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Thread: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

  1. #1

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    Default Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Spent time this afternoon to set up both kits side by side to compare the shells, resonance and quality control between the USA Customs and the Renowns. Both kits have coated batters over clears resos.








  2. #2

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    continued...

    2013 USA Custom Ebony lacquer

    Rack tom- 8x10" 8x12"
    Floor tom- 16x16"
    Kick- 18x22"
    Snare- 6.5x14"








  3. #3

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Heads on USA Custom:

    Rack tom, floor toms-Evans G1 coated/Evans G1 clear
    Kick- Aquarian SKII clear/ Remo Fyberskyn with 4.5" port
    Snare- Evans Coated Reverse Dot/Hazy300 reso



    USA Custom Bearing Edge Quality:

    I found what appears to be several small dents on the reso side of the kick drum as I ran my finger around it during a head swap:





    I also found a small hole near the bearing edge on the batter side of the 16x16" floor tom. The hole should of been filled with some wood putty. I found similar size holes that were filled throughout many areas of all of the USA shells.

    Last edited by late8; 09-21-2013 at 02:24 AM.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    continued...

    2012 Renown '57 MotorCity Oynx:

    Rack tom- 8x10" 9x12"
    16x16" floor tom
    Kick- 18x22"
    Snare- 6.5x14'







    Heads-
    Rack tom, Floor tom- Remo Coated Permatone/ Remo Permatone Clear
    Snare- Evans Genera G1 coated/ Evans Hazy 300

    Last edited by late8; 09-21-2013 at 02:26 AM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Renown '57 MC Oynx-

    Bearing Edge Quality-Excellent. No dents or holes:





    Kick drum spurs are beefier on the USA Customs:



    Kick drum lugs are wider and made heavier for the USA Customs:

    Last edited by late8; 09-21-2013 at 02:28 AM.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Moved both kits inside to the only area that could accommodate both kits, the garage, to hear the differences between both kits:



    In my opinion, I found the Renown kit less refined in tone compared to the USA Customs. The sustain and resonance from both kits were controlled with the coated batter heads but the Evans G1 on both top and bottom of the USA Custom rack and floor toms seemed to give the USA Custom kit a much fuller sound.



    The USA Custom kit projects louder than the Renowns and the toms sound so much fatter but the differences may not be noticed by the average person. In my opinion, the Gretsch Renown can give the USA Customs a run for the money.

    The differences are subtle but the kick drum is where the USA Customs shine. There's only one word to describe it and that word is thunderous.



    Last edited by late8; 09-21-2013 at 02:30 AM.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    In conclusion-

    The quality control issues I highlighted on the USA Custom kit was a bit of a let down to say the least. In my opinion, when you pay $3000+ and wait 6 months for the kit to be delivered, it has to be perfect in my opinion. The bearing edges on the Renowns on the other hand are flawless. I was quite surprised at the quality control from the kit that was assembled overseas. I don't want to push any hot buttons but you can't help but compare the two products. Both were made under the same brand name but assembled worlds apart from each other. I learn something new every day.....

    Made in USA



    Last edited by late8; 09-21-2013 at 02:32 AM.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Nice kits Rich and the work you put into assembling them for this pic. I was surprised to see the flaw on the bearing edge. Man that would piss me off you know for the amount of money you paid for them. Did you get in touch with Grestch or the dealer about it. Again nice kits man.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    This is the thread I have been waiting for... thanks for the thorough post Rich!

    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post

    In my opinion, I found the Renown kit less refined in tone compared to the USA Customs. The sustain and resonance from both kits were controlled with the coated batter heads but the Evans G1 on both top and bottom of the USA Custom rack and floor toms seemed to give the USA Custom kit a much fuller sound.
    Hey Rich, is this statement based on the heads listed in you description? Do you know if this statement holds true if the same heads are on each kit?

    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post

    The USA Custom kit projects louder than the Renowns and the toms sound so much fatter but the differences may not be noticed by the average person. In my opinion, the Gretsch Renown can give the USA Customs a run for the money.
    Wow...says a lot for the Renown

    Quote Originally Posted by late8 View Post
    In conclusion-

    The quality control issues I highlighted on the USA Custom kit was a bit of a let down to say the least. In my opinion, when you pay $3000+ and wait 6 months for the kit to be delivered, it has to be perfect in my opinion. The bearing edges on the Renowns on the other hand are flawless. I was quite surprised at the quality control from the kit that was assembled overseas. I don't want to push any hot buttons but you can't help but compare the two products. Both were made under the same brand name but assembled worlds apart from each other. I learn something new every day.....
    I hope you are going to follow up with KMC and show them these pics... this is unacceptable IMO for that price tag and reputation.
    Gretsch Renown RN1 ~ Silver Oyster Pearl

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Gretsch USA Custom v Gretsch '57 Renown

    Excellent documentary, Rich!
    Signature here

  11. #11

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    Great thread Rich, as always. I'm curious as to why you got the same depth of both rack toms on the USA?

