Hello drummers, etc.!

October 20, 2007 at 3:46 pm 4 comments

Today I have decided to come out of my cave and get into this blogging stuff. Part of my procrastination problem is that I am interested in so many things; it was hard to decide what to blog about. I will probably wind up creating numerous blogs on the these many topics. But for now I have decided to share my passion for music, and in particular drums. I have been playing drums since 1964. At the time I was in third grade. I am now 51. So it’s been about 43 years. Most of the middle years were spent playing professionally, but for the past 7 or 8 years I have become a closet drummer, retired from professional playing. I now play for my own enjoyment, that is to keep up my chops and keep creating. As a musician my passion has taken on a variety of dimensions. One of these is the aesthetics and utility of the many instruments I have come upon and the creative individuals who’ve designed them. I would like to share one of my favorites.

 Gladstone 1 Gladstone 2 Gladstone 3

Here is a truly rare drum with a significant history. This snare drum is a 6.5×14 Gretsch Gladstone with 3-way tuning. Color is Oriental Pearl, which was the period-correct name for what we know today as White Marine Pearl. This drum has an interesting history. The drum originally belonged to Joe Sinai, who was a member of the San Francisco Symphony. Chet Falzerano, noted Gladstone collector and author of the Gretsch book, acquired this drum.

When he acquired it, Joe had cut diamond shaped holes in the shell to change the sound. Chet acquired another Gretsch Gladstone shell and mounted the hardware on it. This is the drum you see here.  

The drum had then been sold by Chet to Harry Cangany, noted vintage drum author and historian. In fact, this exact drum is shown on page 61 of Harry’s book titled “The Great American Drums And The Companies That Made Them, 1920-1969.” It is shown as one of the relatively few drums that Harry considers to be the most collectible snare drums from this era. In addition, this exact drum is also featured on page 159 of John Aldridge’s landmark book titled “Guide To Vintage Drums.” The drum remained in Harry’s collection for several years.  

The Gretsch Gladstone snares were built by in the 30s by Gretsch through an agreement with Billy Gladstone. The drums utilized Gretsch shells along with Billy’s innovative designs for the throw off, internal muffler,and the ingenious 3-way tuning system. This particular drum has a standard internal tone control rather than the Gladstone style internal muffler. The 3-way tuning system developed by Billy Gladstone allows all tuning for the drum to be done from the top head.

One part of the 3-way tuning key locks onto the larger portion of the top head tension rods and tunes the top head; another part of the 3-way tuning key locks onto the small nut on the top tension rods and tunes the bottom head; the third part of the 3-way tuning key simultaneously locks onto the large and small portions of the top tension rod, thus allowing both heads to be tuned in unison from the top of the drum. The snare strainer is Billy’s wonderfully simple design. As you might expect, the drum sounds great.   

Are you a musician? What do you think of this drum? Do you have any drums that really turn you on?


Entry filed under: Gretsch Drums. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

DW Classics Buddy Rich Commemorative Kit #32

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. zylla3  |  October 21, 2007 at 1:13 am

    I’m so proud you finally started your blog. It’s one little step to retirement…maybe early retirement will be possible if you get lucky.

  • 2. medotte  |  October 21, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Congratulations for succesfully starting with your own blog. You are a talented drummer… it’s good to share what you know and your passion! Cheers to all drummers!

  • 3. TommyDe  |  August 11, 2008 at 4:27 pm

    I dig those Gladstone Snares– I wish that I coud see/play this one –MAN -it looks like IT IS NEW-
    I bet IT is MONSTER sounding–What is the deal is IT 4 Sale?

    • 4. drumblogger  |  June 17, 2011 at 1:41 am

      Hey Tommy,

      The drum was for sale for quite some time on my site Xzyllar Vintage Drums & Percussion (www.xzyllardrums.com). It hadn’t sold so I traded it with the Max Roach snare to Steve Maxwell for some Spizzichino cymbals and a Cravioto set. The drum sounded fantastic for jazz of course and for low volume general playing. As you know trying to get a fat rock sound out of this type of drum loses its character.


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