Gretsch USA Custom


Senior Member
Hey all,

Got to spend a week playing a USA Custom Kit with a hammered brass snare for a week in residency and performance for a new project so I thought I would share my thoughts and maybe compare them to the Brooklyns a bit.

First off - it was a lovely kit to play all around. I was at a big of a disadvantage as it came with remo heads (which aren't my preference) and the kick in particular had basically a coated ambassador and I could absolutely not get it down without it sounding flappy and thin as opposed to the fat punch I typically get with an EMAD style head (even at an 18" size) - but when it first arrived, it was tuned up in a jazzier range and it was absolutely lovely for a trad jazz kind of high tuning sound. So much tone and projection - it was wild - but this was a mixed show that sometimes was jazz, jazz funk and most of the time folk. So it struggled a bit with a low fat tone, but just a bit of mismatch per my usual tech rider which is geared towards jazz/funk and what we ended up playing haha.

As for the rest of the kit - the toms tuned up easy and clear and had tons of projects and tone...lovely. 10,12,14" toms and they were all fantastic.

Compared to the Brooklyn - these had a sharp and more focused sound with a touch less resonance all around. I bet these would sound amazing tuned down with something like an EC2 in the a more pop/funk sound - but they were stunning at a high-ish jazz kind of sound (Which is where my tones usually live regardless of style).

The hammered brass snare was lovely too - crisp, warm, full...never required muffling - great kit.

I was hoping I'd be able to conclude that I liked either my Brooklyns or the USA better - but they are different tools for different jobs - totally equal instruments.

Now I need a USA custom!


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