Thoughts on Gretsch (Renown) and Ludwig (Classic Maple)

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Currently, these are the two kits that I own and play. I "like" the Gretsch kit and really, really love my Classic Maples. With all of the threads here on bearing edges, I thought I'd comment on my thoughts between the two, having now spent time recording them and listening back.

Renown - Classic 30 degree Gretsch bearing edge, all maple 6.2mm (7.4mm bass) shell w/ silver sealer coating inside.

Classic Maple - Slightly rounded 45 degree edge, all maple 6mm shell w/ lacquer coat inside.

Both are made very well and sound great, but the Gretsch drums are definitely *audibly* inferior, to my ears. First of all, I've had several people describe Renowns as warm...but they're perhaps the least warm sounding drums I've heard yet. Am I crazy? Perhaps. The Renowns are bold and distinct, with a very dry "up front" attack and short sustain.

The Classic Maples, however, seem to have both a strong attack and that room-filling warmth that great drums are known for. The sustain is also considerably longer than the Renowns, which I'm guessing is a result of slightly sharper edges. There is also a note-bending "roundness" to the sound of CMs that seems to help them project better.

The Renowns seem to "BONK" when struck and the CMs seem to "booAAUUOOOMmmm"...if that makes any sense. :p

With the same heads and tuned essentially the same way, I'd say Ludwig is a clear winner, to my ears. Obviously this "taste test" is purely subjective and there's a certain sound that we seek, as individuals. But, when I think of the ideal sound that most drummers talk about...warmth, sustain, projection, attack, etc. - Ludwig just has much MORE of it!

Any thoughts, fellow Gretsch and Ludwig fans? Is there just something I'm not getting about "That Great Gretsch Sound"?
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I don't know if this really has anything to do with what you're saying, but I had a similar issue with a Pacific CX kit I used to own.

The tone from all four toms was almost exactly as you're describing the sound of the Gretsch; loud, aggressive attack, almost a "bang," with very little warmth and very short sustain. It was my first all maple drumkit and the sound I got from them really had me wondering why maple was considered such a great wood.

After years of trying almost every head combination and tuning and still not getting the sound I wanted I finally shipped my drums off to Precision Drum to have new bearing edges cut. I had them cut a fully rounded top and sharp double 45 on the bottom, and it made a clear difference on all four toms.

Attack was more mellow, sustain longer and clearer, and the overall effect was a much warmer drum.

I don't know if new bearing edges can be as effective on all unruly drums or not, but it certainly proved to me it's worth exploring.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I haven't had enough experience with the Renowns to comment. I've only hit a couple of toms at a store once. I liked what I heard, but had nothing to A-B it against, so it's difficult to make any comparison.

I love the CM's though....my dream kit and one day I'll get me a set. Just need to save the $5000 odd Aussie dollars that the friggen things cost in this drumming backwater. :)

Glad you feel yours have come into their own though. Given the trials, tribulations and path of most resistance you had to travel to get them......it's great to hear they are everything you hoped they'd be.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
After years of trying almost every head combination and tuning and still not getting the sound I wanted I finally shipped my drums off to Precision Drum to have new bearing edges cut. I had them cut a fully rounded top and sharp double 45 on the bottom, and it made a clear difference on all four toms.

Attack was more mellow, sustain longer and clearer, and the overall effect was a much warmer drum.

I don't know if new bearing edges can be as effective on all unruly drums or not, but it certainly proved to me it's worth exploring.
I think you're onto something here. I'm thinking that Gretsch's edges and maybe even the silver sealer, give it that specific Gretsch vibe. I just don't find the drums all that warm, honestly. It strikes me as odd, every time I hear someone tell me how warm the Renown series sounds. Not!

I love the CM's though....my dream kit and one day I'll get me a set. Just need to save the $5000 odd Aussie dollars that the friggen things cost in this drumming backwater. :)

Glad you feel yours have come into their own though. Given the trials, tribulations and path of most resistance you had to travel to get them......it's great to hear they are everything you hoped they'd be.
Holy hell! That's an insane cost to bear, given that the kit itself is probably 1/3 of that price! Is it a combination of the shipping and import duties? I shipped a snare to Australia and I think I remember it being around $50, or so? I could be wrong.

I finally got the Classic Maple kit I had lusted after for so long...but I had to go to the used market to get it. This one is getting a set of Protection Racket bags and it's getting insured! Not taking any chances!
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
The sound you described is exactly why I stay buying Ludwig drums.

