Going Gretsch. Will I be happy with a set of Renowns?

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Very good first impressions. Everything was well packed and nothing appears to be damaged. I appreciate that the heads were installed on everything save the kick drum. LOVE the kick drum hoops.

The floor tom is shockingly heavy for a 14". It must weigh 18-20 pounds and that's without the legs. Eight lugs though. My Stage Custom Birch has just six lugs so there's an upgrade right there.

Chrome and hardware is top-notch (y)
If those are Die Cast hoops the drums will be heavy. My 14 Renown weighed more than my 16 Catalina. They are fine looking
View attachment 93600
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
is it just the picture or are those floor tom legs extremely thick? they look beefy!
The picture exaggerates the appearance of them but the FT legs are beefy indeed. Not twice as thick as my Yamaha's legs, but close.

Unfortunately, I was a bit quick with the "no damage" assessment :( One of the kick drum tension rods is bent enough to make it unusable so that's a show stopper right there. I think it's one of those irritating quality control issues because the kick drum claws were fully assembled and packed inside a box within a box so it's not like they were crushed or pressed up against anything in transit.

I suppose I can leave one claw off for now. A general question: should I leave two claws off or just one, and given that I like the batter tighter than the resonant head, should I leave them off the resonant side or the batter until I obtain a replacement tension rod?
 
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AzHeat

Platinum Member
The picture exaggerates the appearance of them but the FT legs are beefy indeed. Not twice as thick as my Yamaha's legs, but close.

Unfortunately, I was a bit quick with the "no damage" assessment :( One of the kick drum tension rods is bent enough to make it unusable so that's a show stopper right there. I think it's one of those irritating quality control issues because the kick drum claws were fully assembled and packed inside a box within a box so it's not like they were crushed or pressed up against anything in transit.

I suppose I can leave one claw off for now. A general question: should I leave two claws off or just one, and given that I like the batter tighter than the resonant head, should I leave them off the resonant side or the batter until I obtain a replacement tension rod?
Rods should be easy enough to find. They aren't anything out of the ordinary. There's rarely enough tension on the BD head to cause a concern with leaving one out. I've periodically found one of mine backed out in the past and never had an issue.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I suppose I can leave one claw off for now. A general question: should I leave two claws off or just one, and given that I like the batter tighter than the resonant head, should I leave them off the resonant side or the batter until I obtain a replacement tension rod?
Document with pics, make the calls, and send the e-mails. Vendor first, then manufacturer if there is no resolution.

Once you confirm a replacement has been sent, grab a rubber mallet and a bench vise and straighten it out enough to be useful/workable in the interim.

Gretsch historically subcontracts hardware to Gibraltar (not sure since the DW buyout). If you need a replacement super fast, you can likely grab the identical part from Gibraltar.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Rods should be easy enough to find. They aren't anything out of the ordinary. There's rarely enough tension on the BD head to cause a concern with leaving one out. I've periodically found one of mine backed out in the past and never had an issue.
I borrowed a tension rod from an old Yamaha kit I'm not using at the moment so crisis averted for now, though the Yamaha part is a bit shorter than the Gretsch. I'll want the matching tension rod in there eventually.

The Gretsch lugs are a fair bit more "grindy" than the Yamaha's I've gotten used to, and it's not steady tension like plastic inserts would generate. I'm going to have to give the advantage to Yamaha in that regard.

Nevertheless, the Renowns are really well built and feel nice and sturdy. They feel like they'll be around in 60 years if they're taken care of.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Document with pics, make the calls, and send the e-mails. Vendor first, then manufacturer if there is no resolution.

Once you confirm a replacement has been sent, grab a rubber mallet and some calipers and straighten it out enough to be useful/workable in the interim.
Thanks. I contacted the shop where I bought them and they have replacements for me. Ironically, a Yamaha kit bailed me out for the time being :giggle:
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I borrowed a tension rod from an old Yamaha kit I'm not using at the moment so crisis averted for now, though the Yamaha part is a bit shorter than the Gretsch. I'll want the matching tension rod in there eventually.

The Gretsch lugs are a fair bit more "grindy" than the Yamaha's I've gotten used to, and it's not steady tension like plastic inserts would generate. I'm going to have to give the advantage to Yamaha in that regard.

Nevertheless, the Renowns are really well built and feel nice and sturdy. They feel like they'll be around in 60 years if they're taken care of.
I got rid of the metal washers and put some of these on mine: https://www.amazon.com/Hendrix-Drums-Tension-Sleeved-Washers/dp/B00BFWLY0W/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3PP7O3MKHH4J6&dchild=1&keywords=tension+rod+washers+drum&qid=1592866118&s=musical-instruments&sprefix=tension+rod+washers+,aps,194&sr=1-10

I agree, the Gretsch rods are a bit grindy compared to others. I used a bit of white grease on each when I got them and they have been smooth since: https://www.amazon.com/Lucas-Oil-10533-Lithium-Grease/dp/B004X70LZA/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=white+grease&qid=1592866194&sr=8-3

Odd that Gretsch doesn't do this from the factory, but easy fix.

