Gretsch Brooklyn or Yamaha RC

DrBeat90

New member
Hello people! I’m Dutch drummer for 27 years now. Thinking about letting my 90s recording customs go and get an Gretsch Brooklyn with Nitron wrap. Why?

If Yamaha, I only want the 9000 series. It has that sound. However: due to Corona times I need to watch my money and.. in Holland you can find a secondhand RC like every month. Or I can buy them new again. I fell in love with that Gretschy sound. I want both but, second hand top line Gretsch is nearly impossible to find.

The Yamaha to me is so punchy.. but sometimes a bit too much. Or sometimes I’m tired of that bombastic studio like sound... I always play clear, in this case emeperors. Don’t like the feel and sound of a coated head. My taste has changed a bit and I want that ‘other’ wellknown sound. Like wanting to have a strat guitar and an Les Paul or other Gibson.

I could always switch back to RC easily. I only play the Yamaha because it feels like a part of my playing and the sound I hear in my head when hearing certain records.

Is letting my 10/12 toms 14/16 Floors and 22x16 kick go okay or a horrible idea? I really dislike the undrilled Gretsch kick tbh, I like it simple.

you guys are the experts, hope somebody could enlighten me. :)

Attached are recent pics of my kit.
 

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harryconway

Platinum Member
Go for it. The Brooklyn's maple/poplar shell is quite different from the RC .... which seems to be what you want. I've had 3 Yamaha Recording Custom kits, and currently have a pre-RC 9000 kit (78/79) in 18x14, 12x8, 16x16. So yes ..... I agree with you ..... you can always score another Yamaha RC kit. Yamaha's been making them longer than any other drum company making any other series. Great drums, for sure, but they're not made out of unobtanium.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Two totally different tone characteristics from the two models. I considered the RCs as an option and liked them. Great drums, but the Brooklyn was the tone and characteristic I was looking for. Sound like you’re looking for a change, so go for it!
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Your RC kit looks fantastic, and I'm sure they sound as good as they look. That said, sometimes changing things up can inspire your playing. So if the Brookyns are speaking to you, and you can afford to make the change, I'd say go for it! Personally, I LOVE Brooklyns, even more than I love RCs. But of course it's your decision to make.

Yamaha's been making them longer than any other drum company making any other series.
Haven't Gretsch been making the USA Customs for longer? (not 100% certain, so it's a legitimate question)
 

Ryan Culberson

Well-known member
I’ll second rebonn’s comment. The RC ain’t broke. I’ve owned Brooklyn’s. Great drums but nothing special. The RC is special. Nothing else sounds like it. If you have to go Gretsch, I’d go USA Custom. Those are special, and uniquely “Gretsch”.
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
Haven't Gretsch been making the USA Customs for longer? (not 100% certain, so it's a legitimate question)
'78/'79 Yamaha 9000 series had the split lug. 1980, they switched to the long high tension lug, and the RC came into being.

1981 Gretsch catalog here ..... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_81.pdf

1999 Gretsch catalog here .... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_99.pdf

2005 Gretsch catalog here .... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_2005.pdf

No mention of USA Customs in any of those. First mention of USA Customs I can find is 2011. So, somewhere between 2005/2006 and 2011 (my best estimate), USA Customs came into being.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
'78/'79 Yamaha 9000 series had the split lug. 1980, they switched to the long high tension lug, and the RC came into being.

1981 Gretsch catalog here ..... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_81.pdf

1999 Gretsch catalog here .... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_99.pdf

2005 Gretsch catalog here .... http://www.drumarchive.com/Gretsch/Gretsch_2005.pdf

No mention of USA Customs in any of those. First mention of USA Customs I can find is 2011. So, somewhere between 2005/2006 and 2011 (my best estimate), USA Customs came into being.
Right, they weren’t actually called USA Customs back in the 70s, 80s, etc. But it’s the same maple/gum shells, lugs and hoops. So in my mind, that means they’re the same drums. And that formula has been around since at least the early 70s, I believe. Which would make them older than RCs. Not to mention, Yamaha stopped making RCs for a number of years before reintroducing them about 5 or so years ago.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Is there no way you could have both?

I'm very familiar with Yamaha's birch drums having owned a Birch Custom Absolute with those same Hokkaido birch shells as the Recording Customs and a current generation Stage Custom Birch. I'm not suggesting that the Stage Customs are Recording Custom or Birch Absolute killers but with the right heads, it's scary just how close they come. They definitely give you that great Yamaha birch sound.

I also own a set of Gretsch drums and they are refreshingly different than my Yamaha birch kit. The Yamaha's have that great attack and focused sound whereas the Gretsch kit has that characteristic maple warmth and resonance.

