Gretsch drums are a staple in the music industry. The sound of Gretsch drums defined the drum sound of a generation and continues to be a favorite for drummers worldwide. Gretsch drums are very well made and high quality, but there is some confusion surrounding where exactly these drums are made. Let’s clear up the confusion and dive deep into the construction of Gretsch drums.
Gretsch drums are made in Ridgeland, South Carolina, in the United States, and in Taiwan at the DW drum factory. The Broadkaster, USA Custom, and Brooklyn series Gretsch drums are made in the US, while the Renown, Catalina, and Energy lineups are produced in Taiwan.
The build location of Gretsch drums is important, as these drums are sold as all-American instruments, which is a hallmark of quality, but in the modern world of musical instruments, very few large manufacturers construct their products in only one location. Are all Gretsch drums still American-made? If not, where are Gretsch drums made nowadays?
Where are Gretsch Drums Made?: A Brief History
Gretsch is an American musical instrument company that began by making drums. Drum production is at the very core of this company, and Gretsch drums remain one of the most beloved instruments in the world today.
The company began in the early 1880s, founded by Friedrich Gretsch. This drum company was first opened and began manufacturing drums in Brooklyn, New York. Gretsch Was owned and run by the founder until his retirement when he handed the company over to his son.
At this time, the company expanded rapidly and built three buildings exclusively for drum manufacturing. Gretsch quickly became one of the largest drum manufacturers in the world and expanded into the manufacture of guitars as well as drums.
The company expanded so rapidly that a ten-story manufacturing plant was constructed in Brooklyn dedicated to the manufacture of drums and guitars. This building was operational and manufactured Gretsch instruments for many years and was owned by the Gretsch family until 1999 until it was sold and redeveloped.
Gretsch was owned and run by a member of the Gretsch family from its inception until 1967, when the company was officially sold to the Baldwin Piano Company. The manufacture of Gretsch instruments was at that time moved to Arkansas to coincide with Baldwin instrument construction.
The company remained under the Baldwin Piano Company umbrella until it was purchased back into the Gretsch family by the great-grandson of the original founder in 1985. At this point in the timeline, Gretsch manufacturing was moved again to Ridgeland in South Carolina.
In 2002 Gretsch signed a deal with the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation that put Fender under control of all Gretsch instrument manufacturing and distribution. This distributed the manufacturing of Gretsch drums to various locations under the Fender Umbrella.
In 2015 Fender sold its manufacturing and distribution rights of Gretsch drums to Drum Workshop, Inc., which is the owner and manufacturer of DW drums. In 2017 musical instrument and music book distributor Hal Leonard looked over the distribution of three of the Gretsch drum models.
However, through all of the changes and turns, the Gretsch company remains owned by the Gretsch family, despite the fact that manufacturing and distribution are run by other companies.
Gretsch is owned by the Gretsch family to this day, and the company continues to manufacture and distribute some of the very best drums in the world today.
Where Is Gretsch Drums Based?
With all of the changes and turns in the history of Gretsch drums, the location of the Gretsch headquarters and where Gretsch drums are based has become somewhat confusing.
It is important for musicians to understand where their instruments are made, as this determines how and where the instruments are manufactured, which in turn is a mark of the quality and sound of the instrument. Musicians want to know where an instrument is made, as this determines the value of the instrument and indicates the quality and quality of sound that the instrument has.
For this reason, many drummers want to know the real, accurate location of the manufacture of Gretsch drums and where the company is based.
The Gretsch drum company has been based in Ridgeland in South Carolina, USA, since 1985, when the company was re-acquired by the Gretsch family. This location remains the base of operations for the Gretsch company to this day, particularly the drum section of the company.
Gretsch guitars are manufactured in many different locations as these instruments are produced by the Fender Musical Instrument Corporation, which has manufacturing locations in several different countries, including Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, and the United States.
However, Gretsch drums remain based in Ridgeland despite all of the changes to the rest of the company.
Where Are Gretsch Drums Made?
Gretsch guitars are produced in various countries, and two different companies are in charge of the manufacturing and distribution of Gretsch instruments. This company has moved locations several times over the years, and the manufacture of Gretsch drums has moved along with it, but where are Gretsch rums made today?
This is an important question because so many instruments are produced under the Gretsch name, and so many of them are manufactured in various places.
The vast majority of Gretsch drums are manufactured in Ridgeland, South Carolina, in the United States at the Gretsch drums headquarters. However, not every drum kit or drum model under the Gretsch name is manufactured in the United States.
All of the more expensive, more premium, and higher-quality drums that bear the Gretsch name are produced in the Ridgeland manufacturing plant. This includes the USA Custom, Broadkaster, and Brooklyn Gretsch drum ranges.
These drums are well known for their high-quality and incredibly sound. There is a wide range of drums in each of these premium Gretsch drum lineups, and all of them are produced in South Carolina at the Gretsch headquarters.
