Gretsch / 'Birdland' Round Badge 22, 13, 16 & Snare / 1950's / Cadillac Green / Drum / Percussion
Gretsch 'Birdland' Round Badge 22, 13, 16 & Snare
In the opinion of noted vintage drum expert, Steve Maxwell of Chicago, this is the rarest and possibly the most desirable of all Gretsch kits.
Cadillac Green Nitron was the colour of the kit that Gretsch built as the house kit for the Birdland night club in NYC in the mid 1950s. Gretsch had been building a guitar that was finished in Cadillac Green with gold hardware and they decided to do the same with a drum set.
There were only a few different nitron finishes and they were in the colour line for only a few years, and Cadillac Nitron green is the most highly sought after and is the only colour that came with gold plated hardware.
Over the years very few of these kits have surfaced. Through research less than a dozen kits in total are known throughout the world.
This particular kit was owned from new by a gentleman from Lake Tahoe, California. It was his working kit and he played it with the Rogers Dynasonic snare drum displayed. It is not know if this particular set ever came with a matching snare or whether due to financial reasons, it was sold along the way.
The drums came into my possession in 2001 from the estate sale of the aforementioned drummer and, are in the 22” x 14”, 13” x 9”, & 16” x 16” configuration – the Name Band model.
All parts on the drums are gold plated – right down to the tension rod washers - apart from the bass drum spurs. The bass drum hoops are non-original and would have been finished in Cadillac Green with Gold Sparkle inlay.
Interestingly, there are two factory fitted bass drum mounted cymbal arms in the Buddy Rich configuration for ride and splash – also gold plated! Most kits of the day had only one holder and sometimes this was mounted at 12 o’clock on the bass drum and then the arm angled steeply to the drummer’s right, to facilitate easy playing.
The 13” x 9” tom wrap shows some checking but I have decided not to repair this, as the kit has its own character – warts and all - coming as it did from the hands of the original owner.
The kit is accompanied by a Gretsch Floating Action Bass Drum Pedal and flush base Hi Hat. Together with a flush base snare stand and cymbal stand.
This being a Nitron wrap and along with the diamond plate floor tom leg holders would date this kit to the late 1950s.
More info and pictures www.rustydrums.co.uk
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