Gretsch Renown vs USA Custom - worth the £1500+ difference

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I asked Paul Cooper about the effects of wrap, and he said the only time he noticed a difference was with the thicker wraps, like the Glass ones (not the glitter ones, which use a smaller flake).
My glass glitter is defective. lol! So with regular wrap my 16” FT would resonate for 20 seconds instead of the current 15? Wow!
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
No, more like 17.5 instead of 15.
My Gretsch USA floor toms are wrapped w green glass glitter and they are the most resonant floor toms I’ve ever played. I had a turquoise sparkle wrapped Gretsch USA set that had less sustain than the glass glitter ones. I wonder if the wraps were applied differently and if that could be one reason for the difference.
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
I'm biased but I think that going with the Renowns is a great choice.

I've owned expensive drums with diecast hoops in the past and I greatly prefer the 302 hoops. I surmise that the RN2 Renowns merge the Brooklyn's and USA Customs unique qualities, sacrificing only customization in favour of sound and build quality. In a blind test, I think you would be hard pressed to tell them apart, based on the samples I've heard.

Have a listen to this clip and judge for yourself if the Renowns would satisfy your needs:

 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
You won't find anything negative about the renown. Built wise - sound wise. The only thing that one could find problematic, would be the lack of choice : few colours, bass drum depth, tom depth, tom mount on the BD, that kind of thing...
Otherwise, they tune well, the sound is rich with nice sustain, the stock snare drum is a beast, the hardware is strong,...
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
You won't find anything negative about the renown. Buit wise - sound wise. The only thing that one could find problematic, would be the lack of choice : few colours, bass drum depth, tom depth, tom mount on the BD, that kind of thing...
Otherwise, they tune well, the sound is rich with nice sustain, the stock snare drum is a beast, the hardware is strong,...
Good summary!

The snare drum doesn't get mentioned often enough - probably because most shell packs are sold without it - but it's a winner. Ten lugs, all-maple with 302 hoops and a silky smooth throw-off. Killer snare drum.

Personally, I am fine having a narrower selection of finishes to choose from in order to save a couple of hundred bucks. Ditto with drum sizes - another couple of hundred back in my pocket. I would have gone with the 22" kick drum had it been only 16" deep but I'm so glad that I went with the 16x20 instead. There's almost nothing that it can't do.

I don't have much to say about the virgin kick drum debate. I can't imagine why anybody would prefer the aggravation of hanging rack toms off cymbal stands but to each their own. There's no rule that says you have to use the bass drum mount if you don't want to.

I grabbed a screen shot of the currently available configurations in case anyone is interested. You can order the following add-ons as well. I'm expecting a 16" floor tom to arrive any day now.

Add-ons:

Snare Drums: 5x14, 6.5x14
Toms: 7x8, 7x10, 8x12, 9x13
Floor Toms: 14x14, 16x16, 16x18
Bass Drums: 14x18, 16x20, 18x22, 14x24

Shell Packs:


Configurations.JPG
 
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yammyfan

Senior Member
Whose up for starting a thread titled:

Gretsch Renown from a non-Gretsch Player’s perspective.
I don't know that Gretsch has the image "problem" that DW does, if that's where you're going with this. I think the fact that Gretsch has stuck to doing more or less the same thing since the 1950's has spared them some criticism.

Now, Gretsch drums may fall out of fashion at some point but as long as they keep the quality up they'll have an audience, I'm sure.

I used to think that "The Great Gretsch Sound" was marketing hype but then I bought a kit and found out for myself that it's real. Maybe it isn't everybody's thing but it sure is mine.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I don't know that Gretsch has the image "problem" that DW does, if that's where you're going with this. I think the fact that Gretsch has stuck to doing more or less the same thing since the 1950's has spared them some criticism.

Now, Gretsch drums may fall out of fashion at some point but as long as they keep the quality up they'll have an audience, I'm sure.