All of the custom and limited-edition drum ranges are produced here as well. For example, 2022 is the 135-year anniversary of Gretsch drums, and so the company has released a 135-Year Anniversary drum series that are all manufactured in the Ridgeland manufacturing plant.
However, while the premium series of Gretsch drums are all made in the USA, not all Gretsch drums are made here. The more affordable range of Gretsch drums is produced in the Drum Workshop manufacturing plant in Taiwan.
The Renown, Catalina, and Energy Gretsch drum ranges are all produced predominantly in Taiwan. Some models in these ranges are made in the US, but most of them are made in Asia due to the manufacturing and distribution rights of the drums being handed over to Drum Workshop, Inc.
Every Gretsch drum kit bears a badge with the manufacturing location on it, so if you want to know where your Gretsch drums are made, look for the badge, and it will give you the country of construction.
Not all Gretsch Drums are produced in Ridgeland, South Carolina, as they may want you to believe. With that being said, every Gretsch drum kit still bears the same Gretsch standard of quality and is made from exceptional materials with high-quality workmanship.
The USA-made Gretsch drums are superior products, but the Taiwanese drums are still of excellent quality and sound very good.
Why Are Some Gretsch Drums Built Outside Of America?
Gretsch has always famously been an all-American company and proudly states that Gretsch drums are made in the USA. However, we now know that not all Gretsch drums are made in the USA, and you may be wondering why some Gretsch drums are produced elsewhere?
The fact that Gretsch is so proudly American can be confusing. Only three out of the six drum lines made by Gretsch are produced in the United States. The other three ranges in the Gretsch drum lineup are made in Asia, and this is for a good reason.
While the American lineup of Gretsch drums is very well made and produced to a much higher standard than the Taiwanese drums, production costs in America are far higher than those in Asia.
While most Gretsch drums are made in the USA, the demand for these drums is so high that one manufacturing plant is not enough to meet the demand. This means that the company that oversees the manufacturing of Gretsch drums had to move some Gretsch manufacturing elsewhere.
This company is Drum Workshop, Inc., which also happens to own drum manufacturing plants in Taiwan for the construction of DW drums. When this company took over the manufacture of Gretsch drums, it made sense to move the production of the lower-end Gretsch drum range to its Taiwanese manufacturing plants to allow the American factory to continue to produce the high-end Gretsch drums.
This decision lowers the manufacturing costs of the drums while maintaining the quality of Gretsch drums across the board, making every drum kit sold by Gretsch more affordable than ever before.
Ultimately, the decision to move some Gretsch drum manufacturing to Asia is a decision that benefited the company and every drummer interested in buying a Gretsch drum kit of their own.
Are All Gretsch Drums Good?
Gretsch drums have been around for 135 years. This is a very long time for any instrument manufacturer, and Gretsch has proven that their drums are among the best that there have ever been.
If Gretsch drums were not as good as they are, the company would not still be around 135 years later. Not only that, but Gretsch produces a very wide range of drums and a very large volume of drums every year. This proves that there are many drummers worldwide who prize these drums and buy them over other brands.
Gretsch has built a name over the past 135 years of high-quality and fantastic sound, but the fact that several drums lineups from Gretsch are now produced outside of the US has cast some doubt on the company’s good name.
It is true that the best drums made by Gretsch are those that are manufactured in the South Carolina workshop. These drums are held to a higher standard than the rest of the Gretsch range, and they are typically made with better craftsmanship and better-quality materials.
However, with that being said, all of the drums made by Gretsch in Asia are also of a very high standard of quality. These drums are produced in factories that are very experienced and produce many drums every year.
These factories are well-known for manufacturing high-quality drums and produce some of the best drums from anywhere. However, the production tolerances and materials used at these factories are inferior to those used for high-end drums. This is simply to reduce costs and produce a product that is more affordable than the high-end units.
This does not mean that the drums are of poor quality and should not be trusted. All Gretsch drums must pass Gretsch quality control and must be up to the standard that this 135-year-old company has established since its inception.
All of this means that all Gretsch drums are generally very good quality instruments. Regardless of where Gretsch drums are made, they are guaranteed to be of a very high standard and sound excellent, especially when compared to drums from other companies made at the same price point.
Gretsch drums are great instruments regardless of where they are made, but if you want to own the most premium Gretsch drums possible, the USA factory-made drums are the best option. If you want drums that sound great but are more affordable, Asian Gretsch drums are ideal.
At the end of it all, Gretsch drums in the modern age are produced in two places – the USA and Taiwan. The American-made drums are made to be more premium instruments and so are made to a higher standard and tend to sound better, but the Taiwanese Gretsch drums are still made to be impressive, great-sounding drums.
If you are looking for a new kit, new hardware, a drum upgrade, or if you want to add a piece of gear to your kit, consider buying something from Gretsch. Regardless of where these drums are made, they are all great-sounding instruments are made to very high standards of quality.