Weight Savings Replacing 302 Hoops on Gretsch Renown?

JD Jones

Member
Hello all. I have a Gretsch Renown set that I bought a year ago or so after a long absence from drumming. Firstly, it sounds amazing. I have owned Yamaha Maple Custom Absolutes, Pearl Masters (4 ply w/ reinforcement rings) and Ludwig Super Classics (circa 1990s) among others and I was pretty shocked at just how satisfying these were to hear and play. I honestly don't know how much better drums can sound within the realm of normal expectation.

However, they weigh a ton! And I only have the 10/12/14/20 with stock snare. I know this is a pretty small kit and I may sound kind of whiny considering the massive kits some guys cart around but I have a couple of bad knees that really need every break they can get, especially on stairs. Has anyone experimented with swapping the hoops on these for any reason (sound, weight savings, etc.)? I realize those hoops may be part of the sound I am loving but putting some 1.6mm hoops on would definitely lighten them up and may even enhance the sound in ways that I can't predict. I am concerned the shells are a big part of the weight though since even the bass drum is comparatively heavy. Also, the floor tom legs are massive, way overbuilt, especially for a 14er. Anyone ever used thinner gauge legs in place of their larger stock legs? I'm already using ultralight hardware.

I don't know what else to do other than consider selling them and going with something else that is lighter. However, those kits are usually lower budget. I've heard Tama Superstar Classic are very light and 100% maple but I assume they would be a let-down after the Renowns right? And Yamaha Stage Custom/Gretsch Catalina probably the same (are the Yamaha Tour Customs light?). Ludwig Club Dates look interesting and are supposed to be light. I've looked at a lot of threads but they are usually dominated by people wanting one of those compact kits with the super short floor tom and bass drum. I just want a seriously lightweight, medium-priced, regular-sized drumset with maybe a 20-22 inch bass drum. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

David Hunter

Junior Member
are the Yamaha Tour Customs light?
Yes, they are. I have a set of RN2 Renowns, and recently got a deal I couldn't refuse on a new set of Tour Customs. The Yamahas are noticeably lighter than the Renowns. Both are nice midrange sets, and while I'd probably give the (slight) edge on fit and finish to the Renowns, the Tour Customs are still very appealing. Both lines sound great.
 

JD Jones

Member
Thanks for that info. When I bought the Renowns it was between them and the Tour Customs. I just couldn't shake my desire to have a Gretsch kit so I went with them. I will look into the Tour Customs. Lighter hoops, thinner shells and their minimalist mounting system are probably the reasons. Anyone know the exact thickness of the Renown shells just for my reference? Their website doesn't get specific. I don't love that the Yamaha are in satin finish only but I could live with it. Maybe the caramel satin?
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
You can't do any better than Renowns in my opinion. I did extensive research before buying my RN2s and they're fantastic.

I guess it just comes down to whether you value weight more than sound. I think the Yamaha Tour Customs sound good but they don't sing like the Renowns.

I don't think the shells are why they weigh so much, I think it's the hardware. The weight was something I noticed immediately too, but I'd never downgrade just to save a few pounds.

If it were me, I'd look into getting a cart with wheels, or something similar to make transport easier. I think thinner tom legs could work, so that's something worth trying as well.

Thinner rims like 2.3mm will work just fine (The Gretsch Marquees are Renowns without the 302 hoops). However, 1.6mm hoops may not be enough to tame the incredible amount of resonance and overtones you'll get. But you could always buy a pair of 1.6mm hoops for one drum and try it out. I'd be interested to hear how it turns out!

Going from 3mm 302 hoops down to 2.3mm...would that save enough weight? I dunno. Maybe?

You can easily sell the 302 hoops on Craigstlist, Reverb or Ebay to get some of that money back.
 

Pootle

Member
Depends how often you are having to move them. If the weight really is an issue, look into the Gretsch Catalina Clubs which are a mahogany shell and much much lighter, probably as much as 35-40%. The bass and toms sound fantastic, very nice warm tone, just replace the snare. I used to sling a bass drum over my shoulder in a gig bag and could move the whole kit from venue to car easily in 3 trips (12, 14, 20, snare, hardware, cymbals.) Depending on how much space and cash you have, just buy the shells to use for gigs. Personally, I wouldn't start messing with the composite of the Renowns, they deserve better than that.
 

JD Jones

Member
I found reference online to the shells being 6.2mm on toms and 7.4mm on bass drum for the RN1s, but I am unsure if the same applies to the RN2s. They did change the shell formula.

I bought the set as the perfect (for me) do-anything kit and like I said I love the sound so I would like to keep them. Your idea to try one set of 1.6mm hoops is a good one. I know some players prefer the thin hoops for their openness and I am curious to see what would happen. Never had a quality kit with those kind of hoops as they are usually reserved for entry-level gear. It could turn out amazing or maybe something that could be reined in with head choice or moon gel. I don't think 2.3mm hoops is enough weight savings. I'm going all the way to 1.6 or nothing.

Thanks for the help, I appreciate it.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
No way I’d dump my 302 hoops. They are super classy and rigid and the drums stay in tune for a long time. Thin hoops aren’t nearly as stable and I’m not sure the weight savings would be worth the change. If you sell the 302s, I doubt you’d get much for the Renowns, if you decided to sell them.
 

