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Size: 22x14, 13x9, 16x16 & 14x5 Snare
Shells: 6-Ply with Silver Liner
Finish: Original Cadillac Green Nitron with Gold Hardware
Gretsch 'Birdland' Round Badge Outfit 22x14, 13x9, 16x16 & Snare
GRETSCH CADILLAC GREEN & GOLD BIRDLAND KIT
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
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.
This being a Nitron wrap and along with the diamond plate floor tom leg holders
would date this kit to the late 1950s.