Gretsch USA Custom Vs. Renown

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Gah, initially, I would say go with the USA's without question; however, now that I've read the responses, I may more likely go with the Renowns for reasons already stated, but I'll state them again for kicks:

I've grown very weary of the beer can kick drums.
I really dislike a 22" kick with a 14" as the biggest floor tom.
I've NEVER heard anything bad about Renowns (I've heard of QC issues with USA-made Gretsch drums, but possibly not of this generation).
No die-cast hoops on the USA's.
I like the tom sizes MUCH better on the Renowns.
Not that it matters, but I like the finish on the Renowns better as well.

Yes, there are better prices out there for Renowns, BUT in my world, it may be worth a little extra cost if you can see the drums and try them out first-hand before you make a decision.
 

rinlow

Active member
I'd buy neither of these, and look for a $700 set of RN1's Renowns (cast hoop, virgin BD) or a USA Custom in reasonable sizes.
Thanks for the advice. Is the main difference between the RN1 and RN2 kit the cast hoop? What makes the RN1's superior? Do they not make those any more?
 

CYP47

Member
Thanks for the advice. Is the main difference between the RN1 and RN2 kit the cast hoop? What makes the RN1's superior? Do they not make those any more?
Not to step on toes but I believe its the cast hoop as well as the shell. The RN2 has some softer Asian maple integrated where the RN1 is all North American Hard Rock maple. They don't make them anymore. They are basically USA Customs but made overseas and not nearly the amount of finish options from my understanding.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Regarding Renowns....

Old Renowns: Gold square badge, stamped 4-point mounts, 14" FT has no legs.
RN Renowns: Black and gold square badge. 4-point cast mounts. Leg'ed 16" floor tom.
The Renown 57' is simply a tastefully decorated/themed RN series.
RN1 Renowns: Same as RN, but circular badge and new (arguably better) 2-point tom mounts.
RN2: Moved to stamped hoop, different wood. New bearing edge copied from a USA custom. Switch to BD mounted toms.

The RN2 strikes me as a Brooklyn clone. RN/RN1 strikes me as a USA Custom clone.

Both are great kits.

Disclosure: I owned an RN series that I upgraded the tom mounts on to RN1. The only facet about the drums that I disliked was the 18" depth on the BD (I prefer classic sizes). Aside from that, they were wonderful. Bought used for ~$900, sold used for ~$700
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I'd buy one of those in a heartbeat. They are slow movers, because too often folks get wrapped around the axel with the chevrons. 5 minutes and I'd increase their value by pealing off the chevrons. They remove nicely and look as though there were no chevrons to begin with. About the only way you could get a cool turquoise colored Renown set too...assuming you like that color.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Buy both then put both for sale escalated $100-150 and let fate determine which sales first-you keep the other 100 bucks or so off. Course I guess if no body would want either you'd be stuck with two kits-so then I'll help you out and take the one no one wants off your hands-for free no less (yeah I'm a swell guy). So see you wouldn't be out anything because it's a no lose proposition.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Thanks for the advice. Is the main difference between the RN1 and RN2 kit the cast hoop? What makes the RN1's superior? Do they not make those any more?
RN1 is where Gretsch started using the softer Asian maple middle plies. The previous version (with the black square badges) were 100% hard rock maple. Both have die cast hoops. I own the previous square badge Renown and a Renown 57 (with the chevrons removed), and have played an RN1. They sound identical to me. However I do prefer the tom mount system of the RN1s, and upgraded my square badge Renowns to these.

Here are the differences between the various Renowns.
(I don't know the official names of the first two versions, but I do know their general specs)

Original chrome badge:
100% NA rock maple shells, square chrome badges, die cast hoops, bass drum tom mounts, hanging floor toms, RIMS-style mounts

Black badge:
100% NA rock maple shells, square black badges, die cast hoops, revised bass drum tom mounts, floor toms with legs, RIMS-style mounts

Renown 57:
Same as the black badge above, but with white chevrons in place of badges. These were only offered in a few solid colors (black, red, light blue, sea foam green) and only came in two configurations: Rock (10/12/16/22) and Bop (12/14/18), with or without a matching 6.5x14 snare. The chevrons can be removed, leaving a clean solid-colored shell (without a badge or any other identifier). If you can find other Gretsch badges, you can install them for a more "authentic" Gretsch look.

