Gretsch floor tom issue

Hi drummers,
I am having problems with an early to mid 70's 14 inch Gretsch floor tom. I bought the shell and legs only from Jack's in Boston, had the drum refinished beautifully by Eames drum, bought the correct lugs and hoops and figured I was good to go. However, the drum has always sounded nasal, thin, and choked. None of the warmth expected from a Gretsch and a terrible match for my 12 in mounted tom that sounds perfect.
I had the edges redone by Pro Drum in L.A., the heads are new, the hoops are perfect, and the tension rods are straight. So, I am down to the legs and diamond brackets. I put Pearl rubber feet on the Gretsch legs...nothing. I will take it apart AGAIN, remove legs and brackets, and try to suspend it one handed to see if I get any kind of reasonable sound. Does anyone out there have or have had similar issues? Maybe it is just a terrible shell....driving me a bit crazy. Your help would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Brad

Listing created Oct 14, 2020

Public discussion (4)

King Louie Music

8 days ago

Brad, the only thing that you didn't mention that could be the problem is properly tuning the drum. Gretsch are sometimes hard to tune , even if tuning is your forte, because sometimes the shells can be a bit oversized and the heads not fitting well even if you re-cut the bearing edges. I would see if you can get a hold of one of those good tuning gauges and see what it sounds like when tuned using the gauge. Also the best way to get an idea of the problem is to exchange parts, try different type and brand head, try a triple flange hoop etc, try mounting it with a R.I.M.S.mount ,anything to eliminate what it's not. If you exhaust every combination then it just could be the shell, Ting

Brad Anderson

8 days ago

Thanks, Ting. I am very conscientious re: tuning, and I have tried numerous head combinations as well as hoops. But maybe the shell/ head is the critical piece. I know there are heads intended for vintage drums, although I am not sure about the age of this particular drum. I tend to favor the thinnest head available, diplomat or G1 7.5 mil.

I have not tried calf yet. Hmm.

I'll keep the post updated. I can't be the only one!!

Brad

Kevin Coggins

7 days ago

Brad, Since the late 1960's, and having worked with new, old and "vintage" drums, I've found lots of discrepancies in size, shape and what to expect from each drum. After playing on most of the well known American drum brands I bought my first Gretsch round badge set a few years ago. It is a set of mostly singles that a guy had gathered together and wrapped to have a 6 piece matching set. The drums were poorly wrapped when I got them and that led me to getting them professionally re-wrapped; the bearing edges were left as they were and that isn't necessarily a critical factor. The two rack toms are on RIMS and the two floor toms are suspended also. I used heads with an oversized collar for older vintage drums and still have trouble getting a low end deep tone from the toms, by varying degrees per drum. I've worked with more "modern" Gretsch drums and haven't had the same trouble tuning in the deeper range. My round badge drums sound great, even with the difficulty in getting the range of tone that I'd have hoped for. In my experience most drums seem to each have it's own sweet spot where the drum voices its most vibrant and true tone. Once you find that spot on a drum the drum will reveal its characteristic voice and you'll find the range best suited for it. Ting's reply is sound advice; and then again the shell may be "dead". Have you undressed the drum and knocked on the bare shell? Not that this is a definitive answer in and of itself, but if the shell has a flat and non-resonant sound by itself then that is something that will point to what to expect with both heads on and tightened (tight or loose), but importantly - in tune with each other and with the shell. Post an update with what you find out over time. Best of luck with your project, Kevin C.

Brad Anderson

7 days ago

Thanks everyone. I intend to: 1. remove the legs and brackets and see what happens when I suspend the drum. If that doesn't change anything... 2. Complete strip down and bang on the shell to see if there is any life there. 3. Once again, check heads for fit, etc. I have tried all combinations of tuning, bottom tighter than the top, vice versa, and higher to lower tuning. Not once have I found a sweet spot, just a tuning that is less terrible than others.

I did see a request for photos of the inside of the drum, so I'll try to post those as well. Since I bought the drum as is with the shell and legs only, I wonder if the previous owner had similar issues? I'll also research a bit more in the Gretsch Drum book by Chet Falzerano. Stay tuned.

Brad

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