It's good to have both options, is the point I am trying to make.
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
Aren't those 90's RCs made by Sakae? I'd keep those if that's the case. Maybe just grab a used Renown kit to go with what you have?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Right, they weren’t actually called USA Customs back in the 70s, 80s, etc. But it’s the same maple/gum shells, lugs and hoops. So in my mind, that means they’re the same drums. And that formula has been around since at least the early 70s, I believe. Which would make them older than RCs. Not to mention, Yamaha stopped making RCs for a number of years before reintroducing them about 5 or so years ago.
No need to call them USA Customs, if you don't have another model, or making a line overseas! Actually, it would have sounded kinda silly at the time.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Hello people! I’m Dutch drummer for 27 years now. Thinking about letting my 90s recording customs go and get an Gretsch Brooklyn with Nitron wrap. Why?

If Yamaha, I only want the 9000 series. It has that sound. However: due to Corona times I need to watch my money and.. in Holland you can find a secondhand RC like every month. Or I can buy them new again. I fell in love with that Gretschy sound. I want both but, second hand top line Gretsch is nearly impossible to find.

The Yamaha to me is so punchy.. but sometimes a bit too much. Or sometimes I’m tired of that bombastic studio like sound... I always play clear, in this case emeperors. Don’t like the feel and sound of a coated head. My taste has changed a bit and I want that ‘other’ wellknown sound. Like wanting to have a strat guitar and an Les Paul or other Gibson.

I could always switch back to RC easily. I only play the Yamaha because it feels like a part of my playing and the sound I hear in my head when hearing certain records.

Is letting my 10/12 toms 14/16 Floors and 22x16 kick go okay or a horrible idea? I really dislike the undrilled Gretsch kick tbh, I like it simple.

you guys are the experts, hope somebody could enlighten me. :)

Attached are recent pics of my kit.
I would keep the heck out of that RC - that's such a nice set....that particular sound defined what a "good" drum sound was in my head for a long time.


I've played both in great depth and I now have a set of the Brooklyns that I love.

They are very different sounds...the Brooklyns are round and warm and big - they're not as punchy and defined of a sound as the RCs - and that's actually one of the things I like about them. The Brooklyn's had a lot more sustain and body than Recording Customs - you get a longer note which makes the Brooklyn's feel a lot more alive than RCs. RCs to me are amazing at being fat and deep and articulate and all of those are great things - but the Brooklyns are a different beast entirely.

So far the Brooklyn's have been one of the best kits I've ever owned - better than my Yamaha Maple Customs - which were my benchmark for a long time and better than Renowns - which was surprising, but kind of expected.

Like you said - it's like having two guitars - can't go wrong with having BOTH options.

FYI - you can absolutely get a Brooklyn with a drilled bass drum mount.
 

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Chunkaway

Silver Member
I have had both, so I may be able to answer this question. The hype around the RCs is a bit surprising to me after all these years. They were huge in the 80s but still? The drums are very well made, as is almost everything Yamaha makes. However, the tight, bright, punchy sound was not for me. The bass drum for the RCs was always lacking for my needs. It always seemed to be lacking in presence and fullness. The toms were nice - spoke fast and clearly- but they lacked some warmth that I prefer. If I was playing lots of fast passages, I’d definitely consider them though.

I know, I know...Steve Gadd.... Sorry to say, I am no Steve Gadd.

The Brooklyn drums I own are like a cross between modern Classic Maples and vintage Gretsch drums. They have the warmth of vintage, but they also have some of the attack of modern drums. Because of this, they are more versatile, in my experience, than the RCs. The drums are not as attack heavy as the RCs or the USA Customs, so keep that in mind If you are playing fast passages.

I think the Brooklyn drums are very underrated, especially for the money. If I was asked to choose between these two sets, I’d pick the Brooklyns.
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
It's a funny... this versatility thing that we talk about all the time.

I watch bands play live and I listen to recordings old and new and I can't ever say that I've thought to myself "something's off with those drums... they don't sound right for that style of music." I'm not talking about tuning or anything like that of course.

I wonder if we don't make a bigger deal of this than is strictly necessary? I think I'm a typical listener in that drums just sound like drums to me. You would think I'd be more critical but for some reason I'm not.

Anybody else feel the same way?
 

Darth Vater

Senior Member
I have had both, so I may be able to answer this question. The hype around the RCs is a bit surprising to me, after all these years. The drums are very well made, as is almost everything Yamaha makes. However, the tight, bright, punchy sound was not for me. The bass drum for the RCs was always lacking for my needs. It always seemed to be lacking in presence and fullness. The toms were nice - spoke fast and clearly- but they lacked some warmth that I prefer. If I was playing lots of fast passages, I’d definitely consider them though.

I know, I know...Steve Gadd.... Sorry to say, I am no Steve Gadd.

The Brooklyn drums I own are like a cross between modern Classic Maples and vintage Gretsch drums. They have the warmth of vintage, but they also have some of the attack of modern drums. Because of this, they are more versatile, in my experience, than the RCs. The drums are not as attack heavy as the RCs or the USA Customs, so keep that in mind If you are playing fast passages.

