Why do gretsch late 70’s SSB kits sound so good?

jb111

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Is the biggest factor a case of roundover vs. 30 degree edges? I know some 70s kits still had roundovers, so maybe not.
 

drummingbulldog

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this but isn't the hardware pre Tama/Yamaha 80s & Rogers Memrilok complete rubbish? Gretsch & their hardware just stayed that way until very recently. I can't imagine not modding their drums with Yamaha stuff in the 80s/90s. Someone lost them tons of money & a whole generation of drummers who wouldn't touch them back then.
 

paulwells73

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I’m a Gretsch fanatic, and have owned 14 (!) different Gretsch kits over the past 20 years, and have played countless more at drum shops and as backline kits on the road. Most of the 70s-era kits I’ve played had pretty rounded bearing edges. I think the combination of thinner shells (with vent holes), die cast hoops, and round bearing edges give the SSB kits their mojo. 60s era Gretsch have their own thing and are quite different, with much thicker shells and no vent holes. In the 80s, the edges start to get sharper and more "modern" which brightens the drums up a bit.
 

multijd

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John - I saw our post about these on FB, who wound up buying them? They look absolutely gorgeous.
John Anderson bought the entire set. Louis used a few of the drums at the Albright Knox outdoor jazz concerts and they got discolored From the sun. He was so upset about it that he stopped using the drums. I only saw him play them a few times in all of those years. Interestingly, the first time I saw Louis play he was using a clear fibes bop set. That set burned up in a fire in his garage studio. He lost some K’s in that fire also.
 

multijd

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this but isn't the hardware pre Tama/Yamaha 80s & Rogers Memrilok complete rubbish? Gretsch & their hardware just stayed that way until very recently. I can't imagine not modding their drums with Yamaha stuff in the 80s/90s. Someone lost them tons of money & a whole generation of drummers who wouldn't touch them back then.
The mount on the drums in the original post are in good shape and according to the owner work great. But like Slingerland setomatic overtightening will kill them.
 

hardbat

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this but isn't the hardware pre Tama/Yamaha 80s & Rogers Memrilok complete rubbish? Gretsch & their hardware just stayed that way until very recently. I can't imagine not modding their drums with Yamaha stuff in the 80s/90s. Someone lost them tons of money & a whole generation of drummers who wouldn't touch them back then.
I have a 1984 kit and the hardware is the best of any kit I have ever had or seen.
 

Neal Pert

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In my experience, the SSBs are the LEAST consistent era. Some sound as good as 80s or 90s drums, but some are unbelievably poorly made. If I were buying some used Gretsches, the era I'd inspect the most before buying would be SSBs. Have I had great ones? Yup. But that's the era I'd fetishize the least.
 

Woody Blanchard

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I bought my first Gretsch kit in '74 from Fred Vinston at Leo's Music on College Ave in Berkeley, Calif. After playing it for years it made me a total Gretsch snob but then I know it's a good quality kit and the several very good players that have sat behind it all comment about how great it sounds. So, was there really some special 'mojo' behind it? I have a set that was put together one orphan at a time, 80s-90s shells, they sound great too, another I bought a few years back that are 90s shells and they sound great as well. The 74 kit has it's original edges and the 'orphans' have gotten re-edged and lightly sanded and even though they have a sharper edge, they sound great as well. Either way, it's hard to beat quality, even if it may not be perfect!
 

drummingbulldog

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I have a 1984 kit and the hardware is the best of any kit I have ever had or seen.
Techware? Most 80s drums I have seen were modded. The ones that were not had the original hardware removed in favor of RIMS mount type attachments with clamps. My old 80s kit had Premier tom brackets with virgin bass drums. The kicks had the 3/4" or so legs that the brackets would come loose. The c-clamps in the garage made memory locks for when that happened. The floor tom legs I believe were Gretsch and were hollow and flimsy. Maybe your 84' kit had different designed hardware but all of the Gretsch guys I've talked to and including guys who endorsed them have spoken about using Yamaha or Pearl tom hardware so they could have modern adjustable drums. My SSB kit had Yamaha tom bracket on the tom until I modded it. The floor tom still has Yamaha brackets & legs. The kick had a Yamaha mounting bracket too. The shells I think were purchased virgin and the hardware added because there are no extra holes or plugged wholes in any of the shells. To each his own. If you got a Gretsch kit with great modern hardware before Gibraltar then you have a rare kit. I stand corrected.
 

