Gretsch snare snap-in key practical?

Ghostin one

Senior Member
Just got a used Gretsch snare with the snap-in key holder but no key...

Is it practical or just a gimmick? Does it make noise when you play?

I figure the more drum keys, the better, rather than not having one handy, but if it's no good I won't waste ten bucks on one.


Platinum Member
Works fine.
Unfortunately they do tend to break over time.
Got two used Gretsch snares and they both came with busted holders.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
On my 1980 snare it still holds tight. I do admit I never use the key though since I always have other keys to use - like how Charlie Watts always has that extra key on a rod on his rack tom.

drumming sort of person

It doesn't make noise and the inserted key shouldn't rattle at all. Most keys will fit too. It doesn't have to be a Gretsch key.

If it ever stops holding the key properly, you should be able to tweak it and have it working again. I think it's just some wire under stress.


Gold Member
The practicality is that you always have a key, and you know where it is. Iron Cobras come with a key and allen tool, and I cant tell you how many times that key has bailed me out. I try to bring one with me to every gig, and I have several in the glove box of my truck, but on many occasions I have gotten on stage to set up and realized I didn't have a key on me, so I had to use the one on my pedals. So having one on the snare would be just as useful.

Ghostin one

Senior Member
Thanks for the replies. Eclipse, I agree it's a great idea, I just wanted to know if it actually worked.

There's always a spare in the stick bag somewhere, but hunting for it could be inconvenient depending where you're playing.


Platinum Member
Most keys will fit too. It doesn't have to be a Gretsch key.
No ,in my experience only a Gretsch key works properly.
Peal ,Tama and various others won't fit tightly and will rattle.

I've got two different Gretsch snares (new classic and a 4166 COB ) and they both require a Gretsch key.
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Silver Member
I've molded key holders out of Sugru and put them on my hi-hat stand and other places for ease of access.
Great stuff to fix small issues and hold things you'd rather not lose.


New member
just arrived at this site in the process of searching for another one of these key holders.
i have installed these in a number of drums and like them because i think it's a convenient way to store a key. plus i love Gretsch's streamlined styling, the way the key handle matches the bass drum T-rods, etc.. i have had some trouble with them installing or holding properly but always managed to correct the problem. i always laugh when drummers talk about things like different cymbal sounds and the possibility of things rattling and then proceed to bash the shit out of every piece of their equipment. i think the hip trend today is to have no internal muffling either and to place special gummy things on the head and then store them in their own cute little box, saying mufflers also cause unwanted noise. i have also installed Gretsch tone controls (i have always loved those huge round knobs too) on different drums. i don't usually play loud and i haven't noticed extraneous sounds from either the key holders or tone controls.