The New Classics are in many ways an attempt to create that Great Gretsch Sound that you love about the USA drums with a new approach to making drums.
I haven’t played both so I asked product manager John Palmer of Gretsch to explain some of the differences in the drums.
Here’s what he had to say (cue the music)...
“There are some fundamental differences between the Gretsch USA Custom series and the New Classic series. USA Custom series drums made in Ridgeland, SC with thin, 6-ply Gretsch formula maple shells using North American “rock” or “sugar” maple. The shells we use are essentially made to the same specifications that Gretsch established when we went from a 3-ply to 6-ply shell back in the mid/late 1950’s. Countless iconic recordings have been made using the USA Custom drums.
“New Classic drums are made our high-end Taiwan drum making facility. The biggest difference are the shells we use for New Classic. We use a Gretsch maple formula shell using North American “rock” or “sugar” maple for New Classic, but this formula includes our “Proportionate Shell” technology. We engineered the New Classic shells to be thicker as diameters increase. 8”/10” toms are 6ply, 4.8mm; 12”/13” toms are 6ply, 5.7mm; 14” toms are 6ply, 6.6mm; 16”/18” toms are 6ply, 7.5mm; 18” BD’s are 6ply, 7.5mm; 20”-24” BD’s are 8ply 9.1mm and snares are 10ply 12.5mm. This added thickness gives a full/balanced sound across the drum set, plus increased volume.
“Regarding timbre and tone – the New Classics do have the mid-range warmth that USA Custom drums are known for and are closest sounding to USA Custom drums in our product line up. The feedback we hear from our Gretsch endorsers is that USA Custom and New Classic drums are similar; however, they do have distinguished sonic attributes that give each series their own personality.
We recommend that you visit an authorized Gretsch dealer to check out USA Customs and New Classics side-by-side.”
Thanks, John. Are there any New Classic owners who want to answer this question?