    And I'd be FURIOUS about the bearing edges on those.

  12. #12

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    Man, I think I'd be pretty ticked off about those bearing edges........

    You'd think for the price, and the wait, they should be perfect.............is this a common problem with the USA customs?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    Nice kits Rich and the work you put into assembling them for this pic. I was surprised to see the flaw on the bearing edge. Man that would piss me off you know for the amount of money you paid for them. Did you get in touch with Grestch or the dealer about it. Again nice kits man.
    Thanks Gilles. I sent an email to my drum shop's manager with pics attached. Let's see what they have to say.
    Quote Originally Posted by kickinit View Post
    This is the thread I have been waiting for... thanks for the thorough post Rich!



    Hey Rich, is this statement based on the heads listed in you description? Do you know if this statement holds true if the same heads are on each kit?

    Yes. In my humble opinion, if I had Evans G1 coated /G1 clears on both kits, it would be a close race. The USA Customs have a warmer tone. The tom resonance and decay on the Customs is much nicer. Again, it may be due to the heads but the tuning threshold is more forgiving on the Customs. The range at which the toms can be tuned is much wider. That was the first thing I noticed as I experimented with different heads. I went from EC2 clears to G1 coated and the toms have a richer, fuller sound with the coated heads.


    Wow...says a lot for the Renown



    I hope you are going to follow up with KMC and show them these pics... this is unacceptable IMO for that price tag and reputation.

    Yes, you feel exactly like I do. I will post any updates here
    Quote Originally Posted by Bish View Post
    Excellent documentary, Rich!
    Thanks Bish. Let's see what my options are. I'm awaiting a response from the local distributor (i.e. mom n pop music store).
    Quote Originally Posted by marko138 View Post
    Great thread Rich, as always. I'm curious as to why you got the same depth of both rack toms on the USA?

    And I'd be FURIOUS about the bearing edges on those.
    Marko, I've been using a 9x12" rack tom and in my humble opinion, I think the 9" depth produces too low of a pitch and my hunch was right. With an inch off of the depth of the 12", it now has a punch my ears were wanting. The 8x12" rack tom now cuts through and has presence in the mix. It was something personal I wanted to try without resorting to hear say, audio clips and videos on the internet. I'm glad I went this route.

    Quote Originally Posted by longgun View Post
    Man, I think I'd be pretty ticked off about those bearing edges........

    You'd think for the price, and the wait, they should be perfect.............is this a common problem with the USA customs?
    Butch, my reaction to this whole issue came in waves. The damage didn't come to light until I started swapping heads. I ran my fingers around each edge as I worked my way around the kit as I swapped heads. I noticed many putty filled pockets around the inside edges of the router cut. I know plywood layers have open pockets at the vertical grain orientation and I expect them to be filled, sanded and finished before they're shipped out. An oversight, I can understand but a dinged up bearing edge on a $1650 bass drum is unacceptable.

  14. #14

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    I would be upset as well. Part of the price you pay is for the name "Gretsch".....by paying extra for that name, I would expect to get the quality control and workmanship associated with that name. Regardless of where they are built...but especially for a top-level USA kit. Same goes for Yamaha, DW and Tama as well.

    Even with the damage, those are still both SWEEEET kits!
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  15. #15

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    I suspect I'm just getting old and cynical, but I tend to have given up the expectation of anything close to resembling perfection in this lifetime. Having said that, the nicks and holes we're seeing there in the rim never should have been allowed to get out the door in the first place, but the reality is, it happens. Now the true test of a quality manufacturer will be how quickly and how thoroughly they make this right for you and how much they go out of there way to make you feel like a valued customer.
    Last edited by Cap'n Crunch; 09-22-2013 at 05:22 AM.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by N2Bluz View Post
    I would be upset as well. Part of the price you pay is for the name "Gretsch".....by paying extra for that name, I would expect to get the quality control and workmanship associated with that name. Regardless of where they are built...but especially for a top-level USA kit. Same goes for Yamaha, DW and Tama as well.

