Review: Gretsch Legend brass snare (plus a bonus S-Hoop review!)

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
OK, I searched on DW for a review of these snares and didn't see any. I guess no one has played these yet, so I'll post a review.

I purchased a 14x6.5 Gretsch Legend brass snare online a month ago. Normally I would wait to hear the drum and/or read some reviews from people that I trust, but I was in the market for a brass snare and seriously looking at the Ludwigs when I stumbled onto the Gretsch announcements about their Legend brass snare drum. Price-wise, it fits into the range of the Acro/Supra/BB knockoffs like the Pearl Sensitone, BOB, and the Black Magic, but in my opinion, it has the little bonus features that make it much more desirable than the BOB or BM, plus, it's from Gretsch (yeah, I'm a fan-boy, what can I say?).

(disclaimer: I've owned a BOB, gigged with it as my main snare for a year, and sold it about 6 months ago. There was just something about it that didn't work for me)

I received my Legend Brass snare a few weeks ago, and unfortunately didn't have a chance to do more than unpack it, put it on a stand, and do some preliminary tuning on it. I tuned it up medium tight on the batter with the snare head a bit tighter. The stock heads are an Evans coated G1 batter and a Hazy 300 snare side. This is a good head combination and it only took a few seconds to make sure that the tension was even and the heads were tightened up to produce a good tone. The snare strainer was a little odd with the dual adjustment (a micro-sensitive one on the strainer and a normal one on the butt plate) but I think I got the hang of it quickly. Gretsch could have put some documentation in the box about that strainer. Once I got the hang of it I really liked it.

After tuning, I played it by itself for a minute or 2 and made some fine adjustments, then put it on my kit and left it there. Finally had a rehearsal last weekend and I expected to have to tweak the tuning, snare responsiveness, etc before playing it with the full kit, but all I really needed to do was to take the batter head up 1/4 turn all around to dial it in to where I like the snare to sit within the kit.

Last week, I ordered an S-Hoop to try on this snare (it didn't arrive in time to put it on before rehearsal). I've heard really good things about the S-Hoop on snares (and toms, too), and I wanted to try one on the Legend Brass snare (I play a lot of cross-sticks and need a nice loud and full cross-stick sound). The maple rims on the PDP Woody snare I was using wasn't cutting it, and the normal flanged hoops on the Legend were OK, but I wanted to see what the S-Hoop lived up to the hype.

The S-Hoop was delivered yesterday and after I replaced the stock flanged hoop I was amazed at how "dialed in" the snare sounded. With the stock head, the snare sounded good, in fact it sounded like every medium- to high-end brass snare I've ever heard: crisp, sensitive, full-bodied, and with a nice bit of ring to it. The S-Hoop added in that bit of body that I was looking for and it toned the ring down a tiny bit. It was like putting an O-ring or a bit of moongel on the drum. It really focused the sound and now it sounds freaking amazing. The marketing on the S-Hoop is all about how much better the tone, rim shots, and cross-sticks sound and I totally believe it.

This a really nice well-rounded snare drum and just from the one rehearsal I think this will be my main snare drum from now on. It has a full-bodied presence but it also has the ability to really crack. Overall, this was an excellent purchase and I can highly recommend the Legend brass snare to all of you other Gretsch lovers who secretly crave the Acrolite or Supra sound but want your favorite logo on the drum. :)
 

eric_B

Senior Member
Thanks for posting the review. And it's great you like your new snare.
Now I had a Supra or Acrolite in mind for the future but I'll keep this snare in mind as well...
 

Boom

Silver Member
thanks for the review Brad. I can never read enough of these types of posts.
 