VERY satisfying sound in front and BEHIND the kit. Fantastic through a big PA too!

All 3 of my kits are that way. They have everything in the sound I want from a drum.
Great tone, projection, tuning range, use any head I want and get a great sound easily....

When I got the Red Sparkle CM kit in '07, I thought I'd have some "break in, getting used to it" time with it after having the other stuff for so long.

Nope, set it up and it was like I had the kit forever.

I can also mix and match ANY of the drums I have, and it all sounds like a kit that was made for itself. Split lug, long lug, Super Classic, Classic Maple--doesn't matter, they go together and sound great.

Glad you FINALLY got the kit you wanted (it's that 24" bass drum ;-) !)
 

Eyedrum

Junior Member
Wow! Excellent description. I have owned both a Gretsch Renown and 2 Gretsch USA Maple kits. Both were pro-level well made kits. I sold my last Gretsch USA kit to fund the purchase of my Ludwig Classic Maple (24,16,13) kit. I simply could not be more pleased with a set of drums and I plan to add (20,14,12,10) more drums in the future.

Gretsch drums sound very nice indeed but they don't have the punch and growl of the Ludwig CM series. The Gretsch like that mid to high level tuning and the die-cast hoops keep the drums from tuning low, IMO. The CM drums can go from low to high with no problem.

That's just my experience, YMMV.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
The sound you described is exactly why I stay buying Ludwig drums.

VERY satisfying sound in front and BEHIND the kit. Fantastic through a big PA too!

Glad you FINALLY got the kit you wanted (it's that 24" bass drum ;-) !)
For sure...I've played them now in several different rooms. I've listened to them from all over the room(s) - just great...everywhere. Like Steve Gorman said, "These drums sound like the drums that I hear in my head."

I'm glad too! I'm almost afraid to take them anywhere! It's pretty simple, really - they just had to be round shells and generally, not made like crap. ;)

Gretsch drums sound very nice indeed but they don't have the punch and growl of the Ludwig CM series. The Gretsch like that mid to high level tuning and the die-cast hoops keep the drums from tuning low, IMO. The CM drums can go from low to high with no problem.
Yep...another good point. I can't seem to tune the Renowns as low as I'd like. They definitely crap-out below mid-range tension. The hoops might have something to do w/ it, but I'm convinced the things that I *don't* like about the Renowns have more to do w/ the signature Gretsch bearing edge.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Holy hell! That's an insane cost to bear, given that the kit itself is probably 1/3 of that price! Is it a combination of the shipping and import duties? I shipped a snare to Australia and I think I remember it being around $50, or so? I could be wrong.
Shipping and tax no doubt contribute some (we're a long way from anywhere, really), but there's still a huge void that remains unaccounted for. I have no idea why it is Zam....but much like the rising of the sun and the turning of the tides, it's just the way it is here. A new 402 will set you back around $900 Aussie dollars, a BB (417) costs around A$1,100, a set of New Beats retails for around $670. So yeah mate, I'm gonna get clipped on my CM's when I finally scrape together enough cash to order a set.

Pretty much why I throw my money into good snares and cymbals and play a set of Cat maples, mate. Hell, even a shell pack for those costs about A$1600 here.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
Shipping and tax no doubt contribute some (we're a long way from anywhere, really), but there's still a huge void that remains unaccounted for. I have no idea why it is Zam....but much like the rising of the sun and the turning of the tides, it's just the way it is here. A new 402 will set you back around $900 Aussie dollars, a BB (417) costs around A$1,100, a set of New Beats retails for around $670. So yeah mate, I'm gonna get clipped on my CM's when I finally scrape together enough cash to order a set.

Pretty much why I throw my money into good snares and cymbals and play a set of Cat maples, mate. Hell, even a shell pack for those costs about A$1600 here.
Ouch. Have you tried eBay? Surely someone will ship a CM kit to Oz for ya? Since there's near-parity between the USD and AUD, those prices are outrageous.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Ouch. Have you tried eBay? Surely someone will ship a CM kit to Oz for ya? Since there's near-parity between the USD and AUD, those prices are outrageous.
I'll be doing my homework mate....including scouring ebay. I'm a ways off yet though. "Life" is getting in the way at present....too many responsibilities and not enough cash my friend. :)

I do stand to inherit my old man's '67 Luddies though, so at some stage I'll be a proud owner of more than just 4 Ludwig snares.
 
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