hardbat

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Techware? Most 80s drums I have seen were modded. The ones that were not had the original hardware removed in favor of RIMS mount type attachments with clamps.
I don't know what it's called, and unfortunately don't have a great photo handy. And my kit isn't here at the house. Here's what I was able to find:
20200714_215957.jpg

Ordered new from the factory in 1984, no mods. All the hardware is either notched, memory-clamped, or zigzag, I've only changed the settings 2 or 3 times in 35 years, traveled all over with it, and it has never once moved... rock solid. And SO easy to pack. The entire center post assembly comes out and goes into the trap case, never a need to collapse anything, teardown and setup in seconds.
 

mebeatee

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I know I'll get flamed for saying this but isn't the hardware pre Tama/Yamaha 80s & Rogers Memrilok complete rubbish? Gretsch & their hardware just stayed that way until very recently. I can't imagine not modding their drums with Yamaha stuff in the 80s/90s. Someone lost them tons of money & a whole generation of drummers who wouldn't touch them back then.
No...you are correct.
There was a period where Gretsch hardware wasn't...and was often swapped out for other brands hardware....especially bd tom mounts....iirc.
bt
 

Deafmoon

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Not 100% sure on this, but I believe the shells thickness changed from 4mm to 5mm in the 80's. I think they are 5mm or 5.5mm today being made by Keller. I do know though that DW and I believe Pearl have also gotten their hands on Maple/Gum Wood combo and are making that blend drum today. However, the aging of the wood has much to do with this also. I play a 70's SSB kit, but the best stuff I heard from Gretsch to my ears is the 90's. But to each his own.
 

JDA

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I do know though that DW and I believe Pearl have also gotten their hands on Maple/Gum Wood combo and are making that blend drum today.
with all three ( Gretsch Custom, DW Jazz, and Pearl Gum) the plies are stacked differently
also likely (I don't know) individual ply thickness is also different with each
otherwise you are correct-
 

JDA

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As far as Gretsch hardware the Knocks begin in Round Badge era and It's not warranted. W&A made the Rail (no problem there) The Diamond plate FT brackets we've all seen those last 3 decades +/-. Spurs pretty much indestructible

So knocking Gretsch hardware on Round Badges is out.

In the mid 70s the ball and socket tom mounts- is the trouble spot- That's where "that" reputation came from. There were two ball socket double tom holders. The Monster and the Standard.

By late 70s this was replaced by "Creative Research" line of hardware (the 9020s) erroneously called other names (that's the correct name) (CR for short) (1981)
Which has few if no complaints.

So the Gretsch "hardware" knock I see as having a very narrow time period at best.
True a lot of Gretsch were sold then to the point drums began being ordered w/ no mounting hence the sling/lud/premier/pearl/ hardware seen on that era of G.

The Standard and the Monster twin tom holders may have been the last Gasp of W&A (leading back to 'the rail') but don't know that for fact suspect it tho..
 
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JDA

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There's the "Standard" and the "Monster" twin tom holders in one 1977 set.
Standard left- Monster center...Standard- right. (lol)
Most of that hardware here, in this pic I suspect, was built then sent, to Gretsch from W & A.
Maybe not the bass drum pedal pretty certain the snare drum stand...etc




You see how that worked back then?
Hardware came from outside..

Drum makers were just beginning to "have to" make their own. Otherwise a lot was same supplied (rails) to every US company (Wauge/ W &A)
Then (after W/A) holders and stands got stylized personalized
 
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RIDDIM

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There's the "Standard" and the "Monster" twin tom holders in one 1977 set.
Standard left- Monster center...Standard- right. (lol)
Most of that hardware here, in this pic I suspect, was built then sent, to Gretsch from W & A.
Maybe not the bass drum pedal pretty certain the snare drum stand...etc



You see how that worked back then?

Drum makers were just beginning to " have to"...make their own otherwise it was same supplied (rails) to every US company (Wauge/ W &A)
- Thanks. I'd gotten the tom holder nomenclature wrong.
 

hardbat

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Just looked in Gretsch book... yes, my hardware is "CR" (Creative Research) and I cannot fathom why anyone would object to it. Or did different years have different metal quality? Yes the stuff right before that era looks iffy.
 

JDA

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everybody does it's "CR" Creative Research

(too big a word for drummers .. ba dom tssh
 

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