S

sticks4drums

Guest
Good review, but you can not do a review without at least a pic on a drum forum. Where is the pic! :)
 

opentune

Platinum Member
thanks for the review.....how much did the snare cost you? You compared with an Acro which is pretty inexpensive relative to many snares.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
thanks for the review.....how much did the snare cost you? You compared with an Acro which is pretty inexpensive relative to many snares.
I got mine from Zzounds.com for $249US, which I think was an excellent deal because now they seem to be around $300 everywhere (comparable to the price on the Acrolite or the Pork Pie BoB). I just searched and they aren't listed on ZZounds anymore: I guess they must have completely sold out at $249!!

My first snare was an Acrolite from the late 70's (I got it in about 1989). They are good, reliable drums, true workhorses. I also used a Pork Pie BoB for about a year, which was a nice drum, but it just lacked that special something (plus I don't like tube lugs). Even though the price is comparable to the Acrolite or the BoB, I actually would say that the build quality, materials, strainer, etc.. on the Legend is much better than an equivalently priced Acrolite or BoB, closer to the mid priced brass snares. In fact, it is the little upgrades like the better strainer, rubber washers on the tension rods, what feels like a slightly thicker shell (than the BoB) that really make this drum look and play (to me) like a much more expensive drum.
 
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Redbeard

Senior Member
I know this is an old thread, but after years of shunning metal snares I think I want a brass snare again, and being a big Gretsch fan I naturally gave them first look. Although I'm leaning toward the 13x6, I was wondering if the OP or anyone else has some long term review comments on the Legend snares.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
I've used it as my only snare for almost 2 years now, and I have no reason to change that. I plan to get a wood snare at some point, just to have a different voice, but this Legend Brass snare would still be my go-to snare.

I did take the S-Hoop off and put the original hoop back on a couple of weeks ago. I may keep it that way, but for now I like the little bit of extra ring that the S-Hoop dampens down.
 

Redbeard

Senior Member
I'm glad you're still around to reply after nearly two years! I was gonna ask if you've tried a cast hoop on the batter side, but it sounds like you prefer a more open sound. I haven't tried an S hoop on anything, but I'm surprised to hear it dampens the drum.
The Legend snares look hard to beat for the price, but have you had a chance to check out the G-4000 or Brooklyn brass snares?
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
I wouldn't say that it dampens the drum very much, it's probably the equivalent of using a die-cast rim (like putting 1/2 of a moongel on the batter head). Cleans up the overtones a tiny bit but it still sounds like a snare drum. ;-)

As far as heads go, I went from a Remo CS Coated reverse dot head, to a Evans HD Dry, and then back to a Evans Coated Reverse Dot. On this drum, I like the reverse dot heads the most.

I haven't had a chance to check out the G-4000 or Brooklyn snares. We don't have a really good drum shop near me that carries too many Gretsch drums other than the Catalinas, and hardly any Gretsch snares. I ordered the Legend only hearing clips of it online, and I'm glad that it lived up to the Gretsch name. It really is an excellent snare, and I really don't see the need to pay twice the price for a snare drum that is only marginally better than this one. The little details that make this one stand out above the BOB's and the other "mid-level" brass snares are really nice. This is a drum that Gretsch doesn't promote very much but they really should.
 

gretsch-o-rama

Senior Member
Hi Brad- Fellow gretsch drum nut here. I was interested in what "features" set it above other midline brass snares? Jason I may be looking for a beefier brass snare as I have a Brooklyn COB with diecast on it...Thanks
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
Hi Brad- Fellow gretsch drum nut here. I was interested in what "features" set it above other midline brass snares? Jason I may be looking for a beefier brass snare as I have a Brooklyn COB with diecast on it...Thanks
There are a few little things that I noticed over the Pork Pie BoB, but the main "upgrade" is the same dual strainer that comes on their more expensive drums (fine adjustments on the strainer, large adjustments on the butt plate). The hoops seem nicer, too, and just the overall "feel" of the build quality seems better. With the BoB, I had to swap out a few things before it was playable (real heads for the stock ones, Puresound snare wires), with the Legend I didn't have to change anything. I did choose to put the S-Hoops on but that was just because I had already ordered them and wanted to try them out. I've since reverted back to the original hoops.
 
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