RN1:
NA rock maple + Asian maple shells, round badges, die cast hoops, virgin bass drums, floor toms with legs, upgraded GTS tom mounts

RN2:
NA rock maple + Asian maple shells, round badges, 302 "stick chopper" hoops (same as on Brooklyns), gas cap-style bass drum tom mounts, floor toms with legs, upgraded GTS tom mounts

I have a good friend who has owned dozens of kits over the years, and he's a huge Gretsch fan. He absolutely HATED these.
What did he hate about the Renown 57s? The look? They sound fantastic—just as good as any other Renown.
 
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PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
What did he hate about the Renown 57s? The look? They sound fantastic—just as good as any other Renown.
He said that they just sounded horrible compared to his other Renown kit. Said they just sounded muffled compared to his other Renowns. It's been several years since he's said anything about them.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
He said that they just sounded horrible compared to his other Renown kit. Said they just sounded muffled compared to his other Renowns. It's been several years since he's said anything about them.
That's interesting. My 57s sound just a tad livelier than my black badge Renowns. I'm not sure why, but I wonder if it has to do with the high gloss finish on the 57s vs. the matte finish on the other kit.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
The Renown 57's, like any other kit with a highly distinctive aesthetic, instantly alienates 50% of its customer base. Much like division we see among ourselves thinking double-bass kits look Awesome/Asinine.

I think that Gretch did a good job of conveying a 50's diner vibe with the 57's. If I played in a band like Blue Angel, would pick up one for the stage in a heartbeat.

Personally, I think it's important for everyone to get the drums they want, in the sizes and color they want. We play better when we're happy and free from the distraction of dissatisfaction with the look of our instrument.
 

rinlow

Active member
Buy both then put both for sale escalated $100-150 and let fate determine which sales first-you keep the other 100 bucks or so off. Course I guess if no body would want either you'd be stuck with two kits-so then I'll help you out and take the one no one wants off your hands-for free no less (yeah I'm a swell guy). So see you wouldn't be out anything because it's a no lose proposition.
Not a bad idea at all!
 

rinlow

Active member
RN1 is where Gretsch started using the softer Asian maple middle plies. The previous version (with the black square badges) were 100% hard rock maple. Both have die cast hoops. I own the previous square badge Renown and a Renown 57 (with the chevrons removed), and have played an RN1. They sound identical to me. However I do prefer the tom mount system of the RN1s, and upgraded my square badge Renowns to these.

Here are the differences between the various Renowns.
(I don't know the official names of the first two versions, but I do know their general specs)

Original chrome badge:
100% NA rock maple shells, square chrome badges, die cast hoops, bass drum tom mounts, hanging floor toms, RIMS-style mounts

Black badge:
100% NA rock maple shells, square black badges, die cast hoops, revised bass drum tom mounts, floor toms with legs, RIMS-style mounts

Renown 57:
Same as the black badge above, but with white chevrons in place of badges. These were only offered in a few solid colors (black, red, light blue, sea foam green) and only came in two configurations: Rock (10/12/16/22) and Bop (12/14/18), with or without a matching 6.5x14 snare. The chevrons can be removed, leaving a clean solid-colored shell (without a badge or any other identifier). If you can find other Gretsch badges, you can install them for a more "authentic" Gretsch look.

RN1:
NA rock maple + Asian maple shells, round badges, die cast hoops, virgin bass drums, floor toms with legs, upgraded GTS tom mounts

RN2:
NA rock maple + Asian maple shells, round badges, 302 "stick chopper" hoops (same as on Brooklyns), gas cap-style bass drum tom mounts, floor toms with legs, upgraded GTS tom mounts



What did he hate about the Renown 57s? The look? They sound fantastic—just as good as any other Renown.
Thanks for the detailed follow up on this! I really appreciate it.
 

Lennytoons

Senior Member
I have RN1's. They are very heavy and don't like low tunings. 22 x 18 bass drum is a cannon, as good as I've ever played. Toms are more boingy than other drums I've owned.
 
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