Gretsch Drums
Gretsch drums logo.png
Product typeDrum kits and hardware
CountryUnited States
Introduced1883; 139 years ago (1883)

Gretsch Drums is a division of American musical instrument manufacturer Gretsch. The company was founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1883. Gretsch drum kits have been used by many notable drummers including Max Roach, Tony Williams, Art Blakey, Vinnie Colaiuta, Mark Guiliana, Phil Collins,[1] Charlie Watts, Taylor Hawkins, Mitch Mitchell and Steve Ferrone.

Gretsch Drums manufactures and commercialises drum kits and hardware.

Gretsch Drums Catalina Maple drum kit with Sabian Cymbals
Gretsch Drums Catalina Maple drum kit with Sabian Cymbals


Gretsch was founded by Friedrich Gretsch, a German immigrant who opened his own musical instrument shop on 128 Middleton Street in Brooklyn, New York in 1883.[2] The operation moved to South 4th Street in 1894. After Friedrich's sudden death in 1895, his enterprising son, Fred Gretsch Sr., took over the business as a teenager. He expanded the business, adding Gretsch Building #1 at 109 South 5th Street in 1903, Gretsch Building #2 at 104–114 South 4th Street in 1910, and a new ten-story Gretsch Building #4 at 60 Broadway Street in 1916.[3] The company ultimately owned or operated six properties in the immediate area, including a warehouse on Dunham Place. Gretsch Building #4 was owned by the Gretsch family until 1999, at which time it was sold and redeveloped into luxury condominiums.

Fred Gretsch Sr. handed over the family business to his son, Fred Gretsch Jr., after retiring in 1942. Soon after taking over, Fred Jr. left to serve in WWII as a Navy commander, leaving the business in the hands of his younger brother, William Walter "Bill" Gretsch. Bill Gretsch died in 1948 and the company was again run by Fred Jr.

Both guitars and drums were manufactured at 60 Broadway until the mid-1960s, at which time drum production was consolidated at 109 South 5th Street so that guitar production could be expanded.

Fred Gretsch Jr. ran the company until 1967 when Gretsch was sold to Baldwin Piano Co. In 1969 Baldwin moved Gretsch instrument manufacturing operations from Brooklyn to a plant in DeQueen, Arkansas.[4]

In 1985 Gretsch was bought back by a member of the Gretsch family, Fred W. Gretsch, the son of the late William "Bill" Gretsch and great-grandson of original company founder Friedrich Gretsch. At that time drum production was relocated to Ridgeland, South Carolina, where it remains today.

In the late 1980s, Gretsch bought the remnants of the Slingerland Drum Company, which was later sold to Gibson, with Gretsch retaining the Leedy brand which had been part of the Slingerland purchase.

In 2000, Gretsch entered into an agreement with Kaman Music which granted them exclusive rights to manufacture Gretsch USA Custom and Signature drums. They also purchased the majority of the equipment used to make Gretsch drums.

In January 2015, the Lombardi Family announced that Drum Workshop had become the exclusive manufacturer and worldwide distributor of Gretsch Drums. Lombardi stressed that the factory in Ridgeland would remain open and that the Gretsch Family still owned the company. And in 2017, Hal Leonard joined the Gretsch Drums Team as the exclusive US distributor of the Renown, Catalina, and Energy series drums.

Gretsch's Custom & Signature Series drums continue to be manufactured in Ridgeland, South Carolina,[5] to this day.


Some notable musicians that play/have played Gretsch drums are:[6]

Discontinued Gretsch Products (partial list)


Gretsch does not currently make their own drum hardware, but instead offer hardware packs from Gibraltar Hardware.[citation needed]

Badge History

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See also


  1. ^ "Phil Collins". Drummerworld. 1951-01-30. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  2. ^ "Brooklyn Walking Tour: Traveling Through Gretsch History Today" by Fred Gretsch. [1]/
  3. ^ "These Luxury Lofts Are Home to Rock History and a Rocket-Related Mystery" by Natalie Lampert Bedford + Bowery, December 30, 2014.[2]
  4. ^ "Brooklyn Walking Tour: Traveling Through Gretsch History Today" by Fred Gretsch. [3]/
  5. ^ "Gretsch History - Drums and Drum Sets". Gretsch Drums. Retrieved 2013-01-28.[non-primary source needed]
  6. ^ Artists
  7. ^ "The Blasters May 25, 2018 at the Yost in Santa Ana, Multi-Cam HD Stereo". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-05.
  8. ^