    Even with the damage, those are still both SWEEEET kits!
    The drum shop manager feels the same way as you N2Bluz. I wrote him an email after I posted my findings on DrumChat. He wrote back and responded with this:



    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n Crunch View Post
    I suspect I'm just getting old and cynical, but I tend to have given up the expectation of anything close to resembling perfection in this lifetime. Having said that, the nicks and holes we're seeing there in the rim never should have been allowed to get out the door in the first place, but the reality is, it happens. Now the true test of a quality manufacturer will be how quickly and how thoroughly they make this right for you and how much they go out of there way to make you feel like a valued customer.
    I totally agree. I'm getting on in my years too (54 in Jan.). This kit is "The One", probably the kit that will take me to my "dirt nap". Having said that, Gretsch has to make good on this one.

  17. #17

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    Well at least it will (should) be taken care of, Rich.

  18. #18

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    I hope they resolve this issue just a fast as Pearl did for me a couple of years ago. Good luck man.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by marko138 View Post
    Well at least it will (should) be taken care of, Rich.
    Thanks Mark. I don't think the bearing edge was dented by human error. After running my finger around the bearing edge, it never makes a full circle around the drum. To me, it feels like the router or sander nicked the edge. It feels like a mechanically induced dent rather than a impact dent.

    Case in point. This is a extreme close up of the dents on the bearing edge found on the bass drum. To me, it looks like the shell was lifted off the router table or nicked when it was being sanded. The grooves are too smooth to be impact dents. You can still see where the friction zone is within the grain.

    Flipped:





    This is an extreme close up of the bearing edge damage sustained from an impact with the ground on my 9x12" APK Premier rack tom. Note that the impact has flatten out the plies on the bearing edge. This is an impact dent.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    I hope they resolve this issue just a fast as Pearl did for me a couple of years ago. Good luck man.
    Thanks Gilles. I almost feel like asking for a refund and going another route but we shall see how Gretsch will handle this situation. Thanks for the luck. I think I can use some.
    Last edited by late8; 09-22-2013 at 10:18 AM.

  20. #20

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    Hey Late8,

    That looks like a bit of router/shaper burn on that edge...dull cutting tools perhaps? The hole in the ply is just terrible. That should be a solid ply with no knots or imperfections to tear out...nasty Q&A. There should be no filler in an expensive drum like that.

    I Love my 57's - customs do not seem to be all that they are advertised to be.

    Great post, I hope you have good results.
    Brent H

  21. #21

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    Rich you should also mention to Gretsch that you belong to the biggest drummer's forum and that we are all aware of your issue. The outcome could be good for their business or not. This might help in getting the satisfaction you deserve.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent H View Post
    Hey Late8,

    That looks like a bit of router/shaper burn on that edge...dull cutting tools perhaps? The hole in the ply is just terrible. That should be a solid ply with no knots or imperfections to tear out...nasty Q&A. There should be no filler in an expensive drum like that.

    I Love my 57's - customs do not seem to be all that they are advertised to be.

    Great post, I hope you have good results.
    Thanks for stopping by Brent H. Thanks for verifying what appears to be sloppy router work. The bass drum shell looks as though it took a hop on the table as it passed over the router bit? I got this Gretsch factory tour video cued up at the router demonstration. I don't know how they could of missed the blemish on my bass drum??

    Check this out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxNy-vF0rG8#t=01m16s

    The Renowns ('57s) are awesome drums. I'm so impressed at how much drum you can get at on a budget that produces such a loud "in your face" sound.
    Last edited by late8; 09-23-2013 at 09:49 AM.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl MCX Man View Post
    Rich you should also mention to Gretsch that you belong to the biggest drummer's forum and that we are all aware of your issue. The outcome could be good for their business or not. This might help in getting the satisfaction you deserve.
    Thanks for sharing my frustration Gilles. I think my opinion and review of the drums Gretsch let out of their factory speaks to the issue of human intervention. Somebody in the QC (quality control) department dropped the ball on this order. I always tell my co-workers "It ain't a mistake until it leaves the dock".

  24. #24

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    Hey Late8

    That was a great video. You can see where a human error can happen on the shaper table pretty easy, just pick the drum up or place it down onto the bit instead of bringing it into the bit. Interesting that they would miss the damage during the edge sanding process, I would think you would feel and/or hear the skip under the sand paper while the drum was rotating.

    I hope you get satisfaction.
    Brent H

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent H View Post
    Hey Late8

    That was a great video. You can see where a human error can happen on the shaper table pretty easy, just pick the drum up or place it down onto the bit instead of bringing it into the bit. Interesting that they would miss the damage during the edge sanding process, I would think you would feel and/or hear the skip under the sand paper while the drum was rotating.

    I hope you get satisfaction.
    I'm with you on this. How can you NOT feel the skip while sanding? I'm hoping to get two new shells out of this entire ordeal. I hope they don't just fill the hole on the 16x16" floor tom with putty and send it back. That blob of goo will end up being too much of the bearing edge IMHO.

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