Gretsch New Classics??

Posted: February 12, 2011 12:25 PM

Hank The Cat

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I’m seriously considering selling my champagne sparkle DW Collectors series kit from 2000 and purchasing some Gretsch New Classics. I’ve always been a Gretsch man but back in 2000 I just couldn’t trust Gretsch enough to buy a new kit from them—plus I knew someone at DW. How are the New Classics compared to the USA Customs? Do they sound the same?  Their sound in the studio is what matters most to me.  Thanks!

Posted: February 14, 2011 09:27 AM

Phil Hood

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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?

Posted: October 24, 2011 05:19 AM


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I know this post is old, but I came across it because I am an avid Gretsch player.  I’ve been extremely torn over this particular issue.  I love the look of the New Classics, yet I love my overall package of my USA kit.  I have come to love some New Classic and Renown kits around my area recently.  They all look the “part” of Gretsch, and to my surprise, they sound awesome in their different ways.

Your post has helped me considerably, and has been the most trustworthy I’ve found on the net.  Just one more reason I subscribe in print and online to Drum Magazine.  Here is my biggest problem, and I’m far from a drum “snob”.  Can you please shed some light on WHY Gretsch makes all other drums in Taiwan and not in Ridgeland like the USA’s.  It’s really the hangup I have.  I love the craftsmanship of the USA shop, and I love buying USA products exclusively. 

Your response may be the relief I have been searching for to buy the “other’ Gretsch products.  They are all gorgeous lines, all sound great, but I want to know WHY all else is built overseas’, and what affect these shops have on quality compared to the USA product.

I would love to try (buy) a New Classic now that I’m 42, just to try something new and different than my USA, but want to stay with my love of Gretsch drums.  Maybe even the Renowns for my son!  I just want to stay true to the Gretsch origins. 

Sorry for the length, but I appreciate your input.

Thank you.


Posted: October 25, 2011 09:14 PM


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cfdpride, the Gretsch New Classics are really nice sounding & feeling drums to play. Although I only spent 1 & 1/2 hours ‘test driving’ a champegne ‘glitter’ 6 peice kit (22” kick, 10” & 12” suspended rack toms, 14” & 16” floor toms, & a 14” x 6” matching snare), I truly had fun playing them. The sound was resonant but controlled, it looked great, the sizes were that of most modern kits, & the new Gretsch suspension method for the rack toms was un-obtrusive!
Gretsch also offers a great Gibraltar Hardware/Pedal package w/ the New Classics (if you choose). You can even get the ‘Intruder’ double pedal, if chosen!
Recently, THE Vinnie Colaiuta put his Gretsch Signature Kit aside to use the New Classics! That alone says something! He chose the ‘gold glitter’ lacquer finish w/ chrome hdwr. as the look for his New Classics Kit.
I personally love the drums, & think that, although not USA made (which keeps consumer’s costs down a bit), they are a great buy! In my own opinion, Gretsch has a potential winner on it’s hands here!
Be well,
Brian Jezuit

Posted: November 14, 2011 06:36 AM


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Thank you very much, Brian!!  I will let you know what I get.  Plan on ordering a kit within the month.