Gretsch Stave Snare WOW

BGH

Gold Member
I was looking to get a new snare for my Yamaha Oak Custom kit, Bryce Canyon Brown. I wanted an Oak 14" in a natural finish to contrast with the brown kit. Preferred depth of 6.5 to 8". Initially, I thought I'd buy an Oak Custom snare in natural, and saw a couple for sale. But the more I thought about it, I decided to look around for a stave snare. I decided I have a few ply snares already, so time for something a bit different. But, I didn't want to spend $600-$1000.

I noticed these Gretsch stave snares. They are made in a few styles, including an Oak 6.5x14. I listened to the videos that I could find and was impressed, Saw a dealer on eBay selling one for $386 on sale (brand new), free shipping and a new beato case included. This had to be the one, so I took the plunge. Other dealers are asking up to $900 for some of these. There are Cherry shell, Maple/Walnut zig-zag, Barn Board and Maple Construction versions.

First, the thing is heavy. The shell is about 3/4" thick. 2nd impression: the thing looks really well made. Its made in Thailand, as it turns out (I had no clue where it was made), but the quality looks top notch. You can barely see the seams between the staves. The exterior finish is super smooth. All the hardware looks like it was installed extremely well. The triple flange hoops appear to be thicker than 2.3mm, so I imagine they are 3.0mm. The only thing that looks a little cheap are the snare wires, so i ordered a set of Puresounds.

I got a chance to put it through its paces today. Man, this thing is a beast. It can do it all, with ease. It has snare beds so its pretty sensitive. Has a nice crisp tone at low volume. However, when you dig into it, this thing just explodes. This is the first snare i have played, that felt like this - when I really hit it, it gives it right back to me. In other words, it seems to almost multiply my energy, if that makes any sense. And I don't consider myself a heavy hitter. But, I found myself wincing, this thing was responding so purely. You know how you feel a kick drum in your chest? Well, this does the same thing to your head. Make no mistake, it will also do medium volume very well, also.

I'm totally impressed. I started with it wide open, but found a medium tuning with just a small piece of moongel (maybe a 1/4 or 1/2 a piece) nailed the best sound. If you prefer wide open, it sounds great there also. Its fairly dry, so doesn't have tons of ring. The stock heads are Ambassadors (the real ones) for both sides. Here is a video, which says Cherry, but its the Oak: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9XBL6oYeBI
 

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CreeplyTuna

Silver Member
You're right you can barely see the seems! Looks like a fantastic snare, wish I could try one. And your kit kicks butt too, man. Have fun!
 

BGH

Gold Member
Thanks. I weighed it, and its something like 13-14 lbs, which is twice as heavy as many snare drums, probably 3x some snares. Of course, every model drum has its unique weight.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I never noticed major manufacturers making stave drums until now.. I saw a Natal one in a drum shop the other week, now this. I had a really good experience with an older brady 14x6.5 and I would like to own one someday. But I'm not keen on the price either.

Looks really nice, good score.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I was looking at all of the Gretsch snares on eBay last night and really like the stave. Very nice congrats.


S1-6514SSO-SN
Oak Stave 6.5x14 Snare Drum
BADGE: Bolt-on Gold Series round badge
SHELL: Stave construction / 30 individual 7/8” thick precision pin-fit staves
FINISH: Satin natural lacquer
THROW-OFF: Fully adjustable side pull with fixed butt plate
BEARING EDGE: 45 degree
HEADS: Remo® Heads: Coated Ambassador Batter, Hazy Ambassador snare side
FEATURES: 20 Strand snare wires, Black nylon snare strip, Black nylon tension rod washers
HOOPS: 3.0mm triple flanged
HARDWARE: Chrome
 

pcastag

Senior Member
Nice, I'll bet those are made in the same Thailand plant where they make all the LP, Toca Meinl congas etc. Looks to me to be the siam oak variety, basically rubberwood, same stuff used on all the mass produced congas. Great to be able to get a well made stave snare for such a good price!
 

BGH

Gold Member
I was looking at all of the Gretsch snares on eBay last night and really like the stave. Very nice congrats.


S1-6514SSO-SN
Oak Stave 6.5x14 Snare Drum
BADGE: Bolt-on Gold Series round badge
SHELL: Stave construction / 30 individual 7/8” thick precision pin-fit staves
FINISH: Satin natural lacquer
THROW-OFF: Fully adjustable side pull with fixed butt plate
BEARING EDGE: 45 degree
HEADS: Remo® Heads: Coated Ambassador Batter, Hazy Ambassador snare side
FEATURES: 20 Strand snare wires, Black nylon snare strip, Black nylon tension rod washers
HOOPS: 3.0mm triple flanged
HARDWARE: Chrome
Thanks, and thanks for the specs!! I was correct in thinking the hoops were 3.0mm; they are very thick for triple flange.

I never noticed major manufacturers making stave drums until now.. I saw a Natal one in a drum shop the other week, now this. I had a really good experience with an older brady 14x6.5 and I would like to own one someday. But I'm not keen on the price either.

Looks really nice, good score.
Thanks. Yeah, I hear you on the price. This is actually on the low end of stave pricing. I don't know if you could put one together for this price, unless you already had the parts and you could buy the shell and do the edges and drilling yourself. There are a few on eBay that are lower priced than this. Most are homemade, although there is a Wittman, a Spaun and a few by a shop called HCD that are lower priced that are used.

