New Kit or Expand Existing Kit: Gretsch


So here’s a question I have been pondering....
Would appreciate some feedback and thought it would make a good subject for discussion.

I am a professional jazzer and own a couple of high end bop kits, but do get calls to play with different groups (cover, blues and country) for which I kept an old Pearl Export on hand for just such occasions, and it worked great, but believe me, the export had run its course and was in rough shape. So I unloaded (gave) it to a student who needed a kit thinking it’s time to upgrade the “rock” “non jazz” kit anyway.
So, I started looking around, researching and I’m pretty much sold on a possible new Gretsch Renown, gig kit in larger or what I’ll refer to as rock sizes (22 or maybe 20 with 10, 12 and 16) OR do I just expand on my current USA custom bop, adding say a 20 or 22x16 bass, (not really a fan of 18 inch depths), buying a 10 and maybe a 15 floor?

Of course a couple things come to mind...first of all cost.
I can get a shell pack of Renown’s for just the price of a USA larger bass. Add in the 10 and 15 and that’s a lot of bucks.

Second... heads and tuning.
I prefer emperor or two ply’s on the “rock”kit and of course tune them a bit lower than when I bop. So for convenience, a Renown rock kit would be two ply’d, tuned and ready to go for the gig. The USA Custom would require at least tuning down a bit, and would probably stay single ply because it would seem a bit impractical to re-head from gig to gig. (These aren’t 1,000 dollar gigs were talking here).

The Renown’s seem perfect for what I need, economically make great sense and I can get all the drums in one shot, although I wish I could get the 22 in a 16 at the most.

On the other hand, It would be sweet to have personal shell bank of USA’s to pull from and my bop shells are black nitron so adding components would match of course. I would probably have to add them one at a time though, considering cost.


Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I'd probably do both over time, but start with what makes most practical sense right now.

If you preferred the same heads I'd probably just add to what I have. I really only play Ambassadors if it's my own drums.

For me personally it would also make sense to have a cheaper kit around, though. For certain bar gigs bringing the nice stuff just isn't an option.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Heck, why get the Gretsch Renown? I'd go get another second-hand Pearl Export. For the price of the Renown, you could get TWO Exports to thrash.

Angus Macinnes

Senior Member
I think I would look at the Pearl Decade Maple 3 piece kit in 24/16/13 plus you can expand that kit with a 18 floor tom and either a 12 or 14 inch ride tom. Plus you would still be under the cost of the Gretsch. The 24 bass is 24x14 so not so wide like a 22 x 18 would be.


Silver Member
Is your USA custom in a finish / colour close to any available in the Renown range ?
I like the idea of shell bank of a same line, maybe a bit for the fun of building a mutliple kind of drumset, without any mismatch.
EDIT : like you I wish they come back to 16" deep BD...


Silver Member
Personnally, I have decided to pull out of the add-on market altogether.

Both shops and manufacturers know you are basically a hostage at that point and set the prices accordingly.

Go cash in hands and shop around including reverb and craigslist, you will get a great deal on an awesome kit for what, half to a third of the price of ordering new, even on usa customs in the sizes you want.

Anyhow we seem to be witnessing a current fall in sales almost everywhere, so reverse the tables and try to squeeze a great deal. Be patient.


Platinum Member
If you have your heart set on Gretsch and no other companies, the Renowns are great kits, and they usually are being sold at discounted pricing. If you want to go with something very different to your USA Customs, but still a Renown, you should check out the Renown Walnut kits that are still circulating around:

Or Birch:

Or you can go with the regular maple.


Thank you brothers. Excellent input, ideas and suggestions as always.

I know a few of these topics have been discussed and debated to death but I sure wish the companies would get off the 22x18 only option.
I have played them and know they are awesome for that big, lower fundamental and with the boom effect but not all styles of music is that best for.
14 and 16 depths seem more practical for a marketed do it all, any musical situation kind of kit. With also a nod to the asthetic, transport and stage area considerations. Sometimes inches do matter.

I’m pretty much a Yamaha / Gretsch guy so that’s where I’m at and always have been. Gotta admit I don’t think I have ever played a pearl kit I didn’t like though.

Any thoughts on the Gretsch Renown 20x16 compared to the 22x18?
I believe Gretsch big drums (floors and basses) exemplify one of their drums best qualities.

I have looked at the new Tour Customs from Yamaha, but I don’t know if I can actually drop a grand and a half on something called butterscotch whatever. Yamaha needs to rethink their marketing. Excellent drums though.

Not to get off topic too far but I think the Hybrid Maples are the most under-rated line out there at the moment. I absolutely love mine. I’m just not really wanting to honky tonk bar or cover band party scene them. There more my inside country club, jazz scene or studio kit.

Just looking at the Renown’s or more wrap USA’s as a gig often and sometimes in less than ideal places and situations kit.
I’m just hot on the Renown’s at the moment and their reputation proceeds them so well.

Any thoughts on those two kicks?
Can I get the Gretsch 20x16 (USA or Renown) low and punchy enough for the occasional rock/cover band thing?


I posted a reply earlier today but haven’t seen it yet.
Maybe I did something wrong? Still new to the forum thing.

Moving another question for you.
Can you put a tom Mount on a USA custom bass drum larger than an 18 and Mount two toms on the bass drum, or do they have to be undrilled (virgin)?

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Can you put a tom Mount on a USA custom bass drum larger than an 18 and Mount two toms on the bass drum, or do they have to be undrilled (virgin)?
You can get an USA Custom any way you want.

Virgin bass drums were popular for a while, but benefits are probably more ergonomic than sonic.

Some people don't like the Gretsch hardware and it's been popular to substitute wit Yamaha.

Unless one is obsessed with looks a mount makes sense. Yoy can choose to use it or not.


Platinum Member
One nice thing about the 22x18 virgin bass drums is for the most part, they can be cut down to a 14 nicely, so a bit older Renown would be super cost effective and give you the depth you’d want to lug around.