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7 Best Gretsch Snare Drums in 2022 Reviewed

Among drummers, the name Gretsch brings recalls like Taylor Hawkins, Charlie Watts, and even Phil Collins. It’s an iconic brand that has pioneered numerous drum innovations. A Gretsch snare is something of a statement. 

A snare drum is an integral part of any set, but knowing how to choose the best Gretsch snare is a different story. Your choice relies on multiple factors like material, hardware, and more. It’s part of the challenge of investing in a drum from an innovative drum maker known for experimenting with different techniques. 

So, with all that said, which snares would we recommend? That's what we'll explain to you in this review. We've narrowed our choices down to seven of the best Gretsch snares in 2022, each with unique perks and style. Let's jump in!

1. Gretsch USA Bell Brass Snare Drum

The first thing you may notice about this snare drum is its build. It is highly durable and downright large. The 2mm solid cast shell provides a crisp, full sound with each strike. You would be correct in assuming that this drum is loud

The backbeat remains surprisingly warm as the pitch increases, occupying a wide tonal range. The sound remains snappy despite the volume produced, mainly due to the 42-strand wires. 

While there's no denying the quality of this drum, it's important to be aware of just how much of a beast it is. It could overwhelm your performance if you aren't careful. That said, there are no uncontrollable overtones, which is often a risk with a metallic drum. The brass shell gives it a warmer feel with greater control over the sound you produce. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: USA Snare Drums
  • Snare Size: 14x6.5
  • Snare Shell: Brass
  • Lugs: 20
  • Hoops: Die-Cast Hoops
 
 

PROS

  • Crisp, snappy sound thanks to the 42-strand wires even at lower pitches
  • Highly versatile, usable in a variety of genres
  • Very durable, capable of withstanding repeated strikes for extended periods

CONS

  • It may prove too large and noisy for quieter performances
 

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2. Gretsch USA Solid Steel Snare Drum

Our second entry, the Solid Steel Snare Drum, continues the theme of powerful drums. This drum is as versatile as it is sensitive. With a 3mm reinforced steel shell, it achieves excellent durability and audio feedback. 

The fitted die-cast hoops provide an ambient tone that you can easily adjust using the lightning throw-off and butt plate. If you have a drum key, you're well-equipped to tune this drum quickly and easily.

Similar to the previous product, this drum features 42-strand snare wires, which is what provides it with its power. You can expect significantly loud output from this instrument. When tuned to a tighter extent, you can expect significant volume from even the lightest strikes, so bear this in mind when performing! You could easily overwhelm other instruments. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: USA Snare Drums
  • Snare Size: 14x6.5
  • Snare Shell: Steel
  • Lugs: 10
  • Hoops: Die-Cast Hoops
 
 

PROS

  • Lightning throw-off for simple and easy tension adjustments
  • Powerful volume production thanks to the 42-strand wires
  • Steel shell provides versatility and sensitivity to play a variety of genres

CONS

  • It may overwhelm other instruments during live performances
 

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3. Gretsch Grand Prix Aluminum Snare Drum

This addition to our list features everything you can expect from the Gretsch brand. It’s a sophisticated design that produces the same fantastic and crisp sound you have grown accustomed to from this manufacturer. 

This drum features a more lightweight shell than the previous entries on our list, sitting at 1.2mm and crafted entirely from aluminum. The thin shell emphasizes the mid-range tones and produces thin, airy sounds. 

The greatest strength of this drum is its sensitivity. With only the lightest strike, you can produce a fantastic sound from this instrument, providing great versatility in how you play. 

The 45-degree bearing edge and Double Flanged 302 Hoops give a nice cracking sound when tuned higher and open up in the mid and lower ranges. It is a highly resonant, precise drum for a mid-range price. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: Grand Prix
  • Snare Size: 14x.6.5
  • Snare Shell: Aluminum
  • Hoops: Double-flanged 302 hoops
 
 

PROS

  • 1.2mm aluminum shell provides a light, airy tone
  • 45-degree bearing edge provides that classic Gretsch comfort while playing
  • Provides a crisp and clear sound with impressive resonance

CONS

  • Not as powerful as steel or brass snare drums, may not suit heavier play styles
 

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4. Gretsch Keith Carlock Signature Series Snare Drum

Developed with the assistance of legendary drummer Keith Carlock—famed for his performances with Toto, Sting, John Mayer, and Steely Dan, to name a few—this snare drum was always bound to impress. 

Carlock has been a fan of brass shell drums throughout his career, which is why this collaboration features that same design. Not only does this provide a robust and powerful sound, but it also gives the drum a unique antique appearance. 

