Vintage Gretsch Drums, 1980s USA ‘SSB’ Shell-Pack, Nitron Black
Purchased in Germany, these vintage Gretsch drums have been with the original owner since 1989.
- 13″ x 9″ – Serial Number 86498 (revised ‘Stop Sign’ badge)
- 16″ x 16″ – Serial Number 40694 (square badge)
- 22″ x 14″ – Serial Number 40690 (square Badge)
All three shells are the very desired 6-ply Jasper-made (Maple/Gum) shells. There’s a ton of info on the interweb thingy if you wish to read about the Jasper wood company and their association with vintage Gretsch drums. Here’s a snippet for ya!
Gumwood is from the American Gumwood tree. It’s a tight grained wood that’s a bit softer than maple .So, usually, when people talk about Jasper, they are referring to the Gretsch sound. And the Gretsch sound has a lot more to do with the entire drum design than it does with the wood type. Another theory we heard moons ago: The regional lumber business where Jasper was located, produced more gum trees and so, in turn, utilized gumwood as their secondary wood, along with the (then) common maple and mahogany primary woods.
This set has been looked after very well. All bearing edges are original and in great condition; but there are a few vintage drum whinges to list!
- The 13″ Tom has ‘Snare rash’ and there are a few bumps in the wrap (see pics). Both ‘Pratt’ Mufflers are in very good condition and there’s no rust which tells us this set has enjoyed some warmer climes! We tried Remo and Evans heads on this shell and both brands fit well. The heads currently fitted to this Tom are from the Remo Coated Classic Fit variety – BOOOM! Yes! they really do like vintage Gretsch drums should!
- The 16″ Floor-Tom has no dampers fitted. It is not clear why this was ordered without them, but like everything in the hedonistic times of the 80s, no one cared or was that bothered! “It’s a Gretsch set, he must be good, yak yak yak!” There are minor surface marks in the wrap which are hard to pick up and some of the tension cases show minor signs of corrosion. The sound is beautiful and very warm.
- The 22″x 14″ Bass Drum has lovely wrap joints, nice and tight. The shell interior is quite stunning for its age, but the Bass Drum spurs have quite a lot of ‘dings’ in the metal. We suspect this is due to overtightening or ‘stage-rage’ when the drum may have started creeping forwards. The Tom-holder has a slight movement in the ball-joint but could be replaced with a Gibraltar ball-joint. It’s not a major issue, but it’s only fair to tell you it’s there. The original Bass Drum hoops would have been natural maple but have been replaced with a stunning set of 60s hoops with a faded silver inlay. The batter and reso heads are Aquarian Vintage.
Overall, this is a very nice set of vintage Gretsch drums. Yes, it’s strange the 13″ Tom came with ‘Pratt’ mufflers and the older badge, but we believe this is how it was originally sold. It’s a USA Custom set from a much sought after era in Gretsch drums for a fraction of the price of a new set. If you want any affirmation about the ‘Stop Sign’ badge era then look no further to the Fairfax Studios VST from Addictive Drums, which uses an ‘SSB’ set for its glorious samples!