JD Jones

Member
Depends how often you are having to move them. If the weight really is an issue, look into the Gretsch Catalina Clubs which are a mahogany shell and much much lighter, probably as much as 35-40%. The bass and toms sound fantastic, very nice warm tone, just replace the snare. I used to sling a bass drum over my shoulder in a gig bag and could move the whole kit from venue to car easily in 3 trips (12, 14, 20, snare, hardware, cymbals.) Depending on how much space and cash you have, just buy the shells to use for gigs. Personally, I wouldn't start messing with the composite of the Renowns, they deserve better than that.
The Catalina Clubs are certainly on my short list if I end up replacing them, though the way some people talk about them I am worried they will be nearly as good as my Renowns and I will have to keep both sets. I know it wouldn't be the lightest option available (because of size) but the Catalina Club Rock 13/16/24 would be a nice contrast to my 10/12/14/20 as long as it was still pretty light.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
What mounting hardware are you using? RIMs mounts are heavy and so are the Gretsch GTS mounts. Maybe you want to consider changing the tom mounts?

The 302 hoops are lighter, but that’s an expensive investment depending on how many hoops you’re replacing.

I think the difference in shell weight is negligible between ply drums of similar size. I’ve taken some renowns and other manufacturers drums apart and without the hardware, the shells are featherweight.
 

JD Jones

Member
I'm using whatever mounts come on the 2018 RN2 and they do seem heavy. I have never torn down any of my past drums to the bare shell so I don't know how heavy different woods and thicknesses are. It does seem to me that the hardware would be the first thing to consider.

Along those lines, who has the lightest iso mounts that would be widely available and work with 5 lug toms?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
The Renown RN2 mounts aren't heavy at all The older ones used to have rim mounts. Those were heavy. 302 hoops are not quite as heavy as cast. I can't speak for the renown shells, but my Brooklyns are 6mm thick and weigh like they are 12mm. I'm not sure what process is used for them than any other, but they feel like their compressed to 6mm. Haven't a clue, but they sound killer with the 302s.
 

JD Jones

Member
The old RN1 mounts might have been heavier I don't know. All I know is these drums seem noticeably heavier than comparable drums I've had in the past. Even the bass drum is quite heavy for a 20" which leads me to believe shell density may have something to do with it since the BD hardware doesn't seem all that massive. Which then implies that shell density is probably largely responsible for their great sound.

I don't want to get too deep into tom mount compatibility hell so maybe I'll try one drum with the skinny hoops and see if it destroys the sound. For some reason I'm betting it won't, even if it does change the sound. I've been curious before about this (for sonic reasons) with snare drums that had die-cast hoops but never tried it.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
The lighter hoops will open them up more, but sustain may run away. I've timed my FTs and wide open, batter and reso tuned to the same frequency, their are audible for 15 seconds. I've tuned them to the same fundamental tone with batter higher, then reso higher and I shaved off 3 seconds. I tried a set of 1.6 hoops on my USA Custom cast aluminum and the overtones were just crazy and that's as dry as a snare shell as they come. The Gretsch lugs are even lighter than they look.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I've never heard of 5 lug 1.6 mm hoops. You would need a pair for each rack tom. Does anyone even make them?
 

Ghostin one

Senior Member
Drum Factory Direct has them in 10,12,13, and 16.

I gig fairly often with older an Renown set (10,12, 16 with die-cast hoops, & 22) with Tama Titan (tighten!) hardware. It's ridiculously heavy, but I roll that stuff wherever it needs to go. There's one venue with half a flight of stairs, but many places (restaurants especially) have wheelchair ramps. If my knees or back have trouble, I'll get an INDe set for gigs and leave the Renown at home.
 

JD Jones

Member
I found the 1.6mm 5 lug hoops I need somewhere online, not too pricey.

Lots of great drums have 2.3mm hoops or thinner so I am thinking it won't be too crazy to at least try. Probably no one has tried because the hoops are usually a selling point on the Gretsch kits. Moongels make it so easy to dial in the overtones. I'd probably leave the snare alone, I actually like it quite a lot and the light hoops would probably be hardest on it. It might be a while before I do this experiment but when I do I will post my impressions. Thanks for all the responses, I appreciate it and hope it helps someone down the line who may have similar concerns.
 
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JD Jones

Member
OK, I just heard back from my guy at Sweetwater. I had asked him about the weight difference between the Renown (302 hoops), Catalina Maple (2.3mm) and Catalina Club (1.6mm) in case I wanted to just sell the Renowns and go with another Gretsch kit. He contacted Gretsch and they told him the weight difference is negligible between the three drums. I don't really see how that's possible since people have said the Clubs were pretty light. Certainly the Clubs should be somewhat lighter than the Renowns. He did say the Catalina Maples use the same shell configuration as the Renowns. Anyone have both the Renowns and either one of the Clubs or Maples? Is one (or both) of these Catalina sets significantly lighter than the Renown? I was looking at Tama Superstar Classics too, which are supposed to be light, but I just don't like the look of the Tamas.
 
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