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If you're a fan of Gretsch drums and want a one-stop source for the company's history, this book is the only game in town. There are lots of cool photos and it's always great to read the insights of musical legends. If you read this book, you can learn a lot. That said, it could have been MUCH more. The first concern is that author buys into the myth that the only good Gretsch drums are old Gretsch drums. Since the company has used the same shells, lugs, and rims for the past 40 years or so, there's really not a heck of a lot of difference in sound between a drum from 1965 and one from 1995. An objective observer would also probably have to admit that the lacquer finished drums from the 1970s look a lot better than the older drums wrapped with generic plastic sparkle or pearl wrap. In recent (as in the past twenty) years, the company has made, with varying success, efforts to modernize its mounting hardware and cymbal stands. Despite this, the book only spends about a dozen pages on the last thirty years of the company (and those pages aren't very complimentary). This book also gives superficial treatment to the fact that Gretsch is a somewhat "unusual" company. How is it that the drums have high levels of craftsmanship and very expensive parts, but seemingly absurd design flaws (I recently saw a drum technician struggle to fit a standard head on a mid 1970's brass snare - all the time cursing how they were ALL like that). When Gretsch had its offices in Ridgeland, South Carolina, the building was nothing but a fairly modest (I don't dare say dumpy, but some might) warehouse with a sign that looked as though it had been amateurishly hand painted on surplus plywood (if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it). What was up with that?Read more ›
Am I the only one who finds it worrying (and worrying on a number of levels) that the auther of this book feels the need to a) be the first to review his own book and, b) that the author argues with a review he finds less than flattering? Maybe just a little controlling, huh? Maybe just plain creepy. Maybe just unpleasant.
I have read and re-read Chet's book with great pleasure. I'm actually new to the Gretch world and really appreciate the effort he took in recording this rich history. Now that I own a Gretch kit, it's sort of like being plugged into the lineage. The "best" issue referred to in the first two reviews (see bottom of thread) is in the ear of the beholder.
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There's a myth going around that old 1960s Gretsch sets sound fantastic and are better than the new Gretsch 125th Anniversary bop and jazz kits because the wood in the older drums has aged. Well, now let's just think about this for about three seconds-- Those great sounding drums Tony Williams played with Miles were new Gretsch drums; they weren't 30 years old at the time. Personally I would rather shell out the bucks for a brand new Gretsch bop kit than get one from the 60s and probably have to pay nearly as much even IF I could find one at all, let alone one with a nice polished wood finish rather than red sparkle or black diamond pearl. Regarding the book, rather than spending $35 here I'd rather put the money in an envelope marked "125th Anniversary Progressive Bop Kit."
Mr. Falzerano, THE authority on Gretsch Drums, has written a wonderful book giving the history of the Gretsch Drum Company, and featuring interviews with many Gretsch endorsers of the past. Great graphics, photos, and quality paper. Thanks Chet!
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