Gretsch G Series GS2
Gretsch G Series Drum Kit
I''ve said a few times recently that some how or other I''ve reviewed more Gretsch drum kits than any other over the last ten years. I guess therefore that it really shouldn''t have been a surprise that here I am reviewing another one in early 2012.
The model I was given was the G Series GS2 which comes complete with a Gibraltar 4600 hardware pack, Sabian SBR cymbal 3-pack and Gretsch 5A drumsticks. Everything a budding drummer needs really.
I have to say that I didn''t try and use the stock batter heads on the toms when I took the kit out to try. I did initially set them up with the supplied heads but quickly found I didn''t like them because they''re thin and flimsy, both in sound and feel. However, I did leave the snare and bass drum stock heads on. With the change of tom heads, I found the kit to be much more convincing and something I would have definitely gigged with.
The bass drum comes with a pre-damped batter head and a more normal logo resonant head. Together at a moderate tuning (i.e. not too tight) and with no other damping inside or out, the drum produced a nice rounded tone which I was completely happy with. Having listened to a video recording of the kit from out the front, in retrospect, I could have put a small amount of damping in the drum just to take out some of the overtones, but while playing the kit I was perfectly happy.
The snare drum, I think, should have had a change of head before I started the evening because the stock head, again, personally did nothing for me. The drum itself felt fine to play and I can''t fault it but I didn''t feel inspired by it with the supplied head. Having said that, I swapped out the snare about half way through the evening for one of my own drums and it also didn''t inspire me, so there you go. I''m going to blame the room on that basis.
The toms were my favourite drums of the kit. As I said, I swapped out the stock clear single ply batter heads (only) for some double ply coated ones, albeit by different manufacturers, and found that the drums immediately sounded better for it; full, rounded and woody.
This is always a potential selling (and failing) point with lower end kits - how much has the builder included in the design for the money. This is a big consideration and if you''re starting out, you want something decent enough to last you without it falling apart and without necessarily outgrowing it in a year.
In terms of the build quality of the G Series, I didn''t find this to be bad at all and fairly in line with what I would expect from a kit of this price range.
However, I can''t really understand why a kit of this price - which, at the end of the day is, with everything else included at the higher end price wise - doesn''t come with a full compliment of lugs as on more expensive kits, and indeed, other kits of the same level. What I mean here is the mounted toms come with five lugs per head when I would have expected six, and six on the floor tom when normally there would be eight.
Now, obviously I''m not party to the costs involved in this type of kit, but for the sake of making the kit that little bit more appealing, I can''t think this would add that much cost. I think at any level, it''s the small things that make a difference and will make or break a purchase.
From what I could see, all of the bearing edges on the drums were quite rounded and true, the insides of the shells were well finished and the hardware/metal work was up to standard. Always reasuring stuff.
The hardware is, as I''ve said, by Gibraltar. For me, this means quality and reliability and something I probably won''t have to think about too much while I''m playing. The 4600 hardware pack that comes with the kit isn''t going to stand up to hard touring, but it will get you on your way.
Included in the pack is a hihat stand, a snare stand, bass drum pedal and one straight cymbal stand and one with a disappearing boom. It''s no frills hardware which is absolutely fine, but it''s sturdy, does the job and that is all you want from it. It certainly held up to my expectations and the cymbal stands easily held my 19" crash and 20" ride giving me no worries at all.
For a bit more in detail info on the hardware - http://www.gibraltarhardware.com/pdf/4600PKsetup.pdf
The kit comes with a Sabian SBR three (Performance) pack consisting of 14" hihats, a 16" crash and a 20" ride. Whilst I won''t go into too much depth with these, from my experience with them, they''re great for what they are and seemingly a good complimentary addition to the kit. Possibly the best thing about them is that the SBR range is expandable to include much more than you get in the Performance pack and they''re not going to break the bank.
For more details, including sound samples, check out - http://www.sabian.com/en/series/sbr
I don''t want to come across as being too hard on the kit here at all and I think it''s important to remember exactly what you get here for the price, as that is a lot.
Notwithstanding this though, I''ve spent quite a lot of time over the last few weeks thinking about this point and having looked at the package in the context of other kits in the same vein, I''m not sure where it would sit for me in terms of overall value. I will say, it''s not specifically about the products involved here, but rather what you get against what you can buy from other manufacturers.
However, besides all that, I like the sizes you get and the build quality is just about where I would expect it to be with something of the price range. The bearing edges seemed true to my touch and for an overall package, there''s a lot there and pretty much everything you need to get you started, all except a stool in fact.
The hardware, both the stands and the fittings used on the drums I couldn''t fault - in fact I''ll say that if I came across this type of quality in rehearsal rooms I''d be thrilled and wouldn''t spend time worry about things either falling over or moving. So, in conclusion, what I''ll end with is - check them out for yourself.
They''re in the shops now.
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