Gretsch Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum Review

Gretsch Drums Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum Review 4

I review products independently and only recommend products I would use myself. If you purchase through a link, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Keith Carlock is one of the most established drummers in the business. His contribution to the music industry has been immense, playing with artists like Toto, Sting, and John Mayer.

He’s a favorite drummer of many, and it’s fairly common for drummers to try achieving the same sounds from their drums that Keith Carlock has. He has such a distinct playing style, which is why he’s so popular.

This is where the Keith Carlock Signature snare comes into play. He developed this snare with Gretsch, and it’s a fantastic snare drum to add to your collection. In this review, we’ll see what makes it so good.

Gretsch Drums Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum

Key Features

  • 2mm brass shell
  • 45-degree bearing edges
  • Die-cast hoops
  • 20-strand snare wire
  • Lightning throw-off
  • 10 lugs


Build Quality


Gretsch Drums Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum Ratings





Build Quality




The Gretsch Keith Carlock signature snare is a high-end snare drum that will work well in most professional settings. It utilizes some of Gretsch’s best design techniques, making it an amazing snare drum with great build and sound quality. 

It’s a brass snare drum, so it has fairly different tones from what you’d get from snares with wooden shells. When building a snare drum collection, it’s a good idea to have both wooden and metal snares at your disposal, as the varied tones fit well in certain contexts. 

Keith Carlock almost exclusively uses this snare drum in all his gigs, so that just tells you how good and versatile it is. 

In this review, we’ll take a deeper look into all the aspects that make it a high-end snare, and I’ll explain who and what it’s good for. 

Sound Quality

The Gretsch Keith Carlock snare drum has a 2mm brass shell, which is the biggest contributor to its strong tones. It has a distinct crack with plenty of body. This means that you get a sharp sound every time you hit it, but you also feel a lot of depth from your strokes.

It’s a fantastic snare drum to use if you don’t like using muffling.

It has very pleasant overtones that sing out nicely. They’re controlled by the die-cast hoops, so they don’t sound overbearing. When you muffle the snare a bit, you get a beefy and powerful sound.

The tuning range is very impressive, as this snare sounds amazing with low, medium, and high tunings.

Keith Carlock is a seasoned session musician, so he wanted to make a snare drum that he could use for every style of music that he plays.

When tuned low, you get a warm thuddy tone that is quite forceful. It’s fantastic for styles like worship and country, where low tones are needed.

The medium tuning is arguably the best with this snare, as you get a rich tone that is cracking, but it also sounds incredibly musical. High tunings are also great, sounding very impactful.

I love the articulation you get from this snare. It’s thanks to the snare wires interacting with the brass shell. All your notes are very clear and distinct.

Build Quality

The snare is built with all the features that you’ll commonly find on premium snare drums. It’s fitted with 2mm die-cast hoops. These hoops are a lot more durable than standard triple-flanged hoops, and they control the tones a lot better.

They also make the snare drum feel heavier, which gives you a good sense of quality. Speaking of weight, the die-cast hoops combined with the brass shell make this snare very heavy. Just take note of that.

The snare comes equipped with a Remo Gretsch Permatone batter head. It’s the perfect head for bringing out the best tonal qualities, and it’s one that you won’t need to replace as soon as you get the snare.

It has Gretsch’s lighting throw-off and butt plate. These are fairly simple snare drum components, but they fit the snare drum perfectly, ensuring that it works smoothly.

The snare has 10 lugs around the shell, which gives you plenty of room for different tuning settings. It’s quite easy to tune as well, as the snare tends to sound amazing with any tuning.

There’s something special about high-end Gretsch snare drums, and you get that experience with the Keith Carlock snare thanks to its build quality.


The downside of this snare drum is that it’s quite expensive. It’s a high-end snare with a high-end price tag. So, you’ll need to save a fair bit of cash before buying it.

However, I’d say the versatility it offers completely justifies its high price. You could buy this snare drum and use it for every gig that you play. With its wide tuning range and excellent playability, it’s an all-purpose option.

You could spend your whole budget on this one snare instead of buying three different snares for varying styles of music. 

With that being said, there are plenty of good snare drums that cost less. The quality you get with this Keith Carlock snare can be considered luxurious, whereas you’d still get good playability from a more affordable pro snare.

Spending a grand on a snare drum is something that not all drummers are comfortable doing, so you need to weigh up the pros and cons and make a decision from there.


Versatility is the strongest aspect of the Gretsch Keith Carlock snare drum. It’s such a good option to use within any style, as you can tune it to fit almost every setting perfectly.

The snare drum gives you exactly what you put into it. If you play it softly, you’ll get light and delicate notes that will sound appropriate for jazz. If you play strong rimshots, you’ll get a cracking tone that will cut through a loud heavy metal band.

This is the type of snare drum that you want to take with you to a studio recording. Whether you’re recording a rock or pop album, it will sound fantastic.

With a bit of muffling, you can easily change how the snare sounds to make it fit the style of music you’re playing.


The snare has a Vintage Patina finish that looks incredible. It has a rustic vibe to it, and the neutral color tends to fit well within any drum setup.

The snare only has one finish option, though. That’s something you’ll find with most signature snare drums, so you may be a bit disappointed if you’re someone who loves to have different color choices.


Overall, I’d say this snare drum is an incredible option for anyone who can afford it. It’s one of the best metal snare drums in Gretsch’s product range, and it’s a must-have if you’re a big Keith Carlock fan.

It’s a premium snare drum with a high price tag that will sound amazing in professional settings. It works equally well in studio and gigging environments.

For studios, it benefits from having clear stick articulation and extensive response. For live gigs, it benefits from having a strong cracking tone.

If the price tag is a bit steep, there are plenty of other brass snare drums to check out with amazing tones and playability. They may just not be as versatile as the Keith Carlock snare.

Gretsch Drums Keith Carlock Signature Snare Drum At A Glance


  • Very versatile
  • Sounds amazing with an unmuffled tone
  • Die-cast hoops add to the quality
  • Vintage Patina finish looks incredible and fits with any drum set
  • Excellent stock batter head


  • Very expensive
  • It’s quite heavy, which may be a con for some drummers
Drumeo Banner
Drumeo Banner Desktop
Scroll to Top