mid 1960s-1971 6-ply Jasper.
Camco Chanute era 1971-73 6-ply
Jasper. Camco L.A. era 1973-77 6-ply Keller maple.
And to add:
DW Drums 1977 - Somewhere early 80's 6 -ply Keller maple (Camco leftover hardware + Tama hardware, and possible shells, ''A Quality Instrument Black/Chrome badge).
DW Drums Somewhere early 80's - 1993/1994 Custom ordered Keller maple (''A Quality Instrument Black/Chrome badge).
DW Drums 1993/1994 - 1998/early 1999 Custom ordered Keller maple (and two badge designs. Black/Brass and later Black/Chrome).
DW Drums 1998/early 1999 - .... In house 6+6 maple (Black/Chrome badge).
DW Drums ..... - Now Cross lamintated & different wood species shells.
 
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Formula 602

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I had both a 12 and a 14 floor in that finish - 3 ply. Found them both on ebay as orphans years ago.

While it's far easier to find the larger sizes in 3ply, I'm not so sure the "jazz" sizes are any more rare then they are in the 6ply drums.
They are!..VERY hard to find....Think I had only two 3 ply 14-14 floor toms in over 30 years of collecting...and one..you could not get a head on..I tried 3-4 different heads...
 

Formula 602

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I had at one time a 3 ply 18" BD. I sold it to a guy who brokered it to Japan. It really was a magical drum, no doubt.
I had one too..Found it just blindly calling music stores one night...20-25 years ago....had a (6 ply) 14 ft too.but no 12....Funny thing was..they said “make offer”..so I said $375 plus ship....he said “hold on”..and came back with..”How about $350?”...Never had that happen before or since
 

Formula 602

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Boy, that's a big debate there. I think most of the true Camco guys, I mean the ones who know the details even better than I do and own several kits, are divided into 2 camps: The LA / Keller camp and the Oaklawn / Chanute / Jasper / 6-ply camp. They have happily debated this for years. Some even say that, because Camco used the same shell dimensions and ply thicknesses throughout their existence (once they took over from George Way), there really isn't that much difference in sound. Those are the minority, though. I prefer the Jasper / Oaklawn 6-ply sound. But I'd love to own a set of the LA, just because they are supposed to sound incredible in their own right.
Late 80s..we drove around 90 miles each way to get a Camco oaklawn set...18-12-14 I think it was!...When we got there..it was a L A set..so..we turned around..drove home empty handed..DOH!
 
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DrummerJustLikeDad

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So safe to say Oaklawn sound better than LA? :)
Late 80s..we drove around 90 miles each way to get a Camco oaklawn set...18-12-14 I think it was!...When we got there..it was a L A set..so..we turned around..drove home empty handed..DOH!
Some people will drive up to 180 miles just to NOT get one! So I think that’s a yes.
 

Formula 602

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This was back in the day where we were told if there was one extra hole in a drum...it was pretty much worthless too!
 

bellbrass

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This was back in the day where we were told if there was one extra hole in a drum...it was pretty much worthless too!
I feel bad for hijacking this thread....but....I wonder where all those mint Camco kits are these days? In the closets of grumpy old drummers? Japan? I chatted once with a collector on this forum...he told me that, since the prices on Camcos had come down, he would never sell until it goes way back up. I guess they are being held like stocks?
 


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