The same seller I bought mine from has the Maple/Walnut zig zag for $300 less than everyone else's $900 asking price: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gretsch-6-5x14-Maple-Walnut-Segment-Stave-Zig-Zag-Limited-Edition-Snare-drum-New-/111267955452?pt=US_Drums&hash=item19e81642fc
 
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BGH

Gold Member
Maybe not sub-$400, but I assembled a stave drum for around $450.
Yeah, I couldn't beat the price, fully assembled and me doing no work. It was the one to buy in my mind.

Nice, I'll bet those are made in the same Thailand plant where they make all the LP, Toca Meinl congas etc. Looks to me to be the siam oak variety, basically rubberwood, same stuff used on all the mass produced congas. Great to be able to get a well made stave snare for such a good price!
Thanks. You could be right. In fact, I think I read in one of the listings for these drums something like 'made with the same process used to manufacture conga drums.' Or something to that effect.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Wow. Bruce, it's like we share a brain or something.
Earlier today, a Gretsch stave snare 6.5 x 14 in barn board finish appeared at my drum shop. I hadn't intended on buying a snare today but holy crap...exactly as you describe sonically.

I get home and check to see if anyone else has any experience with these..do a search on Drummerworld...and here I am.
This is my first stave snare. This snare has endless guts and punch. Just keeps giving back, just like you say. Tuning range is extreme in either direction, it just keeps sounding good. There's really something to do with the vertical wood grain and the snares' sensitivity.
Ka-Pow!! And I don't have to hit it hard. Damn. Yet it's not a brute, I could use this drum for latin/jazz just as much as a rock gig

Neal
 

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BGH

Gold Member
Yeah, Neal, this is getting to be kind of interesting. Are you my long lost twin? We definitely have similar tastes when it comes to drum gear. Glad you like the snare. I was using a little piece of Moongel on mine, but took it off just to get the full Stave effect. I still haven't installed the Puresounds, but will do that when I have some time. The funny thing is, I bought this to use with my Oaks, but man does it sound good with the new BCA/MCA kit. For some reason, the crispness and openness of the snare really blends with that kit. Enjoy!

Bruce
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
If you like the vibe, it's unlikely to be your last Neal :) The thinner shell staves are way more impressive again! Congratulations :)
Unlikely to be my last is right. I have had my eye on a Guru for a while now. All of your videos and demos sound incredible; and I really like the construction and finish.

Here's the thing about buying drums at my local shop...since I have no experience with stave drums, if I try this out and I don't love it (cost me $750 after tax ) , I can easily return it within 30 days. I feel like I'm not ready for a Guru, but I really do think there is at least a snare in my future. Just taking my time with it.

The thickness/weight of this drum has me wondering if it's really necessary. There's no doubt that it sounds great. It is really well made and I love the barn board finish.

Gigging it tonight (will need my extra-heavy duty snare stand) - I'll give a full gig report tonight after the show!

Neal
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Yeah, Neal, this is getting to be kind of interesting. Are you my long lost twin? We definitely have similar tastes when it comes to drum gear. Glad you like the snare. I was using a little piece of Moongel on mine, but took it off just to get the full Stave effect. I still haven't installed the Puresounds, but will do that when I have some time. The funny thing is, I bought this to use with my Oaks, but man does it sound good with the new BCA/MCA kit. For some reason, the crispness and openness of the snare really blends with that kit. Enjoy!

Bruce
Yes, lost twins I'm sure!
I'll be gigging mine tonight with my MCAN Copper sparkle kit 12/14/20. I did install Puresounds on the Gretsch last night - standard issue on almost every snare I own, unless the snare already has 'special' wires. THis drum had plain old steel wires, which sounded fine but - meh...I'm not one for mediocrity. If I know it can improved , even slightly, I will make the effort.

Neal
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
The thickness/weight of this drum has me wondering if it's really necessary. There's no doubt that it sounds great.
Neal
The thickness isn't really necessary as such in terms of making a good sounding drum, but the thicker shell will add considerable focus to the sound, shorten the note, & raise the pitch - all of which are valid design choices.

In terms of construction, stave shells are inherently less stable than other shell forms, & they derive their rigidity from thickness as well as accuracy of intersecting angles. It's much easier to make a stave shell thick than it is to make a stave shell thin. Thinner stave shells have a lower pitch, longer note, more defined fundamental, & open up more easily, but take much more care & time to make. Again, all valid design choices.

In terms of cut/penetration, the thicker shell of your drum is a great choice in a loud band setting, also good for faster work in terms of articulation :) Have fun!
 

MatrixClaw

Senior Member
Nice! I really like the zig-zag snare I tried. Price is pretty steep on these, though. Think I'll stick with my M4 Drum Co. 14x8" Walnut / Maple stave :p
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
Played the Gretsch stave last night. Small bar gig, played all 70's rock (theme night). It was really great for this kind of music.

Snare was punchy,fat and crispy all at the same time. Guitar player kept saying "it sounds snare-y!!". Pretty much everything that has been said so far in this thread.
One thing I found interesting - cross sticks were a little bit on the weak side. Don't know why.
I'm gonna try a die cast batter and see what happens with that. Although I haven't recorded with it yet, I'd be willing to bet it would be a champ in the studio.
I think I'll keep it. :)
 

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