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  #1  
Old 02-12-2009, 04:04 PM
Clutch Cargo Clutch Cargo is offline
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Default Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

I have an old, probably early 80's Gretsch Blackhawk kit. I have had them for almost 20 years now.

The badges says "Blackhawk Designed and Imported by Gretsch." The lugs look like Tama lugs. The interiors are painted silver. I really love this kit! It was the first set I bought as a teen, with my own money. And, they actually sound really good!

I have never seen any other Blackhawk drums like these. I check ebay all the time. The newer Blackhawks are nothing like these. I have seen a couple of older Blackhawk kits on the internet that have "Blackhawk" stamped on each lug. These aren't like that, and they have all of the original parts. I bought them used from a school mate who got them years earlier, but lost interest. He wouldn't have had a reason to change anything.

I know Blackhawks are beginner sets. The new Blackhawk sets by Gretsch are garbage compared to these old things.

...just wondering if there is any info out there on my old kit that I may have missed.

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2009, 11:51 PM
Jaye Jaye is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

Nope, not really. You have an early Blackhawk kit. These were totally offshore produced....asian shells and hardware...probably assembled stateside.

All of the legit western makers started doing this in the 80's. Some got away with it (Ludwig, Premier, Gretsch) with their reputations still intact....sorta.....and for others (Slingerland, Rogers) it was the final death knell of a once proud and quality company.....

But heck, if it works for you, cool. I don't think the resale value would be very high in this market.

Do you have a pic of the inside of the shells ?
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:57 AM
Clutch Cargo Clutch Cargo is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

Thanks for the reply! I will get a pic of the interiors this weekend.

I know they are beginner/imports and not worth anything. Their value for me is sentimental. But, they actually sound pretty good. I use them for practice and some rock gigs.

My point is that entry level drums 25-30 years ago were way better than entry level drums today. The new "Blackhawk" drums by Gretsch sound awful to me. Although, I do like the affordable Catalina drums they have now. I have a small Catalina Club kit (18" bass) I use on blues gigs. I want to get the Catalina Rock kit next.


(by the way, I also have a '64 Rogers Holiday (Cleveland) kit, 20-12-14-COB Dyna)

Last edited by Clutch Cargo; 02-13-2009 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:40 PM
Jaye Jaye is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

I personally love old Japanese kits....definitely sentimental value, but they can actually be easily improved sound-wise with some edge work.

Yes, you have to get up to Catalinas or Tama Stagestars or such before you get a decent rig these days.

But those are quite respectable kits, compared to the chinese-made $300 specials which are ubiquitous...
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:36 PM
Clutch Cargo Clutch Cargo is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

Yes, I like 'em all.

The Blackhawks were the first kit I bought, but the first kit I owned was given to me - a set of red sparkle Apollo drums (Japanese imports, distributed by Pearl I think). I still have them and love 'em too!
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:40 AM
FloydZKing FloydZKing is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

I actually dallied with a girl back in the late 80s for awhile that had a set of these in metallic silver. I borrowed her 11x13 for awhile and it sounded pretty good. I used it as a small FT in a 1 up/2 down config, so it was tuned on the low side. Pretty respectable indeed.

I have the same lugs on my Impact set. They are still available from Cannon Percussion. These were readily available generics in their day (mid-80s) and show up on other stuff too.

Lastly, I think the entry level offerings are much better today, especially when factoring in price. Cheap drumsets have stayed the same price for decades now, gone down even, and gotten better the whole time IMO. Today's Blackhawk is cheaper than an 80s Blackhawk was. (Same name, lower pricepoint, kind of like Tama with their new Imperialstars and Superstars which are also not equal to their namesakes. In both cases you need to look further up their lines to find an accurate price comparison.) Factor in inflation over those years and you're looking at a massive improvement in value, and IMO, build quality too, not to mention choice.
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Old 03-06-2009, 12:07 PM
Clutch Cargo Clutch Cargo is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

