Thoughts on older Gretsch Maple Renowns vs. new Yamaha stage Customs??

single-ply

Senior Member
Hey all,

I have a really nice set that I use for nice venues and a second set that stays in the garage and is used when I have a gig in a bar, outdoors, or when the drums will have to sit in the car all day (VERY hot here in Texas).

Anyway, a few months ago I got a smokin' deal on a brand new set of Honey Amber Stage Customs (10x7, 12x8, 16x15, 22x17). For the money, they are great drums and I love Yamaha hardware.

A few days ago, I happened on an older set of Gretsch Renown Maples (10x9, 12x10, 14x14, 22x18). They are the original configuration with the die cast hoops and rim mounts and virgin bass drum. They have what I believe they called Autumn Fade. They have a few blemishes, but mostly on the bass hoop. I have cleaned them up and from two feet away, they look new.

I have to get rid of one or the other. Anyone have experience with both? I like the finish on both sets. The renown are much heavier due to the hoops.

I have zero experience with Gretsch's newer drums. I don't really have the space or time to set up an A-B comparison.

Also, does anyone know how to buff out a few light scratches and 'cloudy' areas in the drums' lacquer? Not really enough to worry about, but if there is a somewhat cheap way to do it, I'll give it a try.

All opinions are welcome and thanks.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Both are nice kits, but the Renowns are much better. The only down side is that the Renowns dont have a 16" floor tom. You may be able to find one on eBay.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Trying to decide on which kit to keep is a great opportunity to have some fun.
Do you have any drummer friends?
Set up all your kits. Invite all of your drummer friends over for a pizza party.
Blindfold yourself and let your friends play your drums.
At one point you will say,"Hey which kit is creating that wonderful sound?" That's the kit you want to keep.

.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
If you're short on space maybe you can use a bigger room at a church or something place like that. You can compare the kits.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Since the kit is a gigging kit, and will be used often, the tom mounts in the bass drum will save time.

The size of the floor tom might matter, if you play rock tunes that need the low end of a 16".

The Renowns are technically a nicer set of drums, because the die-cast hardware is more expensive, but it's a preference thing. The Gretsch toms will be drier and more focused; the Yamahas will be more open. They will feel different under the sticks, too.

So, unless you love the Gretsch tom sound, go with the Yamahas.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Is the Yamaha kit birch or maple? I'm guessing it is the birch. If so, then the Renowns are an even better choice. And it's Gretsch maple set with their 30 degree bearing edge, plus frickin' die cast hoops. Why are you even wasting time comparing it to the Yamaha. Buy the Gretsch and forgetaboutit!!!
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
Since the kit is a gigging kit, and will be used often, the tom mounts in the bass drum will save time.

The size of the floor tom might matter, if you play rock tunes that need the low end of a 16".

The Renowns are technically a nicer set of drums, because the die-cast hardware is more expensive, but it's a preference thing. The Gretsch toms will be drier and more focused; the Yamahas will be more open. They will feel different under the sticks, too.

So, unless you love the Gretsch tom sound, go with the Yamahas.
I bought a set of the Stage Customs last year and ended up selling my Renowns. The Renowns are great drums but as a gigging kit the lighter weight of the Yamahas did it for me. I'm shorter, so I also wanted the "traditional" depth toms and the 20" bass drum available on the Stage Custom kit.

The Stage Customs sound great, and I can pick up the entire kit and carry it in one hand if I had to. The whole kit (12, 16F, 20K) plus an aluminum Recording Custom snare weighs less than the bass drum of the Renown kit (maybe even the bass drum).
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
There are a few things I like better on the Renowns, but if I were constantly lugging a set around for gigs,
I'd go with the Stage Customs for the lighter weight and the tom mounting system.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
Those older Gretsch Renown sets are pretty much USA Customs, albeit made in Asia. I vote for the Gretsch, even though I prefer Yamaha's hardware.
 

williamsbclontz

Silver Member
Honestly I would say both of the kits are pretty close. Not the top of the line kit for gretsch but not the top of the line kit for Yamaha. I've played both, not back to back but from what I remember they both are great kits. I think they are both 7 ply too, so really your only question is birch vs maple. Gretsch uses different hoops and stuff and I'm sure one kit is lighter than the other, but sound wise they are both great kits for the money. I'd try to sit down and play one then make up your mind.

I saw a 90s RC in the classifieds too. Just a few minor scuffs in the paint, you could probably get a good deal on them. Made in Japan and a good price for an iconic drum kit, just something to consider
 

T_Weaves

Silver Member
The only advantage the SC's can claim is they're lighter. I've owned both kits you speak of. To me it's no contest. Renowns all the way.
 

evilg99

Platinum Member
I'm a huuuuge Yamaha fan, but also currently own Gretsch and have owned Renowns - have to agree the Renowns are definitely a step up from Stage Customs.

The Renowns sound as good as Yamaha's higher priced top lines, Maple and Birch customs.
Yamaha hardware is still king.
 

Dutch

Senior Member
I'm a huuuuge Yamaha fan, but also currently own Gretsch and have owned Renowns - have to agree the Renowns are definitely a step up from Stage Customs.

The Renowns sound as good as Yamaha's higher priced top lines, Maple and Birch customs.
Yamaha hardware is still king.
I may be biased as a YSC owner, but what's worth mentioning here is the Stage Customs are more recent, and are still available new. So if you want to you can get a 14 x 13 floor tom in the amber finish for few $$, or even get the 18 x 15 bass drum to cover all bases.

I never owned Gretsch drums but a virgin 22x18 bass drum just wouldn't do it for me.

Dutch
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Renowns. I've never heard a bad word about them.

As far as weight is concerned, unless you have health problems, the primary concern is the kick I'm assuming. If you have cases, are you traveling with bags or hard cases? If you have hard cases, I suggest getting bags. These make a world of difference. I switched over to bags a year or so ago, and I've not looked back. My 22" hard case with no drum in it is about the same weight as my 22" drum bag loaded with my 20" Ludwig kick.
 
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