Tour of the Gretsch drum building process

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I saw some old ones a while back, then this yesterday in another thread. They have definitely expanded and added some new gear. There's an interesting blend of their history with the modern in that video. Night and day difference in many respects than watching the DW tour. I only bring up DW, due to close ties with them. Not starting anything. There's nothing to start. DW's process is equally impressive, but way different. Good to see Gretsch still gets to be Gretsch. They must be doing something right since 2012 to experience the growth they have had. Coincidently, the Tama factory tour is an impressive watch too.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
So.... They buy the shells from Keller, the hardware from Asia like most other companies, and then call them USA customs. What's the custom part? Drilling the shells? Cutting the edges?
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
So.... They buy the shells from Keller, the hardware from Asia like most other companies, and then call them USA customs. What's the custom part? Drilling the shells? Cutting the edges?
I don't know that their regular US made stuff is all that more costly than others. The lacquered stuff on the other hand. Yup, you'll pay, but there's a process and a half for those, which are very different than most Asian made offerings. Also tons of variety of finishes. That's more than you get in the lower price range lines, but it's true with any.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Don't get me wrong. I think Gretsch drums are great. Just kinda surprised by how little is actually done in house.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Don't get me wrong. I think Gretsch drums are great. Just kinda surprised by how little is actually done in house.
Night and day difference between the DW factory tour and Gretsch. That's for certain. Maybe I missed the part about why Gretsch doesn't make their own shells. That part's kinda curious!
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
The amount of tooling required to make shells is a major expense plus the labor for the machine operators. Probably more cost effective to source out the shells.
 

IBitePrettyHard

Senior Member
It seems like very few drum manufacturers make their own shells these days.

They either use Keller or some nameless Chinese or Taiwanese company.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
Did Gretsch ever make their own shells? I know they used to Jasper shells.up till they (Jasper) went out of business. Was there a shell supplier prior to Japser?
 

TK-421

Senior Member
My understanding is that before Jasper, Gretsch did make their own shells. When they outsourced the production to Jasper, they bought the molds from Gretsch. Fast forward a few decades, and I've heard that Keller acquired those same molds once they took over.

Don't know if all of this is true, it's just what I've heard.
 

Bahasadrum

New member
Hey everyone! Hey Jeremy, thank you for putting the link of my YouTube channel. Nice to know you guys!

I think Paul told me that Gretsch has been outsourcing the shell since back then. It was Jasper, but Jasper as a company went bankrupt and then Gretsch decided to move to Keller and he said Keller needed to invest alot due to the difference between the “normal” ply shell at that time, with what Gretsch asked them to make.

If you guys have a chance to visit the factory, I encourage you guys to meet Paul. He’s so amazing and explained me almost everything about Gretsch Drums (included the Silver Sealer lol). He also said that, they’re happy with the situation right now that Gretsch is managed by DW because people from DW appriciate more in terms of R&D. Also, surprisingly he said that Gretsch has it’s own market, different with DW lol.

I have been to DW,Ludwig and Gretsch factory. And for me personally, different companies/factories have their own personality. I found that Gretsch Drums, is so homey and so amazed with the fact that they use NO (or small amount) computer based machine and surprisingly Ludwig is more modern than Gretsch.


Ps : pardon my English, non native English speaker here 🙏🏽
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Yup, from what I understand, they are Keller, but they are built to spec via Gretsch. I guess there's nothing keeping anyone from buying Gretsch's Keller shells(?) and doing their own thing?

I like that Ludwig uses the same molds from Chicago. There's just something really cool knowing that my shells were made with the same set of molds a Ringo, Ginger Baker, Alex Van Halen, etc. They are also built about 2 hours from my house. :)
 
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