Gretsch Renown Review

Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

The Renown is a pro-level drum set from Gretsch that comes in at a fairly affordable price. While it borrows many features from Gretsch’s top-end kits, it’s highly accessible by most drummers who can save a bit of cash to get it.

There are so many great qualities about this kit that make it a useful tool for pro drummers. We’re going to look into all of them and tell you why this might be the right kit for you. Let’s jump right in!

Table of Contents

The biggest key feature of this kit is its versatility. The tones of the drums are so warm and smooth that they tend to fit every single style of music very well. Whether you’re playing jazz or metal, the Gretsch Renown will fit right in.

Another key feature would be the immaculate build quality. It’s a kit for pros, so you’re getting pro build quality that will last you a lifetime.

The final key feature is the 302 hoops on the drums, but we’ll elaborate more on those when we talk about the hardware and construction of the kit.

Build Quality
95%
Performance
94%
Price to Value Ratio
99%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Very versatile
  • Pro sounds
  • Very easy to tune
  • Great build quality
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Still fairly expensive compared to other kits on the market

Construction

The kit is made with 7-ply maple shells. Maple wood makes the drums sound warm and smooth compared to more aggressive shells like birch and mahogany. Although they’re warm, they still produce a good amount of cut to be effective in all playing situations.

The bearing edges of the drums are a bit more shallow than normal, giving the tone a softer attack than most other drum kits in the same category or price and build. In turn, this gives you a very unique-sounding drum set.

Hardware

The Gretsch Renown is a unique pro kit because the rack toms mount directly to the bass drum. Most pro kits have the rack toms mount to cymbal stands to keep the bass drum tone clean, but Gretsch has designed the mounts in a way that doesn’t affect the tone.

Having the toms mounted on the bass drum makes them feel very tight in place. It also makes positioning them at comfortable angles a very easy process.

The other standout hardware feature comes in the form of the 302 hoops on all the drums. These hoops are similar to die-cast hoops. However, they’re lighter and more flexible, allowing the drums to resonate more freely. They basically allow the toms to sing smoothly. Great for jazz!

Price Value Ratio

The Renown is very reasonably priced for a pro kit. The most expensive configuration costs just over $1500 while the least expensive costs a few hundred dollars less. For the tone you’re getting from these drums, you’d assume they’d cost a lot more.

The lack of a snare drum does lower to price-to-value ratio a tiny bit. However, it’s not enough to steer you away from the kit. In fact, the Renown snare drums only cost around $300, so adding one to your purchase wouldn’t break the bank.

Many drummers like to buy separate snare drums from shell packs, so Gretsch didn’t include the snare with these ones.

Different Configurations

1 Up 2 Down 4-Piece Shell Pack

One of the best things about the Gretsch Renown is the number of different shell packs that Gretsch offers it in. The first one to note is the 4-piece shell pack that has one rack tom and two floor toms.

As the Renown works for all styles, you could get this kit configuration to play heavy rock and metal. The 14” and 16” floor toms plenty of low end tones to play around with for those heavy tunes. The 22” kick booms and the 12” rack tom packs a suitable punch.

You’ll feel like John Bonham when playing this setup.

2 Up 1 Down 4-Piece Shell Pack

This shell pack is your standard kit setup with two rack toms and one floor tom. The sizes are a bit smaller than the previous kit with the rack toms being 10” and 12”, the floor tom being 14”, and the kick drum being 20”.

The 2 up 1 down setup is the configuration to go for if you’re going to be playing many different styles of music. The kick drum provides a bit more of a subtle kick than the larger 22”, yet it still sounds quite beefy.

These drums can be tuned to sound really good at different tunings, but this configuration tends to sound the best when tuned around the mid range.

3-Piece Shell Pack

The 3-piece shell pack is the beefiest of them all, having a massive 24” kick drum. The rack tom is 13” and the floor tom is 16”. These large sizes cater well to larger-than-life drumming that you’ll mostly find in rock music situations.

However, this particular setup could work well for big band drumming as well. The huge kick drum seems to boom for days and big sounding jazz tunes need that tone.

This 3-piece setup is the cheapest configuration of the 3 as it comes with one less drum. Just note that you’ll need to buy a snare drum separately as none of the configurations come with one.

Things to Consider:

Gretsch Renown in the Studio

As the kit is so versatile, it works incredibly well as a studio kit. Recording producers need a kit that can take on all styles of music and sound very good while doing it. This kit will do just that.

In terms of actual recording, the warmth of the drums makes mixing them a fairly simple process. They’ll provide a very natural tone that will sound great within a mix.

Gretsch Renown for a Live Gig

The resonance of the drums also makes them sound very good in live situations. They’ll ring across a stadium if you put them there. However, you can muffle them to get a more controlled tone if you wish. They’ll still sound really good.

Another thing that makes the Renown great for live gigging is the professional appearance of it. The shells and hardware have a unique structure that makes spotting a Renown kit very easy.

All the finishes that the Renown comes in have a smooth aesthetic and will look great under the stage lights.

Gretsch Renown Review
  • Build Quality
  • Performance
  • Price to Value
4.7

Conclusion

The Gretsch Renown is a great choice if you’re in the market for a mid-tier pro kit. It’s good enough to play in the most professional situations, yet it’s affordable enough for most people to get it.

Gretsch has an incredibly rich history and most drummers who own Gretsch kits are incredibly proud and fond of them. If you need a versatile drum set, the Gretsch Renown should be high on your bucket list.

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