I used to think that "The Great Gretsch Sound" was marketing hype but then I bought a kit and found out for myself that it's real. Maybe it isn't everybody's thing but it sure is mine.
I was just busting chops. The Renowns are hard to fault. They're like that one guy in school that everyone likes.
 
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I have a 60's Round Badge; 80's Square Badge; 2007 Renown; and a 2020 RN2.

I had a Brooklyn. Regret selling it, but the RN2 is VERY similar from what I recall from my time with it.

The 2007 Renown is close to the 80's kit in sound. The die cast hoops dry out the sound and give it more of a bark / bite, IMO.

They are all great drums.
 
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Darth Vater

Senior Member
Jeesh, I was just looking at my kit history file and I've had 6 Gretsch kits. I shouldn't really count the Catalina Maple as I think they're Gretsch in name only and that's being kind. The other 5 were/are........
Gretsch '57 Onyx (stupid heavy with all those metal chevrons added on top of the shells) sold
RN2 ( Nice kit with BD tom mount, great for gigging) sold
Brooklyn (great kit I had to sell to get in to my Prolite. You can't go wrong with a Brooklyn) sold
USA kit shipped in from St. Louis Guitar Center (owned for 2 days as the bass drum was cracked, finish was checking. I returned it)
Gen 1 Renown (Bought from Dworld member @LeftyDoug . Super nice 2011 kit in 10 of 10 shape, my favorite of the bunch) Still have it

Just my opinion but I don't think there's a big divide in the different model lines of Gretsch. The USA leaves me wanting with respect to it being considered their high end kit. I haven't played a Broadkaster but personally I like the sound of the Brooklyns and the Renowns better than the USA. YMMV.:unsure:
 

Tamaefx

Silver Member
Good summary!

The snare drum doesn't get mentioned often enough - probably because most shell packs are sold without it - but it's a winner. Ten lugs, all-maple with 302 hoops and a silky smooth throw-off. Killer snare drum.
I used to have Renown '57 Motor City, the snare was the deep 6,5", die cast hoops, 20 lugs ; the sound was just perfect to my ears and feel ; punchy, lively enough but still easy to control, deep and low woody sound and killer rimshot.
Maybe not ideal to play funk, but perfect for rock / classic rock.
 

jasz

Junior Member
I think quality control is ironically higher on the renowns, but thats just my experience with messing with USA gretsch drums. YMMV
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I've been looking at Gretsch and an 18 in bass configuration. The Renown's and Brooklyn sure catch my eye, but I can't help notice the Sonor AQ2 maple bop kit for a little less. Then Mapex and Yamaha offer their birch bop kits for even less but I'm not sure how they'd compare. According to two recent threads-there is no difference in any of them cause the shell don't matter it's all in the head. So whatever your choice it's all in your head LOL. I'd like to do an experiment to compare the Gretsch USA custom with their maple/gum to the Pearl maple/gum shells and kits-sadly the Pearl doesn't come in a bop kit. The Renown's sure have some renown-so float to the top in my searches. Still it's in all in the head-what does your head tell you?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
your experience isn’t the first I read of checking. I think that’s the negative with the nitrocellulos. It’s not supposed to shift colors though like it’s counterpart, but both will look like hell if not treated with care.

Nitro will check immediately if exposed to a rapid temperature swing. If you live in a geography with an honest-to-goodness winter, there's no avoiding it.

A number of new "road worn" guitars get their checking by simply holding a can of dust-off upside-down and spraying. The rapid temperature change results in instant checking.

For the OP. If you're looking for a Renown with a USA Custom vibe, I highly recommend the RN series (black square badge with gold lettering).
 

Neilage

Junior Member
Good summary!

I would have gone with the 22" kick drum had it been only 16" deep but I'm so glad that I went with the 16x20 instead. There's almost nothing that it can't do.
When I ordered my new RN2 kit direct from Gretsch, I went with the 18" x 22" BD (RN2-E8246).
As you said, there's almost nothing that it can't do. In hindsight, I wish I had opted for the more portable 16" x 20".
 
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