Did Gretsch Change the Renown's Shells?

Signals

Senior Member
(I posted this on another forum as well)

I've been waiting for more info on the new Renown's, and I see that Gretsch finally added some to their site. However, I noticed that one section of their literature states:

"...Gretsch still uses the proven and unique Renown formula that combines North American Rock Maple with a slightly softer maple species...."

I thought those kits were 100% N.A. maple? Now, I don't want to start a flame war over wood species, I'd simply like to know what the story is. I plan on purchasing a new kit soon, and the Renown is on my short list. I owned one before, and it sounded fantastic. I'd like to be certain that I'll be getting the same sound as before if I purchase another kit.

Oh, one other thing, I seen that 2 of the finishes are prefixed with "poly," and I assume that this means they are urethane instead of lacquer?

(By the way, the series is now called the 'RN1' Renown).
 

porter

Platinum Member
I would guess they mean it is the softer Chinese maple often used in lower-end maple kits. But I don't think it'll be that noticeable of a change, especially with their high-mass hardware. Kind of disappointing that they're doing this since the price is actually going up, but hey, they're probably still great drums.
 

opentune

Platinum Member

I thought those kits were 100% N.A. maple? Now, I don't want to start a flame war over wood species, I'd simply like to know what the story is.


Lets be realistic about the human ear. I'm pretty certain that the human ear will not be able to discern the difference in sound between a Renown drum with 100% N.Amer. maple plies, and one with a few non-N.Amer. maple plies....all other factors the same.

Worry not....enjoy your new Renowns :)
 

porter

Platinum Member
Oh wait, "still uses"? Huh. I guess they've always used the cheaper inside plies, but really, almost every ply drum manufacturer around does that, so if this isn't a change then I'm not as concerned (even with the minimal sound difference).
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
That looks like a change to me. My understanding of the Renowns was that they used Nth. American maple shells but put them together in Asia......just like the Ludwig Centennials used to be.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I would think that the edges, silver sealer interior, and lacquer finishes even in the sparkles (or are they going to wraps in this new series?) would make more of a difference than a few softer plies. Most of the non-Gretsch vintage drums used plies of wood softer than maple like mahogany. Until the popularity of all birch kits, I think only Gretsch was into harder woods like maple and then reinforcing that with even harder gumwood.

That said, I guess this means that (sound difference or not) my older all N/A maple Renowns just got more valuable as the internet herd is probably going to come down on Gretsch for "cheapening" the line.

Frankly, what I've learned from selling and playing wooden instruments over 50 years, is that the biggest difference comes from playing them. Making the wood vibrate and settle in. Most of the vintage craze comes from what has happened to whatever woods were used by decades of being played.

So buy what you like, and get started "aging" them.
 

Signals

Senior Member
Lets be realistic about the human ear. I'm pretty certain that the human ear will not be able to discern the difference in sound between a Renown drum with 100% N.Amer. maple plies, and one with a few non-N.Amer. maple plies....all other factors the same.

Worry not....enjoy your new Renowns :)


Thanks all for your feedback.

Louis,

I totally understand what you're saying, but to me it's like buying a ring with three diamonds in the setting and then finding out that the middle diamond is fake. Sure, it looks just as good as the other two, and only someone with a keen eye would ever spot the difference, but if I *thought* I paid for 3 real diamonds then I would want 3 real diamonds. Of course, I'd consider the ring with the fake setting if the price was reduced accordingly, but I don't see that in this case.

As a matter of fact, I'd bet that if most drummers were offered one of two of the exact same Renown's, with the sound being the same, and the only difference was that one had full NA maple shells and the other had partial NA maple shells, the large majority would take the full maple shells. I know I would -- just because I'd 'feel' like I'm getting more for my money.

...and I'd bet the same would apply if a drummer had to choose between a drum with a fake veneer and one with a real veneer - the drummer would take the real-veneered drum almost every time, even if they couldn't tell the difference. Again, because they'd feel like they're getting more for their money.

I'll likely buy the kit regardless, but hey, I'm here to have some fun. :)
 
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tamadrm

Platinum Member
That looks like a change to me. My understanding of the Renowns was that they used Nth. American maple shells but put them together in Asia......just like the Ludwig Centennials used to be.

Gretsch Renown and USA Custom use USA made Keller shells since Jasper went out of the shell making business.

Jasper supplied Gretsch with shells for a very long time,and those shells were maple/gumwood also.

I'm not certain of the number of plys(six I think),but they are North American rock maple and gum wood.

Gumwood is similar to poplar and considered a soft wood

This is the same ply layup that Gretsch has been using for decades,and is a part of thet "great Gretsch sound".

