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  #1  
Old 09-16-2013, 03:59 PM
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MeltedUnicorns MeltedUnicorns is offline
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Default Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Hello again..

So i ended up buying a Gretsch USA custom set. Now of course the question is, what heads are the best to put on this kit?

My previous beast-kit (that is what I am calling it) was big, loud, and massive..this is a bit smaller (well the toms are anyways) and so I'm a little unsure what to put on it. I've played on Evans Onyx heads before, G2's, 360's, etc. But they all react differently depending upon the kit (at least that has been my experience). Not ever having owned a USA custom before, I want to know what you think is best and more importantly.. why!?

any opinions from owners?
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2013, 04:25 PM
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GRUNTERSDAD GRUNTERSDAD is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

I have a Renown set not USA and the ones that sound best are Evans coated G2 over clear G 1.
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2013, 04:30 PM
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

To experience the full rich sound of those distinct drums I'd go Ambassador over Ambassador, G1 over G1 with either clear or coated batters OR G12 clear or coated or Ambassador X which is Remo's 12mil single ply version, coated only.

G2's or Emperors would be good too but I wouldn't muddy up the sound of a USA Custom with 2 ply heads. If you're a fairly hard hitter maybe but otherwise let them SOB's sing!

Last edited by XplosiveDrummer; 09-16-2013 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:12 PM
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gretsch-o-rama gretsch-o-rama is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Honestly, I think a thinner single ply(probably coated) head would sound best on the USA customs, but then again, you really can't go wrong with head selection on the USA's. Id probably just stay away from the thicker single ply heads...
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2013, 05:12 PM
drumming sort of person drumming sort of person is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Stick with single ply. The USA Customs are a tiny bit larger diameter than other companies' drums, and there can be problems getting double ply heads to seat properly. I had a hell of a time getting a 12" Pinstripe head to tune up properly.

I alternate between clear and coated Remo Ambassador heads, top and bottom, as well as the bass drum. On the snare I use a coated clear dot.

If you do decide to go with double ply, crank the head on very tight, and leave it there for at least an hour. Then loosen it to finger tight, and tension it normally.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

I generally run a coated G1 over a clear G1. I have also experimented with coated G1 as a reso. I've also tried Aquarian Texture Coated and Aquarian Modern Vintage for batters.

I keep coming back to G1 coated / G1 clear.

Go for the sound you are after I guess.

Last edited by dmacc; 09-16-2013 at 07:59 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2013, 07:45 PM
EvansSpecialist EvansSpecialist is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by XplosiveDrummer View Post
To experience the full rich sound of those distinct drums I'd go Ambassador over Ambassador, G1 over G1 with either clear or coated batters OR G12 clear or coated or Ambassador X which is Remo's 12mil single ply version, coated only.

G2's or Emperors would be good too but I wouldn't muddy up the sound of a USA Custom with 2 ply heads. If you're a fairly hard hitter maybe but otherwise let them SOB's sing!
Evans G2's with the Level 360 collar don't sound quite as "muddy" as other two-ply heads. Several of our artists, Keith Carlock included, who are usually anti-two-ply were quite impressed by the resonance of our G2's. Definitely worth checking out.

Cheers!
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2013, 09:26 PM
XplosiveDrummer
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvansSpecialist View Post
Evans G2's with the Level 360 collar don't sound quite as "muddy" as other two-ply heads.
Are you referring to other types of Evans 2 ply heads or other companies 2 ply heads?

Last edited by XplosiveDrummer; 09-17-2013 at 06:38 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2013, 07:08 AM
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Skulmoski Skulmoski is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

I put Earthtone Calfskins on my USA Customs. Amazing sounding drums; especially the toms.

GJS
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  #10  
Old 10-12-2013, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

I noticed nobody has asked what Genre of music you are playing, so I will make my recommendations by Genre below:

Classic Rock/Pop/Country- Toms -Evans G12 (G plus ) white coated. These are a 12mil single ply head, ideal for tom batters, warmer sounding than a G1 and more durable. This would be my choice for the tom batters. Honorable mention - Aquarian Response 2 coated.
Bass - Aquarian Superkick 1 batter with Regulator resonant side. Honorable Mention Remo PS3 coated with PS3 resonant side or Evans EMAD single ply coated with EQ3 resonant side.

Jazz - Tom batters -Aquarian Modern Vintage Mediums - these are outstanding heads, especially once they get played in a bit. Best coating in the industry. Beautiful tone. Honorable Mention :
Stock Gretsch Permatone coated ; Aquarian Satin Finish Texture coated and Evans J1 Etched.
Bass - Remo PS3 coated with PS3 resonant side ( felt strip front and back) ; Honorable Mention Aquarian Modern Vintage with feltstrip attached front and back sides of bass drum.

Welcome to the Gretsch USA Custom club, the water is fine. GRUNTERSDAD will send you your decoder ring and Halldor will show you the secret handshake once you post pictures of your new kit to prove you own one. :)

Last edited by RickP; 10-14-2013 at 04:29 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-07-2013, 07:35 PM
Bill Stevenson Bill Stevenson is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

Gretsch USA Customs are quite versatile. RickP's advice based on genre of music you are playing is right on. I would add that the best choice also should include the environment you are playing in. Are you playing a lot of acccoustic, low volume settings, maybe using brushes a lot? Or are you playing in a louder, amplified environment? Your drums can be tailored for either with the right head choice. As Rick mentioned, the standard Gretsch Permatone heads are very good general purpose heads. You shouldn't feel compelled to replace them right away. In my case, my kit is an 18/14/12 and I play a lot with brushes, always low volume. So I use very thin heads, mostly Diplomats including the M5 with a 2 ply Hazy reso on the snare. I like Evans sound control heads on the bass, and the J1 Etched on the toms.
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

One other thing I have found I really like on my Gretsch kit is that I prefer coated Permatones/Ambassadors/G1s on the resonant sides of the toms. The toms sound warmer and the ring is more in control over the clear resonants.

Bill Stevenson makes a good suggestion of the J1 etched heads for lower volume music. I really like these heads especially for brushes and on my Jazz gigs.
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  #13  
Old 12-26-2013, 09:26 AM
Craig J Craig J is offline
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Default Re: Best heads for a gretsch usa custom?

i use either coated ambassador or coated emperor over clear ambassadors. can't go wrong with those. i usually switch em up depending on the venue
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