And yes, the FT legs are beastly!
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
Congrats on the new Renowns! You'll love them, I have no doubt. They may have more resonance than you're used to though, haha. I put a sound ring on my 14" floor tom, and yet it still sustains for days.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Since you went with the 16x20 bass drum, I’ll let you know how I tune my 16x20 Renown to sound more like a 22”. I put a Remo clear PS4 (not the more common PS3) on the batter tuned low, and added a Kickport to the stock reso head, tuned medium-low, with nothing inside the kick. It sounds huge!
I have the 16x20 Renown kick, and if I'm being honest I still haven't gotten the sound dialed in yet. It has so much attack and very little boom. I tried a SuperKick II, and it STILL sounds very attack heavy, which is crazy.

Was that your experience with the default P3 when you first got it?

How did the sound change going from the P3 to the P4? Did it add more boom?

My next step was going to be to change the stock reso head. It currently has a 4" hole. Maybe I need to try a Kickport first?

And @yammyfan, if you port the front head, let me know how your 20" kick sounds. Is it as attacky as mine?
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I got rid of the metal washers and put some of these on mine: https://www.amazon.com/Hendrix-Drums-Tension-Sleeved-Washers/dp/B00BFWLY0W/ref=sr_1_10?crid=3PP7O3MKHH4J6&dchild=1&keywords=tension+rod+washers+drum&qid=1592866118&s=musical-instruments&sprefix=tension+rod+washers+,aps,194&sr=1-10

I agree, the Gretsch rods are a bit grindy compared to others. I used a bit of white grease on each when I got them and they have been smooth since: https://www.amazon.com/Lucas-Oil-10533-Lithium-Grease/dp/B004X70LZA/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=white+grease&qid=1592866194&sr=8-3

Odd that Gretsch doesn't do this from the factory, but easy fix.

And yes, the FT legs are beastly!
Agreed - Hendrix washers are great! I use them on all my kits and will on these as well. I'll be sure to hit the tension rods with a bit of lithium grease when I install the washers. Thanks for the suggestion (y)

Gretsch tension rods are noticeably longer than any others I've seen. I wonder if that's one of the reasons that they hold their tuning so well?
Congrats on the new Renowns! You'll love them, I have no doubt. They may have more resonance than you're used to though, haha. I put a sound ring on my 14" floor tom, and yet it still sustains for days.

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.
Thanks! One thing is certain: Renowns have tremendous sustain. They're also very musical and have a sweetness to their sound I've not heard before. Hitting any two toms at the same time is like playing a chord on a guitar or piano. It's remarkable.

I didn't fully assemble the kit and cymbals as I had company tonight but I noodled around on them for a while. Putting rings on the toms cut down the sustain some but left a pleasing amount of overtones behind. I'll play with tuning and damping this week to see which combo works best for me.

There's so much to like about this kit. Can't wait to get them dialed in!
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I have the 16x20 Renown kick, and if I'm being honest I still haven't gotten the sound dialed in yet. It has so much attack and very little boom. I tried a SuperKick II, and it STILL sounds very attack heavy, which is crazy.

Was that your experience with the default P3 when you first got it?

How did the sound change going from the P3 to the P4? Did it add more boom?

My next step was going to be to change the stock reso head. It currently has a 4" hole. Maybe I need to try a Kickport first?

And @yammyfan, if you port the front head, let me know how your 20" kick sounds. Is it as attacky as mine?
Back when I got my Renown in 2011, they came with Evans heads, which I’m not a fan of. So I immediately swapped them all out for Remos. On the kick, I initially added a coated PS3, and used that for a number of years. That’s also the batter head I use on my other Renown kit with a 22” kick. While I love the coated PS3 on the larger 22 (and still use it), it never seemed to work nearly as well on the 20. It never had much oomph with that head, which is odd since my 22 with the exact same head has TONS of oomph. When I added the Kickport, it was while the coated PS3 was still on it. It definitely helped some, but it still felt a little lacking.

Anyway, I happened to have an old clear PS4 laying around, so one day I decided to put that on. Whoa, what a difference! All of a sudden, my kick sounded huge and more articulate, with a nice, punchy low end. While it doesn’t sound as huge as my 22 (which sounds massive), it did make an enormous difference.
 
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ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
The Gretsch lugs are a fair bit more "grindy" than the Yamaha's I've gotten used to, and it's not steady tension like plastic inserts would generate. I'm going to have to give the advantage to Yamaha in that regard.
You can clean those up with a tap or a thread chaser. Just make sure you have the correct size. Very nice kit btw.
 