I think the Brooklyn drums are very underrated, especially for the money. If I was asked to choose between these two sets, I’d pick the Brooklyns.
Your description of the Brooklyns is very much how I felt about them too. I think the Brooklyn line is best line Gretsch makes. I had a chance to a/b them and a set of USA Customs for a couple days and found them to be about dead even with the exception of the bass drum sound. Advantage Brooklyn. YMMV
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
Slightly off-topic but I'd love to hear the current Renowns, Brooklyn's and USA Customs in a shootout with identical heads and tunings, the way that DCP does. They did this with a bunch of Yamahas and Ludwigs last year and it was surprising how similar they all sounded.

I know that the more expensive drums are objectively better but I would still like to hear a direct comparison for myself. It's completely subjective on my part but I feel like my Stage Custom Birch kit is giving me 80% (or more) of the premium Yamaha experience for less than 10% of the cost. I can't help but wonder how Gretsch drums scale up by comparison?
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Slightly off-topic but I'd love to hear the current Renowns, Brooklyn's and USA Customs in a shootout with identical heads and tunings, the way that DCP does. They did this with a bunch of Yamahas and Ludwigs last year and it was surprising how similar they all sounded.

I know that the more expensive drums are objectively better but I would still like to hear a direct comparison for myself. It's completely subjective on my part but I feel like my Stage Custom Birch kit is giving me 80% (or more) of the premium Yamaha experience for less than 10% of the cost. I can't help but wonder how Gretsch drums scale up by comparison?
I would also like that kind of comparison. Renown have really impressed me (build quality and sound) and I don’t how the Brooklyn differenciate from them.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I would also like that kind of comparison. Renown have really impressed me (build quality and sound) and I don’t how the Brooklyn differenciate from them.
A bit warmer and vintage sounding, but still unmistakably Gretsch. I dig their balance of modern and vintage, but it wouldn’t stop me from getting a set of Renown’s too.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I would also like that kind of comparison. Renown have really impressed me (build quality and sound) and I don’t how the Brooklyn differenciate from them.

I've owned both and had the exact same heads / tuning on both - the Brooklyn's are bigger and warmer sounding with slightly less attack and a longer note.


The only problem in my comparison on honest reflection is that my Renowns had the die cast hoops...which would emphasize attack...and...shorten the note haha.

However in watching old videos with the renown - the difference in overall tone and warmth is apparent enough that while the hardware contributed - the difference in construction is likely the main reason...which in a lot of ways I'm glad about: one would hope that jumping up in price like that would from the same manufacturer would lend itself to a slightly better sound despite how great the Renowns are.

I'll tell you one thing though - Gretsch makes an amazing kit all around....says a lot that their low end is so on part with their high end (well - I mean, Catalina is technically the low end).


Slightly off-topic but I'd love to hear the current Renowns, Brooklyn's and USA Customs in a shootout with identical heads and tunings, the way that DCP does. They did this with a bunch of Yamahas and Ludwigs last year and it was surprising how similar they all sounded.

I know that the more expensive drums are objectively better but I would still like to hear a direct comparison for myself. It's completely subjective on my part but I feel like my Stage Custom Birch kit is giving me 80% (or more) of the premium Yamaha experience for less than 10% of the cost. I can't help but wonder how Gretsch drums scale up by comparison?
DCP DID do a shout out of the Brooklyn, Broadkaster, USA Customs....but I know we all want the Renowns in that:

 

yammyfan

Senior Member
A bit warmer and vintage sounding, but still unmistakably Gretsch. I dig their balance of modern and vintage, but it wouldn’t stop me from getting a set of Renown’s too.
That's about what I would expect - a bit more richness and complexity from the Brooklyn's.

Having owned a top of the line kit until very recently, I found that it was the materials and construction more than the sound that separated that kit from the mid-range kits I also owned at the time.
I've owned both and had the exact same heads / tuning on both - the Brooklyn's are bigger and warmer sounding with slightly less attack and a longer note.

The only problem in my comparison on honest reflection is that my Renowns had the die cast hoops...which would emphasize attack...and...shorten the note haha.

However in watching old videos with the renown - the difference in overall tone and warmth is apparent enough that while the hardware contributed - the difference in construction is likely the main reason...which in a lot of ways I'm glad about: one would hope that jumping up in price like that would from the same manufacturer would lend itself to a slightly better sound despite how great the Renowns are.
I think that the 302 hoops on the current Renowns add back some of that sustain that you notice with the Brooklyn's. I would still hope and expect the Brooklyn's to sound even better than the Renowns which is no slight to the Renowns, of course. You don't even have to qualify them using the descriptor "for what they are" when talking about them as they are remarkable as-is. It's just a fact that if you want even more of that secret sauce, Gretsch has plenty on tap for you.

My interest in a shootout is purely aspirational as I plan to stick with Gretsch for some time and I'd love to hear the top four lines compared so that I can get a sense of what each line brings to the table and what direction I might go in next time.
 
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