Posted September 21, 2015
Posted September 21, 2015 in
We recently picked up a 1962 Gretsch Bop Kit at the Chicago Drum Show. The sizes are 14x16 Bass drum, 8x12 rack tom, 14x14 floor tom and 5x14 snare. Black Nitron wrap. You'd think the original owner would have been psyched enough to own an Black Nitron Gretsch kit a la Tony Williams on Four + More, right? Well, they weren't. They just had to go for that custom-ordered 16” bass drum. Bop- sized 60's Gretsch kits are rare to begin with. The 16” bass drum is the ultra-rare icing on the cake.
On the manuscript that came with the purchase the previous owner makes sure that we know the “14x16 bass drum is NOT a converted floor tom.” He proceeds to prove this to us by pointing out that the bass drum has original Gretsch bass drum edges and zero evidence of the position of the lugs ever being changed. He then goes on to explain that the original 1960's era thick three-ply bass drum hoops would be impossible to fake. Sadly, the original gold inlays of the bass drum hoops were curling and faded. No biggy: they were replaced with original 60's Gretsch silver sparkle inlays. And upon our purchase of the kit, they even threw in the original gold inlays. So, not %100 original but pretty darn close. Somewhere along the line, the original owner added a Ludwig post mount onto the bass drum as a means to raise the small tom higher. No holes were drilled in the mounted tom and the holes drilled into the bass drum are discretely covered with a piece of vintage Black Nitron wrap.
Considering this kit was built in 1962 and it is now the year 2015 I must say that this kit is in really good shape. It's not mint. There are a few scuffs and scratches and slight pitting, but it looks great for a 50+ year-old drum set. All four shells are 6 ply Jasper and have the classic silver painted interior. Oh and there's a mysterious thin coat of lacquer over the interior silver paint. This particular phenomenon has been seen only in a few other 60's Gretsch bop-sized kits from NYC-area pro drummers. Some say it was a practice done by a certain unidentified NYC drum shop (but this is only speculation).
This kit was used as a house rehearsal kit for years, and consequently many professional NYC-area drummers knew these drums well. Pretty cool right? Well check this out...According to the manuscript, it was originally purchased on the recommendation of Elvin Jones who at the time, was using a 16” bass drum himself. You might be thinking “Well, if Elvin Jones recommended this kit, it must sound really good...Alright. That's it. I've heard enough of all this nerdy technical stuff. Please just tell me what the drums sound like!” Okay, okay. I'll tell you. The drums sound incredible. They are animated and resonant. Almost like there's a breathing quality to them. I swear I'll walk by these drums in the shop, start to tap on them, and won't be able to stop. All the while I'll be thinking, “Good call Elvin. Good. Call.”