> > > BeatIt Vintage Test: Gretsch Stop Sign Drop G „Grand Prix”

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 have been publishing the results of our tests successively in the last few months, and there’s lots more to come. Today, it is time for…

An early 80s Gretsch Stop Sign Drop G “Grand Prix” kit

photo: beatit.tv

1. Product

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. The kit tested here features the famous ‘stop sign’ badges with the equally known ‘drop G’ logo, both of which would suggest the date of production some time in the early 1980s. The shells are made from 6-ply North American maple/gumwood plywood. The shell finish is Rosewood lacquer, and the sizes are: 12″ x 8″, 13″ x 9″, 16” x 16”, 22″ x 14″.

2. Basic drum kit specification:

  • Manufacturer: Gretsch
  • Year of production: Early 1980s
  • Material: American Maple / gumwood
  • ‘Grand Prix’ configuration: 22” x 14” bass drum, 12″ x 8″, 13″ x 9″, 16” x 16” toms
  • Shells: Jasper
  • Finish: Rosewood lacquer
  • Double tom holder and floor tom legs included

3. Test and sound

When testing the Gretsch Stop Sign Drop G ‘Grand Prix’ drum kit, we also used a 14″ x 6,5″ Gretsch 4153 Jasper snare, Impression cymbals, Aquarian heads (Response 2 Coated on the toms, Super Kick I Coated on the bass drum) and a Remo Ambassador on the snare.

Max first presented the sound of the toms and kick drum produced by single strokes at different levels of dynamics, then the kick drum together with the toms to add the snare after a while. The whole thing was finished off with a rhythm figure using all the kit elements as well as performing a groove.

We are dealing with a drum kit displaying THAT characteristic Gretsch sound, only modern vintage type. The toms sound in a singing, warm and deep manner (regardless of the size) and will deliver both when playing rock (the floor tom has a lot of attack and low end) and jazz. Because of its depth, the bass drum is probably the most vintage element of the kit. Generally, it must be said this drum kit is an absolute marvel, which is great for recording as well as on stage.

This is what Max Psuja had to say about this kit: “Resonant toms, well-balanced low and high frequencies. The kick drum sounds very low, with a slightly ‘cardboard’ quality to it. It could produce great results if played with an old-school, soft felt beater. I prefer older drum sets myself, but I certainly like this one. All the drums blend with one another very nicely both as far as sound and dynamics go.”

The drums are available for purchase at MW-Vinage Internet store under this link: http://mw-vintage.pl/gretsch-stop-sign-drop-g-grand-prix-22-12-13-16/

Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time to put the 22″, 12″, 13″, 16″ Gretsch Stop Sign Drop G ‘Grand Prix’ drum kit to the most important test of all, i. e. the en.beatit.tv viewers’ test! Exclusively for you, we give you Max Psuja!