Neilage

Junior Member
I upgraded to a new, piano black Renown RN2-E8246 in February as my only kit, and I could not be happier.
I swapped out the stock Emperors with Skyntones, which produce a smooth, warm tone with more controlled sustain.
I use an EMAD2 on my 22" BD batter and it provides that deeper heartbeat thud. Soon, I will replace the BD reso with a Gretsch logo Fiberskyn.
My tension rods were a little "grindy" as well, so I used a little grease and they have held their tuning very well.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
You can clean those up with a tap or a thread chaser. Just make sure you have the correct size. Very nice kit btw.
Thanks!

I only tried one but the Yamaha tension rod that I'm using temporarily was silky smooth compared to the Gretsch rod it replaced. I'm wondering if it's the lug inserts or the tension rods that are the actual problem?

I upgraded to a new, piano black Renown RN2-E8246 in February as my only kit, and I could not be happier.
I swapped out the stock Emperors with Skyntones, which produce a smooth, warm tone with more controlled sustain.
I use an EMAD2 on my 22" BD batter and it provides that deeper heartbeat thud. Soon, I will replace the BD reso with a Gretsch logo Fiberskyn.
My tension rods were a little "grindy" as well, so I used a little grease and they have held their tuning very well.
Interesting. I've never heard drums sustain like the Renowns - the heads sustain more like guitar strings than drum heads. I don't mind because it's easier to subtract than to add sustain. They're wonderful drums.
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
Thanks!

I only tried one but the Yamaha tension rod that I'm using temporarily was silky smooth compared to the Gretsch rod it replaced. I'm wondering if it's the lug inserts or the tension rods that are the actual problem?
No problem. It could be the rods. You could use the dies to clean those up. It may take a while, but it's worth it.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Okay. I am supremely happy with these drums.

Aside from the rock-solid build quality, they have gobs of tone. I'm in love with the 14" floor tom. I'll add the 16" in a few weeks but I doubt I'll ever "need" it. I just happen to like 2-up 2-down.

The toms seem to have equal amounts of resonance and sustain which makes me really happy. I'll leave them wide open when playing un-mic'd but if I need to slap some Moongels or damping rings on them I can do so knowing that it isn't going to kill the tone.

I'm playing the kick drum unported and undamped for now but will be adding a port in the coming days because it makes it easier for sound guys to deal with. My little room does nothing for kick drums but from what I can tell, I'm getting a nice oomph from the 20".

The snare is solidly built with great body and articulation. The throw-off is silky smooth. I'm pleased to see that they used plastic sleeves instead of metal washers on the drum. Nice touch.

Speaking of plastic sleeves; I attempted to replace the metal washes on the toms with Hendrix sleeves but I can't get the washers off the tension rods. No big deal. I hit the rods with a dab of white lithium grease while I had them out and it did indeed make them smoother. Problem solved.

I'm feeling really good about this purchase and so far the Gretsch mystique is living up to the hype. I'll snap some photos of the assembled kit later in case anybody wants to see them. Thanks again to everybody who recommended that I go for it. You were right!
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Okay. I am supremely happy with these drums.

Aside from the rock-solid build quality, they have gobs of tone. I'm in love with the 14" floor tom. I'll add the 16" in a few weeks but I doubt I'll ever "need" it. I just happen to like 2-up 2-down.

The toms seem to have equal amounts of resonance and sustain which makes me really happy. I'll leave them wide open when playing un-mic'd but if I need to slap some Moongels or damping rings on them I can do so knowing that it isn't going to kill the tone.

I'm playing the kick drum unported and undamped for now but will be adding a port in the coming days because it makes it easier for sound guys to deal with. My little room does nothing for kick drums but from what I can tell, I'm getting a nice oomph from the 20".

The snare is solidly built with great body and articulation. The throw-off is silky smooth. I'm pleased to see that they used plastic sleeves instead of metal washers on the drum. Nice touch.

Speaking of plastic sleeves; I attempted to replace the metal washes on the toms with Hendrix sleeves but I can't get the washers off the tension rods. No big deal. I hit the rods with a dab of white lithium grease while I had them out and it did indeed make them smoother. Problem solved.

I'm feeling really good about this purchase and so far the Gretsch mystique is living up to the hype. I'll snap some photos of the assembled kit later in case anybody wants to see them. Thanks again to everybody who recommended that I go for it. You were right!
I love my 14 FT. The 16 is equally as good. Interesting tidbit with the rod washers. Mine were removable. Should be no reason why they can’t be used in conjunction with the plastic ones though.
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
On the Renown i had, the washers were unremovable, it’s a feature. Rather a good feature, it avoids searching washers on the carpet.
What do you think about the new RIMs system? Is it flexible (a bit bouncy) or sturdy?
 
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