Gretsch Round Badge Variations
Some of the information available on the internet about Gretsch's use of badges appears to be incorrect. Contrary to some sources, Gretsch did not start using round badges on their drums in 1883 when the company was founded. Round badges did not begin to appear on Gretsch drums until approximately the 1930s. Round badges were used until about 1969. For about four decades, Gretsch used octagonal (Stop Sign) and Square badges on their drums. In about 2014, Gretsch reintroduced the round badge.
Attached is a paper which details some of the different variations seen in Gretsch round badges from the 1930s through the 1960s. Much thanks to Bill Maley of classicvintagedrums.com and collector Jim Beebe for their assistance Click here to read the paper, but do not copy it in whole or in part. Contact me if you would like to purchase a copy. Contact Rick.
Link to Gretsch Round Badge Variations Paper
For a quick look, the seven badges documented in the paper are shown below:
Skinny Sticks Badge with Large Letters
This badge is a "Skinny Sticks" type generally seen on drums from the 1930s-1940s.
Skinny Sticks Badge with Textured Background
This example is of a different "Skinny Sticks" version of the badge, with large clear lettering. This particular badge has a cheesecloth-like textured appearance, which was not shared by all badges with Skinny Sticks and large lettering. This is linked to the later 1940s and earlier 1950s.
Skinny Sticks Badge with Maker's Mark on Back
This "Skinny Sticks" version has a maker's mark on the back indicating that it was made by Robbins Company of Attleboro, MA. Because most badges are still attached to their drums, it is unknown how many or what percentage of round badges have marker's marks on their backs. This also exhibits the cheesecloth-like texturing in the background of the badge. This style is linked to the later 1940s and earlier 1950s.
Skinny Sticks Badge with Smaller Letters
This example of a later "Skinny Sticks" variation has a smaller and less clear font and presents the "Drum Makers" phrase at a less severe arc than the prior version. This version was in use in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Thick Sticks Badge
This example is of the Thick Sticks" badge, which has thicker sticks than the "Skinny Sticks" versions. It revives a font of the "Drum Makers Since 1883" similar to the one originally used in the earlier version of the "Skinny Sticks" badge. There are several differences in the lettering and other characteristics
of the badge. This style is seen on drums in the 1960s.
Thick Sticks Badge, another variation
This is an example of a second variation of the "Think Sticks" badge. This version does not appear to be as prevalent as the other Thick Sticks variation. This is also a 1960s style.
Copper Thick Sticks Badge
Although it is sometimes difficult to tell after years of wear, polishing and "restoration" efforts, round badges had mutliple different finishes. However, the vast majority of badges were not made of copper like this one. It appears that this is the same design as the second Thick Sticks badge above, but it was not as deeply struck. A time for the use of this style of badge has not been established, but was likely in use in the 1960s.