I understand what you are saying about the price, but I disagree with the part about quality. These old Blackhawks have been with me a long time and have taken quite a beating over the years and are still in great shape. I don't see the current line of Blackhawks lasting 30 years. The Catalinas are a different story though.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter to me. I love the old kit because it was my first (that I paid for). I just haven't seen any other kits like it before. Not exactly like it anyway. There is a red wine floor tom on ebay right now that is like it, but it is in BAD shape.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 03-25-2009, 12:28 PM
Rob G. Rob G. is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

I had a set of these as my first kit. They were a bit later than the ones in your picture. IIRC, I got them in 86 or 87. They came from the Sears catalog and looked closer to this kit except mine were black:


(Can you spot all the things weird with this set up? Clearly a drummer did not pose this kit. LOL)

Here's what I remember about them. First off, I'm pretty sure the tom mount was a Pearl knockoff, not what was shown in the picture. The lugs were also the generic Pearl/Cannon lugs and there were no dampers on the toms. There were no logos on the drums, no mention of Gretsch at all, and aside from the Blackhawk logo on the heads, there was no manufacturer information at all. The heads were coated Ambassador weight on the top and the black shiny ones on the resonant side.

My snare was a brass color I think. The pedal was also the stereotypical generic Chinese pedal from that time, not what was in this picture and it had a Blackhawk sticker on the footboard. (I think you might remeber what I'm talking about. I can't find a picture of one, but they were everywhere in the 80s.)

The funniest memory I have about these drums is the other kids in school making fun of me because I had a Blackhawk kit from Sears while they had CB700 kits from a real music store (that's the brand that the music store tied in with the school was pushing.) The irony was, that from everything I could tell, and my 11 year old eye might not have been as refined as it is now, the drums were exactly the same. The only difference being the CB700 kits had badges and cost about $200 more. Well, they did come in more colors than my Blackhawks.

Of course the idea of anyone bragging about a CB700 kit seems absurd now, but as a kit, you take what you get, I guess.
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Old 03-25-2009, 01:18 PM
Ludwig-dude Ludwig-dude is offline
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Default Re: Old Gretsch Blackhawk Kit - 1980's (?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob G. View Post
I had a set of these as my first kit. They were a bit later than the ones in your picture. IIRC, I got them in 86 or 87. They came from the Sears catalog and looked closer to this kit except mine were black:


(Can you spot all the things weird with this set up? Clearly a drummer did not pose this kit. LOL)

Here's what I remember about them. First off, I'm pretty sure the tom mount was a Pearl knockoff, not what was shown in the picture. The lugs were also the generic Pearl/Cannon lugs and there were no dampers on the toms. There were no logos on the drums, no mention of Gretsch at all, and aside from the Blackhawk logo on the heads, there was no manufacturer information at all. The heads were coated Ambassador weight on the top and the black shiny ones on the resonant side.

My snare was a brass color I think. The pedal was also the stereotypical generic Chinese pedal from that time, not what was in this picture and it had a Blackhawk sticker on the footboard. (I think you might remeber what I'm talking about. I can't find a picture of one, but they were everywhere in the 80s.)

The funniest memory I have about these drums is the other kids in school making fun of me because I had a Blackhawk kit from Sears while they had CB700 kits from a real music store (that's the brand that the music store tied in with the school was pushing.) The irony was, that from everything I could tell, and my 11 year old eye might not have been as refined as it is now, the drums were exactly the same. The only difference being the CB700 kits had badges and cost about $200 more. Well, they did come in more colors than my Blackhawks.

Of course the idea of anyone bragging about a CB700 kit seems absurd now, but as a kit, you take what you get, I guess.
I know what you mean about kids bragging....however, when I was 8 and taking snare drum lessons, my snare drum was a stewart or champion....oval badge with slingy knockoff lugs anyway in blue sparkle. Everyone else was making fun of me because they had the Ludwig snare kits the school was supplying. Well, almost everyone....a friend of mine that lived up the street had a Premier snare....I thought that his Premier sounded awesome at the time....well compared to my snare it did anyway, at least until I put new heads on it and figured out how to tune it........then it sounded better but not as good as a ludwig or premier...
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