Towards the end of last spring, we locked ourselves away at Perlazza Studio (based in Poznań, Poland), where we tested quite a number of vintage drum kits and snares provided by Mateusz Wysocki and his MW-Vintage company, which (as the name suggests) specializes in vintage drums. We performed the test under the sonic supervision of musician, award-winning producer, studio owner and, most of all, a drum maniac, Przemysław Wejmann. To be more exact, it was drummer Max Psuja, who tested all the gear while the beatit.tv team recorded the video and the sound engineer/producer took care of the sonic side of things.
Max Psuja, as an utter vintage drum maniac, a former employee of a drum shop, and a great drummer, who has collaborated with a host of popular acts in Poland, such as Kumka Olik, Holak, Lilly Hates Roses or Yoachim, was perfect for the role of ’lab tester’. Needless to say, he was more than eager to do the job.
We are testing a 70s Gretsch 4153 Jasper snare drum
Gretsch are an American brand which is iconic for the global drum market. It has been present since 1883 and really needs no introduction among drum maniacs the world over. Not only drum kits, but also snares bearing its logo, enjoy an excellent reputation among drummers. This refers both to those looking for a new instrument and those on the lookout for something more vintage. The shell of the snare drum tested here is made from maple/gumwood plywood covered with a Chrome Steel wrap. According to Mateusz Wysocki, this Gretsch 4153 snare was manufactured in the late 1970s, most probably in 1978.
2. Basic snare drum specification:
- Manufacturer: Gretsch
- Model: 4153
- Shell: Jasper
- Size: 14″ x 6,5″
- Year of production: probably 1978
- Material: Maple / gumwood
- Finish: Chrome Steel wrap (Chrome Over Wood)
- Hoops: Gretsch Die Cast, 8 tension rods
- Strainer: Cast lever, adjustable buttend
- Lugs: Single-ended
- Snares: Tama Steel, 20 strand
- Heads: Aquarian Texture Coated / Aquarian Classic Clear
- Muffler: Yes
3. Test and sound
When testing the Gretsch 4153 Jasper, we also used an 80s Gretsch Stop Sign Drop G ‘Grand Prix’ drum kit, Impression cymbals and Aquarian heads (Response 2 Coated on the toms, Texture Coated and Classic Clear on the snare as well as Super Kick I Coated on the bass drum).
Max first presented the sound of the snare produced by single strokes at different levels of dynamics, he then proceeded to playing rudiment-based patterns to finish off with a rhythm figure using all the kit elements as well as performing a groove.
The snare drum simply sounds classic. As it is the case with many vintage snares, this one also sounds a bit tinny and its reaction to harder playing is slightly choked. On the other hand, this eliminates the abrasive firecracker-like explosiveness. Rimshots sound great, not too sharp, while the cross-stick can even be described as perfect. It is certainly a snare drum any vintage gear lover would never be ashamed of.
This is what Max Psuja had to say about this kit: “Exactly the snare and the sound I’d love to expand my arsenal with. The warmth is known from classic 1970s recordings, the dynamics are not excessively high, which makes the instrument easy to control (at least for me). Wonderful!“
Since the day we made the test, the snare has found a buyer. You can get acquainted with MW-Vinage offer under this link: http://mw-vintage.pl/
Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time to put the Gretsch 4153 Jasper 14″ x 6.5″ snare drum to the most important test of all, i. e. the en.beatit.tv viewers’ test! Exclusively for you, we give you Max Psuja!