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Gretsch Drums A History Of And Best Prices Online

Updated on July 18, 2013

Gretsch Drums

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

Check out my eBay and Amazon modules on this lens for some great deals on Gretsch Drums, a percentage of each sale goes to my favorite charities like Guitars For Veterans and Soldiers Angels.

Gretsch's Progressive Jazz Kit
Gretsch's Progressive Jazz Kit


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 a teenager. He expanded the business, moving it to a new ten-story building at 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 Navy 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, Gretsch 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, with Gretsch retaining 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.

In February 2007, Kaman purchased the right to manufacture Gretsch USA Custom and Signature drums. They also purchased the majority of the equipment used to make Gretsch drums. They now lease space from Fred Gretsch in his Ridgeland building. The drums are being made by the same people that have worked there for the last 10–15 years.

Fender purchased Kaman in 2008 so now they own the right to manufacture both Gretsch guitars and drums.

Today, Gretsch's top of the line drums (USA Custom & Signature Series) are manufactured in Ridgeland, South Carolina. 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.

Current Gretsch Products

Gretsch USA custom Kit
Gretsch USA custom Kit

Blackhawk - Entry level drum set made of 6-ply Basswood/Poplar shells.

Catalina Club Rock - Rock drum set drums made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

Catalina Club Mod - Modern drum set made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

Catalina Club Jazz - Jazz drum set made of 9-ply Philippine Mahogany shells. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

Catalina Birch - These drums feature the distinctive sound of Birch shells: Explosive attack with a deep low-end fundamental. The Birch shells are finished with 30-degree bearing edges and natural interiors to produce a Gretsch sound that is filled with tonal punch and depth.

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

Catalina Maple - Intermediate level drum set made of Maple-formula shells with 45-degree bearing edges, natural interiors and mini Gretsch lugs. Catalina Maple features 6-ply toms, 7-ply bass drum and 9-ply snare drum. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

New Catalina Maple series-A new Catalina Maple series with Maple shells that are 7-ply, 7.2mm. Gretsch equipped the shells with “Gretsch Classic” features and hardware, including 30-degree bearing edges, fully-adjustable Gretsch ball-and-socket tom holder with 12.7mm tom arms, 9020-style mounting brackets and the famous 5-lug configuration (a standard Gretsch feature for over 50 years). Available in two configurations - a 6-piece shell pack set and a 5-piece shell pack set. Add-on drums are also available.

Renown Maple - Semi-professional level drum set made of 6-ply Maple shells with Silver Sealer interior. The set includes Gretsch's GTS tom suspension system.

New Classic - Professional, retro-style drums set made of proportionate Maple/Poplar shells with Silver Sealer interior. Proportionate shells increase in thickness as shell diameters increase to give a full, balanced tonality across the entire drum set. 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, with Silver Sealer interior.

Do you own a Gretsch Drum Kit? - Tell us what you like about it!

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    • ThoughtsFromGreg profile image

      ThoughtsFromGreg 4 years ago

      I love the sound of Gretsch drums. I don't have a set, but my best friend does and it's a great brand of drums !

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Bought a used Gretsch Catalina Club set (from the late 60`s?) Mahogoney (yea right?) 22"base,16"floor tom, 12" Tom and 14" snare. Bought it just for a second set to use at band rehearsal. I changed all the hoops to cast hoops and put natural skin heads on toms. Granted it`s not like a round badge set but I can`t get over how great these drums sound. Now if that rich uncle would just leave me a couple thousand to go out and buy that vintage round badge set! I`m sold on Gretsch, they do make the BEST drums in the world.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice shit, man!