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The Gretsch Renown is a highly popular drum kit due to how affordable it is compared to the other high-end kits from Gretsch. It’s a great professional option, and many drummers use it in recording in studios.
There’s much more these drummers offer, though. In this review, I’ll explain all the features it offers and how those features affect its performance. I’ll also give an overall idea of which types of drummers this kit would be good for.
- 7-ply maple shells
- 30-degree bearing edges
- 302 hoops
- Silver Sealer on the shell interiors
- Bass drum-mounted rack toms
- Excellent musicality
Gretsch Renown Gallery
Gretsch is one of my favorite drum manufacturers, and I find that Gretsch kits always deliver fantastic tones.
The Renown series is one of Gretsch’s professional lines of drums, and it produces gorgeous sounds across the kit. I find it is definitely a very musical sounding set of drums.
The main tonal qualities of the Gretsch Renown come from the 7-ply maple shells. These produce incredibly warm tones that are both powerful and musical.
However, the key feature to note about Renown drum sets is that they’re slightly softer than other maple sets from Gretsch.
When striking the drums as hard as possible, you don’t get as much volume as you would from a Gretsch Catalina or USA Custom. The difference isn’t substantial, but it makes these Renown kits slightly more ideal for softer gigging settings.
Another thing to mention about this kit is that the toms have an impressive tuning range. When you loosen all the heads, you get an amazing amount of low-end, especially from the bass drum and floor tom.
You can also tune the toms high to get resonating musical tones that are commonplace in jazz setups.
The kit is very musical. You can play subtle notes around the toms, and you’ll still get fullness of tone.
Lastly, the snare drum is quite sensitive, and it works brilliantly for jazz snare comping. The rimshot sound is also quite strong.
The Renown kit doesn’t sound quite as good as Gretsch’s USA Custom, Broadkaster, or Brooklyn, but it’s really not that far off. That’s why I still consider it an amazing professional option.
There are four main features to mention when looking at the build quality of the Gretsch Renown.
Firstly, the shells have 30-degree bearing edges. This is a classic feature of most professional Gretsch drum kits, which is different from the 45-degree edges that you’ll find on kits from other brands.
It gives the drums a slightly shorter sound that brings them closer to what vintage kits sounded like back in the day. This is one of the biggest reasons for Gretsch drums having a vintage appeal most of the time.
The drums have Gretsch’s 302 hoops to keep the heads in place. These are similar in design to die-cast hoops, but they’re a bit more flexible. They have rounded edges, making your sticks last a bit longer when you play rimshots.
You’ll find Gretsch’s Silver Sealers on the inside of each shell. These don’t affect the tones much, but they’re an iconic feature of most Gretsch drum sets.
The last hardware feature to mention is that the standard Renown kit comes with toms mounted to the bass drum. This isn’t too common from pro kits at this price point, and some drummers prefer this design while others prefer toms mounted to cymbal stands.
You can also find Renown kits with a virgin bass drum, but those ones tend to be slightly more expensive. I’m also a big fan of the tom mounts that are used on the standard version, so I highly recommend it.
This kit is about as versatile as any other professional maple drum set. You can use it for both jazz and rock, and it will sound amazing on any stage.
However, you should keep in mind that the drums are slightly softer than you may expect. When you mic them up, it really doesn’t make much of a difference. They just may not be as impactful without microphones.
The standard tones that you get from the drums also sound a lot better in jazz and other soft styles, especially when the drums are tuned high.
So, I think this kit is versatile, but it’s not as versatile as a lot of other drum kit options out there.
I’ve heard a few Gretsch artists mention that they use Renown drum kits for certain settings, while their main kits get used for everything else.
There are seven main finishes that you can choose from when getting a Gretsch Renown drum kit. With this kit being the lowest-price option in Gretsch’s list of professional drum sets, it’s understandable that there are only seven finish options.
Each finish looks fantastic, though. The Gloss Natural and Piano Black are the only options with a single color. The Gloss Natural offers a natural wooden look, while the Piano Black is a simple black finish.
The three burst finishes are called Stain Antique Blue Burst, Cherry Burst, and Satin Tobacco Burst. These three finishes have two colors, with one in the middle fading to the same color at the top and bottom of each shell.
Finally, you get the two vintage finishes, which are called Silver Oyster Pearl and Vintage Pearl. These finishes make the kit look like it came straight from the 1960s, but you get all the modern touches to round out the appearance.
One of the biggest reasons for this being such a great kit is that it’s surprisingly affordable compared to other pro Gretsch kits.
If you’re looking for a pro kit that won’t break the bank, the Renown is the first option in Gretsch’s lineup. Kits like the Catalina are often seen as lower-quality by pro drummers, but most pro drummers have no problem playing a Renown set.
Another feature that puts this kit above many others in the same price range is that it comes with a snare drum. The kits that it competes with, such as the DW Design Series and Tama Starclassic Performer, don’t include snares.
This means that you’re getting a larger setup for the money that you’re paying, and then you don’t need to worry about buying a snare drum separately.
The kit is still quite expensive for drummers that aren’t used to paying more than $1000 for a shell pack. So, it’s not a great option for beginners or intermediate drummers that would be happy with a cheaper set.
However, it’s a beautiful choice for drummers wanting a high-end kit to play gigs and record professionally with.
There isn’t much to say about the Gretsch Renown that is negative. It’s a fantastic kit that most drummers would love.
The only features to mention that may cause you to pick something else is that the drums are slightly softer and the rack toms come with a bass drum mount.
If you want to have no rack toms on your bass drum, you’ll need to pay slightly more for a setup with cymbal mounts.
Other than that, this is an amazing kit from Gretsch, and there have been so many Gretsch artists singing its praises over the years.
What Comes In The Gretsch Renown Box?
- 14” x 5.5” snare drum
- 10” x 7” rack tom
- 12” x 8” rack tom
- 16” x 14” floor tom
- 22” x 18” kick drum
- Dual tom holder
Gretsch Renown At A Glance
- Highly responsive and musical tones
- Excellent kit for recording
- More affordable than Gretsch’s other professional drum sets
- Impressive tuning range
- Awesome finish options
- Renown kits with cymbal stand mounts for toms are slightly more expensive