Steve B
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Gretsch Renown and USA Custom use USA made Keller shells since Jasper went out of the shell making business.

Jasper supplied Gretsch with shells for a very long time,and those shells were maple/gumwood also.

I'm not certain of the number of plys(six I think),but they are North American rock maple and gum wood.

Gumwood is similar to poplar and considered a soft wood

This is the same ply layup that Gretsch has been using for decades,and is a part of thet "great Gretsch sound".

Steve B


^ This.

The original "great Gretch sound" was from 6 ply shells that were NOT 100% maple, and did indeed have a "softer" wood in the middle.
 

Signals

Senior Member
^ Got it, thanks very much. Those kits sound fantastic, and I hoped that Gretsch didn't alter their formula.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I like the new badge and the new mount and mounting bracket. It's more like the New Classic mount.
there are two series now. Renown, and the new RN1 Renown
The Renown Maple is all Maple
 

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Aeolian

Platinum Member
Gretsch Renown and USA Custom use USA made Keller shells since Jasper went out of the shell making business.

Jasper supplied Gretsch with shells for a very long time,and those shells were maple/gumwood also.

I'm not certain of the number of plys(six I think),but they are North American rock maple and gum wood.

Gumwood is similar to poplar and considered a soft wood

This is the same ply layup that Gretsch has been using for decades,and is a part of thet "great Gretsch sound".

Steve B

By the name it's easy to assume that gum is a soft wood, but in reality it's a bit over 2000 on the Janka hardness scale. Similar to Jarrah or Purple Heart. Standard Rosewood is 1780, Rock maple is 1450, and Poplar is 540. When most manufacturers were using poplar, mahogany and other medium hard woods, Gretsch was creating very stiff shells.

So the all rock maple Keller shelled Renowns are less stiff than the "formula" standard USA Keller or Jasper drums, but harder than the Chinese maple Catalinas. It would appear that the new Renowns are somewhere in between. Probably leaning more towards the older Renowns than the Cats.
 

porter

Platinum Member
"...Gretsch still uses the proven and unique Renown formula that combines North American Rock Maple with a slightly softer maple species...."

As far as I know, gumwood is not a species of maple. I certainly don't think there's any in these new Renowns.

Signals, I agree wholeheartedly with your diamond analogy.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
As far as I know, gumwood is not a species of maple. I certainly don't think there's any in these new Renowns.

You're quite correct, but we're moving further and further away from the original question now.

The OP was not whether or not Gretsch of old used maple or gum wood. It was simply, did the older Renown's use only Nth. American maple and are they different from the newer Renown's that are using Nth American Rock Maple with a slightly softer maple species? The answer is yes on both accounts.
 

porter

Platinum Member
You're quite correct, but we're moving further and further away from the original question now.

The OP was not whether or not Gretsch of old used maple or gum wood. It was simply, did the older Renown's use only Nth. American maple and are they different from the newer Renown's that are using Nth American Rock Maple with a slightly softer maple species? The answer is yes on both accounts.

Yup. Slight change, probably no audible difference, but if it bothers someone, so be it.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
They could make them from balsam and I would still love the new Renown N1 design, and lugs.
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
Whenever there's a softer wood of whatever species I'm personally happy. I had a conversation with Gene Okamoto from Pearl about why (to me) did cheaper drums sound so much better! To me and guess what.. He totally agreed but people think more money equals better sound..its ingrained into people. Well? Some drummers get raves about their sound using inferior wood haha haha...shhhh..its the world's best kept secret.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Whenever there's a softer wood of whatever species I'm personally happy. I had a conversation with Gene Okamoto from Pearl about why (to me) did cheaper drums sound so much better! To me and guess what.. He totally agreed but people think more money equals better sound..its ingrained into people. Well? Some drummers get raves about their sound using inferior wood haha haha...shhhh..its the world's best kept secret.
noQUrh9.png


Wow Bozozoid, this is quite a discovery. It's a little dusty, but according to my field notes it appears to be from 2013 AD.

But seriously, maybe you just like the sound of Poplar or other soft woods.

Nothing wrong with liking that sound. In fact it's a huge advantage...you don't have to pay so much for a great sound.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Interesting Gretsch and I think TAMA offering hickory drums. I believe the gum wood is in middle of Gretsch maple/gum wood shells. I think my Pearl decade are “all maple” but it doesn’t specify NAmer. So I wager it’s an Asian species of maple. Still sound good.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If a maple tree is grown in NA and it's on the same latitude as a maple tree grown in Asia...what's the difference again? Is it a different genus?
 
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