Gretsch Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum

Gretsch Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum

Most of the time when I’m given something to review it’s received on the basis of “oh, cool” and I get on with it. This, though, is one of those times when I was actively looking forward to getting hold of the item to try it out. Actually, to be honest, I’ve been wanting to review this drum since it came out.

I like things that are non-standard, and I think Keith Carlock’s signature snare drum – much like the man himself – is quite non-standard.

The drum features a 14×5.5” brass shell with a heavy patina finish which presents as, and feels, both quite vibey and vintage. It also features 20-strand wires, single-ply [Remo} Permatone heads, 45’ bearing edges, 4mm die cast hoops and Gretsch’s Lightening throw-off. Each drum has an ID label signed by Keith.

To look at, and while this may be subjective, I think the drum is fantastic; it looks rustic and stylish at the same time, and given how the finish is arrived at, each shell is unique.

In terms of playing the drum, it feels very solid under the stick, which you would expect with a thicker shell and those 4mm thick hoops. Whilst the shell itself is arguably on the slimmer side of what you might call a ‘thick’ shell – to my mind this is 3mm plus – it definitely feels like a thick shelled drum. It’s weightier all round, and the feel, performance and sound all reflect this. It’s a great drum to play.

The sound the drum produces is typically brass, i.e. bright and ringy, with a great attack too, but it also has a nice, controlled decay to it. I found this to be pretty consistent throughout each tensioning level. I did find that at the lowest tensioning I tried (just above finger tight) the drum had an inherent ‘woof’ to it around 200hz which I had to remove with a bit of eq’ing but other than that I had no issues with it.

From the official video Gretsch did for the drum, it seems Mr Carlock prefers it at a higher tensioning, but he also says it can be versatile and I’d agree with that. I only got to use the drum in a live situation once, but the guitarist I was with commented about how cutting it was. 

Although I wouldn’t want to really use this drum tuned down without a gel or similar, it will go down all the same. For me, the drum was perfect at a medium to higher tension as it had great tone, attack and cut with body.

You can’t go wrong with a brass-shelled drum, I think that’s a well known fact. This particular drum is a good all-round size, looks great and sounds awesome.

For more details, head over to –


David Bateman

November 2022

By | 2022-11-17T12:40:30+00:00 November 17th, 2022|Categories: Reviews|Comments Off on Gretsch Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum