Late 50’s 3ply Gretsch

Posted: February 27, 2012 12:14 PM


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    Dec 04, 2011

Bought this in 2009….....really quite by accident. 

20/12/14 and 5.5x14 matching snare.

I wasn’t looking to buy at the time.  I enjoy looking around on eBay and C/L just to see all the cool vintage drums. They’re usually out of my reach being that the drums are most often far away and there’s no way to check them out.  I have a nice 2007 Purewood kit so I was just looking.  But, there before me was this Gold Sparkle late 50’s (advertised as 60) kit right here where I live!  It looked really run down but still….I was pretty excited.  My dear wife saw the desperation in my body language and knew something was up.  I emailed the seller and we went over to look at them.  I was pleased when I saw they were mostly 3ply. 

3ply except for the floor tom = 6ply. When Gretsch was switching from 3 to 6ply in the late 50’s they filled orders with what was available at the time.  This kit was bought from a local music store in 1960 and could have gone out of the factory in 59-60. Being that the rack, bass and snare are all 3ply I’m thinking these drums mostl likely were made in the late 50’s and maybe the floor tom was made then too or as late as 1960 depending on when the drums were sent to the music store.

I spent a few bucks buying period correct parts on eBay = Microsensitive Strainer, 8 t-rods and claws for the reso head, 50’s hoop for the BD reso head, a couple of 50’s mutes, some tom and snare lugs (some of the lugs were damaged) and some tension rods. I custom fit wood flesh-hoops to the shells and tucked new American White calfhide on all the drums (after this photo I tucked a calfhide on the bd reso). I now use an EMAD batter on the bass drum - I like it better than the calf batter on this drum for now.

A very nice 18.5” K Zildjian Sizzle cymbal and a pair of A Zildjian Hats along with the very nice 1121 WFL hihat, Speed King WFL pedal, woodblock, fiber cases (some of the very first ones built by NOMAD = antiques! and in very good shape) and some drumsticks from the music store (long gone now) where the drums were bought. 

The drums were one-owner Gary (same name as me). He died in 2005 and his daughter inherited the drums.