Gretsch Drums

Gretsch Drums

Infobox Company
company_name = Gretsch Drums
company_type = Private
foundation = 1883
location_city = Ridgeland, South Carolina
location_country =
United States
key_people = Friedrich Gretsch,
Friedrich Gretsch Jr.
industry = Percussion instrument manufacturing company
homepage = []

Gretsch Drums is a leading drum manufacturing company, based in Ridgeland, South Carolina. Their motto is "That Great Gretsch Sound!"


Gretsch was founded by Friedrich Gretsch, a German immigrant who opened his own musical instrument business based in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. After Friedrich's sudden death in 1895 his enterprising son, Fred Gretsch Sr., took over the business as teenager. He expanded the business moving it to a new 10 story building on 60 Broadway Street. Fred Gretsch Sr. handed over the family business to his son, Fred Gretsch Jr., after retiring in 1942. Soon after taking over, Fred Jr. left to serve in WWII as a Naval commander, leaving the business in the hands of his younger brother, William "Bill" Gretsch. Bill Gretsch passed away in 1948 and the company was again run by Fred Jr. Fred Gretsch Jr. ran the company until 1967 when Gretsch was sold to Baldwin Piano Co. In the early 70's Baldwin moved drum production from Brooklyn, NY to a plant in Arkansas. In 1982 the company was bought by Kustom under the management of Charlie Roy. In 1983 the company celebrated it's 100th anniversary with a line of limited edition drums with a special finish and "centennial" badges signed by Mr. Roy. In 1985 The Gretsch company was bought back by a member of the Gretsch family, Fred Gretsch III (the son of the late William "Bill" Gretsch, and nephew of Fred Jr.), who continues to own the company to this day (2008). In the late 1980s Gretsch bought the remnants of the Slingerland Drum company which was later sold to Gibson (Gretsch retained the Leedy brand which had been part of the Slingerland purchase). In 2000 Gretsch signed a distribution deal with Kaman to distribute Gretsch drums and this partnership has resulted in a much higher visibility of Gretsch brand drums since that time. Today, Gretsch's top of the line drums (USA Custom & Signature Series) are manufactured in Ridgeland, South Carolina. [ [ Gretsch History ] ] while other less expensive lines are imported by Kaman from Asian based drum plants.More recently Gretsch has begun sponsoring drummers that are seen as talented, Fred Gretsch has begun signing drummers of all styles to endorse Gretsch drums while on tour. Since 2002 more than 200 drummers have been signed.

Drumset Lineup

Current Gretsch Products

* Blackhawk - Entry level drum set made of 6-ply Philippine Mahogany shells.

* Catalina Club Rock - Rock drum set drums made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells.

* Catalina Club Mod - Modern drum set made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells.

* Catalina Club Jazz - Jazz drum set made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells.

* Catalina Ash - Semi-professional drum set made of 6-ply Ash shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

* Catalina Maple - Semi-professional drum set made of 8-ply Maple shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

* Renown Maple - Professional drum set made of 6-ply Maple shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

* New Classic - Professional, retro-style drums set made of proportionate Maple/Gumwood shells. The bass drum is made of an 8-ply shell, the toms are made of a 6-ply shell, and snare is made of a 10-ply shell. The set includes Gretsch's ITS tom suspension system.

* USA Custom - Gretsch's flagship model. Professional, handcrafted drum set made of 6-ply Maple/Gumwood shells.

ignature Series

* Steve Ferrone Signature - Signature drum set made of 6-ply Maple/Gumwood shells. The set includes a 1955 Cadillac green gloss lacquer finish, chrome hardware, Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system, and Steve Ferrone Signature badges.

* Vinnie Colaiuta Signature - Signature drum set made of 6-ply Maple/Gumwood Shells. The set includes white wash high glass lacquer finish, black chrome plated lugs, brackets, and hoops, Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system, and Vinnie Coliauta's Signature badges.

pecial Edition Series

Special Edition sets use the modern-day square badge design but in antiqued pewter finish instead of the traditional brass material that has been used on all previous series of Gretsch drums.

* Broadkaster series - reintroduced in 1998 and features gunmetal plated die cast hoops and lugs and satin lacquer wood-grain finishes
* USA Maple Series - introduced in mid-2001 and features chrome-plated hardware and satin wood-grain finishes.

Discontinued Gretsch Products

* Catalina Stage - Semi-professional drum set made of 6-ply Mahogany shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

* Catalina Birch - Semi-professional drum set made of 8-ply Birch shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

* Catalina Elite - Semi-professional drum set made of 6-ply Mahogany shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

*USA Broadcaster - Professional drum set made of Maple/Gumwood shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

*USA Maple - Professional, custom drum set made of 6-ply Maple/Gumwood shells.