Carlock stated he had numerous ideas throughout the design process, including swapping the 42-strand wire for a 20-strand to improve the dynamics and pitch range. In addition, the instrument also has 45-degree bearing edges and 4mm Die-Cast hoops. It's one of the unique drums available from Gretsch and features his signature on every snare. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: Signature
  • Snare Size: 14x5
  • Snare Shell: Brass
  • Lugs: 10
  • Hoops: Die-Cast Hoops
 
 

PROS

  • Increased dynamics and pitch range thanks to the 20-strand snare wire
  • Designed in collaboration with experienced and renowned drummer Keith Carlock

CONS

  • Less volume potential than the 42-strand wire snares
 

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5. Gretsch USA Chrome Over Brass Snare Drum

Versatility is key with the Chrome Over Brass Snare Drum. It's a big, metal drum, which gives it more than enough power to fit right in with rock and metal. However, the quality of the build means it can also finesse the finer tones. 

Made with the signature Permatone coated top head that distinguishes the Gretsch sound, this snare produces maximum resonance with additional strength focused at the center.

The brass produces a distinctly fat sound that responds well to higher tunings, so you can perfectly customize your sound to your style. It also features 14 metal snares, a Lightning throw-off, and a snap-in key holder. It's a versatile snare that has completely earned its place on our list of the best. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: USA Snare Drums
  • Snare Size: 14x6.5
  • Snare Shell: Brass
  • Hoops: Die-Cast
 
 

PROS

  • Versatile sound, capable of fitting in with multiple styles
  • Permatone-coated top head provides maximum resonance
  • A distinctly fat sound with the brass shell

CONS

  • Some customer reviews described cheap-feeling metal fasteners
 

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6. Gretsch Brooklyn Steel Snare Drum

If you're looking for a drum that emphasizes crisp sound with a powerful attack to back it up, the Brooklyn Steel Snare Drum is the one for you. Tune this snare up and produce a sound that can crack through the densest of competition. Tune it down, and the opposite happens, providing a bellowing sound ideal for ballads or any overwhelming sound you want to create.

The steel shell gives this instrument a real sense of durability, so it can survive hours of play no matter how intense the set. The 2.0mm chrome over steel shell with a permatone-coated batter head delivers heightened resonance. 

The Brooklyn Steel is a quality addition to any drummer's set for an unbeatable price, earning a solid mention on our list of the best snare drums.  

 

Specifications

  • Series: Brooklyn
  • Snare Size: 14x5.5
  • Snare Shell: Steel
  • Hoops: 302
 
 

PROS

  • Highly durable steel shell, perfect for intense play
  • Produces a significantly crisp sound while still maintaining a powerful attack
  • It holds its own by cutting through even the densest of sound walls
  • Affordable–lowest-priced item on the list

CONS

  • It may prove too powerful for players that enjoy lighter styles and tones
 

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7. Gretsch USA Phosphor Bronze Snare Drum

Last on our list, but by no means least, is the Phosphor Bronze Snare Drum. If you want a snare that packs a punch and can project to the back of the room, you've found it here. 

The Phosphor is the heaviest drum available from the Gretsch range, which should give you some insight into the intensity it possesses. Not only is it a heavyweight, but it also produces the thickest sound of any Gretsch snare drum.

The clarity of sound this instrument produces is also worth noting. The 5mm shell has a 45-degree bearing edge that provides a distinct volume you won't get from smaller shells. 

You will also find various classic Gretsch features with this release, including Lightning throw-off, die-cast hoops, and a 42-strand snare wire. All in all, this drum is a triumph. 

 

Specifications

  • Series: USA Snare Drums
  • Snare Size: 14x6.5
  • Snare Shell: Bronze
  • Hoops: Die-Cast
 
 

PROS

  • The heaviest Gretsch snare available, both in sound and weight
  • It provides clarity like no other, perfect for experienced players
  • Possesses all of the Gretsch features users have come to love, including snap-in key holder and die-cast hoops

CONS

  • Arguably unsuitable for beginners, given its size, power, and high price point
 

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Conclusion

Any of the seven we've recommended will be a perfect addition to your set if you want to upgrade your equipment to a Gretsch snare. The best way to get the most out of your snare is to match it to your style. Look through our choices, see which impresses you, and try one out for yourself! You might be surprised by how well it fits into your current set. 

For more snares, cymbals, and accessories from Gretsch and other leading drum makers, shop Drum Center of Portsmouth today!

21 days ago