*Renown Purewood Mahogany - Professional drum set made of 6-ply African Mahogany shells.

*Renown Purewood Walnut - Professional drum set made of 6-ply Walnut shells.

*Renown Purewood Cherry - Professional drum set made of 6-ply Cherry shells.

*Custom Series 70's LTD - Professional, custom drum set made of 6-ply Maple/Gumwood shells.


Gretsch does not make their own hardware; Gretsch drums use Gibraltar Hardware.

Current Gibraltar Products

*Gibraltar 5600PK - Medium-duty, double braced hardware.

*Gibraltar 6600PK - Heavy-duty, double braced hardware.

*Gibraltar 9500PK - Professional, double braced hardware.

*Gibraltar RACKPK - Professional, double braced hardware that includes Gibraltar's Road Series Rack System.

Badge History

*1883 to 1971 - The original Gretsch Round Badge design. This was the first badge used on Gretsch drums going all the way back to 1883. The badge was round with GRETSCH written across the top and DRUM MAKERS SINCE 1883 along the bottom. The older version of the Round Badge used a carpenter's tack to attach the badge to the shells while a later version used the standard brass grommet to affix the badge. Final production of Gretsch drums with the Round Badge was in 1971

*1972 to 1979 - The next badge design for Gretsch was an octagon-shaped badge. This brass badge had the GRETSCH logo written in block type with an elongated letter "T" in the middle of the Gretsch name. On the right side of the brass grommet, the word DRUMS appears in block letters. To the left, the initials U.S.A. appear in block letters. The bottom section of the badge reads "THAT GREAT GRETSCH SOUND". Final production of Gretsch Drums with this badge was in mid-1979. This is the only badge to carry the famous "Great Gretsch Sound" tag line.
*1979 to 1980 - The second version of the octagon badge went into production in late 1979. This badge is very similar to the previous badge but the tag line on the bottom was changed back to "DRUM MAKERS SINCE 1883" in block letters.

*1980 - A brief glimpse into the modern day drum badge. In 1980, due to the popularity of multiple-tom outfits, the badge was changed to a square shape with the corners cropped. This would allow the badge to look the same no matter which way the tom was mounted. The brass badge had the GRETSCH logo in block letters above the grommet. The GRETSCH logo below the grommet was placed upside down to allow for the varied positioning of the toms. U.S.A. was on the left and right side of the grommet with the left U.S.A. letters upside down. This badge would be used in 1980 and then shelved for a brief period of time before it was brought back into production.

*Early 1981 - A short return to the octagon badge. This time the brass badge was redesigned with the GRETSCH logo in the drop "G" font above the grommet. U.S.A. appeared to the right of the grommet and DRUM MAKERS SINCE 1983 was at the bottom of this badge in block letters.

*Late 1981 to Modern Day - Back to the square badge design. By late 1981, the brass square badge had returned and is still being used on Gretsch Custom Drums today.

*100th Anniversary Badge This special badge was used in 1983 on a limited production of exotic wood grain kits with all gold hardware. Only 100 sets in these special finishes were produced. The badge was a large upright rectangle with the corners cropped. The Gretsch logo features the drop "G" logo style and the badge reads "THE CENTENNIAL 1883-1983" along the top in block letters.

*120th Anniversary Round Badge

Notable Artists

*Pete Alexander - El Pus
*Cindy Blackman - Lenny Kravitz
*Brian Blade - Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joshua Redman, Wayne Shorter
*Rob Bourdon - Linkin Park
*Chris Cester - Jet
*Vinnie Colaiuta - Karizma
*Alec Chambers - Cylanderhead, Hinge
*Phil Collins - Genesis
*Mike Gallaher- Sanhedrin, Sarcophaga, Independent
*Paul Goldberg - Los Angeles session drummer, independent artist
*Steve Ferrone - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
*Stan Frazier - Sugar Ray
*Russel Hobbs - Gorillaz
*Simen Tanggård - Algorythms
*D.J Fontana - Jeff Beck, Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Keith Richards, Ron Wood
*Taylor Hawkins - Foo Fighters
*Makoto Izumitani - Gwen Stefani
*Paul John - Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys
*Elvin Jones - John Coltrane
*Matt Letley - Status Quo
*Mitch Mitchell - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
*Stanton Moore - Galactic, The Stanton Moore Trio
*Taylor Powell - The Westavalias
*Max Roach - Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins
*Chad Smith - when he is in studio
*Ringo Starr - The Beatles, Ringo Starr All-Starr Band
*Bill Stewart - Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Bill Stewart Trio, Manuel Valeria
*Scott Underwood - Train
*Charlie Watts - The Rolling Stones
*Brad Wilk - Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine
*Rick Woolstenhulme Jr. - Lifehouse
*Orri Páll Dýrason - Sigur Rós


External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ About Gretsch Drums]

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