Jack Adams' round badge Gretsch in Gold Satin Flame Beautiful drum history from the Vater Percussion family Jack Adams' round badge Gretsch in Gold Satin Flame - Beautiful drum history kept by the Vater Percussion family Just like the yellow revamped Frank Zappa drum kit from Vinnie Colaiuta, every year at NAMM you find one or two true special drum sets that either have a great history, rare features or are just plain beautiful. All are great reasons to give them the attention they deserve. Just like this set: the 1960's round badge Gretsch drums finished in Gold Satin Flame that belonged to Jack Adams, grandfather of Alan and Ron Vater, the guys from Vater Percussion. Jack Adams, a Gretsch endorsee, was founder of the legendary Jack's Drum Shop in Boston MA. Check out these drums...

We added two old ads with the pictures on the right from Jack's Drum Shop from the 1960's as well, worth the look and great historical documentation of an old era. Vater displayed the 1960's round badge Gretsch from their grandfather at the NAMM Show 2017. The text included with the drums was as below:
This kit features a very rare Gretsch 4160G (4161) 24-karat gold plated snare drum, engraved and complete with a gold-plated tuning key.

Unusual are the gold-plated counterhoops and lug casings and tension rods seen on this kit. The drums are just striking in appearance and also feature the legendary Gretsch sound that made them among the most popular jazz kits of the day.

The drums are 14x18, 8x12 and 14x14 with a 5x14 snare drum. The bass drum pedal has a custom footboard with the 'Jack's Drum Shop' logo cast into it. Aside from some new drum heads, this is an unrestored, original condition snapshot of a legendary drummer's tool of the trade, from a golden era of jazz.

You also see here the original hand-turned drumsticks that Jack made at Jack's Drum Show, including some for his close friend and drum legend Buddy Rich.


Gretsch's Golden Age
In the 1950s and '60s, the company enjoyed a golden age. A number of legendary musicians became Gretsch Artists, including Max Roach in 1950, Art Blakey in '54, and Tony Williams in '66. And the drums were featured on iconic recordings. Jimmy Cobb played them on Kind of Blue with Miles Davis in 1959, and Gretsch Drum Night at Birdland was recorded in 1960 with Art Blakey, Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones and "Philly" Joe Jones.

The Gretsch golden age came to an end in 1967, when Fred Gretsch Jr. retired and sold the company to Baldwin Music Company. Fred W. Gretsch, the nephew of Fred Gretsch Jr., vowed to purchase the company back. In the meantime, in 1969, Charlie Watts played Gretsch drums on The Rolling Stones tour for the first time and continues to play them with the band nearly 50 years later.

Vater celebrates 25th Anniversary in 2017
The Vater family has been crafting drumsticks for over 60 years. They created hand-turned sticks for Philly Joe Jones, Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones in the mid 1950's. They provided America's legendary drum shops with their own private label sticks through the 60's, 70's and 80's right through to today. Also, it is no secret that Vater helped create the sticks that launched the Zildjian Drumstick line and made some of the hickory and maple drumsticks for Vic Firth in the 80's.

In November 1991, Alan Vater made the decision to put the Vater family name on the drumsticks. The Vater Drumstick Brand was first publicly introduced at the Pasic Show in November of 1991, with the full launch at the NAMM Show in January of 1992.
Suggested reading
Vinnie Colaiuta's original Frank Zappa drum set

Jack's Drum Shop - short history
Early in the 1940's, probably around 1945, Jack Adams opened Jack's Drum Shop in Boston, Massachusetts on Stuart Street. This time frame suggests that Jack's Drum Shop is indeed the oldest ongoing drum store in the country. Jack Adams daughter is Joan Vater of Vater percussion.

The Stuart Street store not only sold musical instruments but radios as well. During the 1960's Mr. Adams relocated the store to Boylston Street directly across from the public garden. Mr. Adams was a hands on owner and was a dominant presence in the store as well as an active drummer on the local music scene. At this time Jack's was a full line musical instrument dealership. During this period sticks were being manufactured in the basement. Eventually this led to the Vater Percussion Company.

Late in the 1960's Mr. Adams passed ownership on to a family member who moved the store to the opposite end of Boylston Street in the area around Berklee College of Music. During some difficult times in 1975 this fellow sold the store to the current owner, Ken Yetman. As a former staff member and store manager, Ken was well versed in the "Jack's concept". Ken was responsible for bringing the store back to glory days for drummers in the northeast. In 1988 Ken opened a second store in Hyannis on Cape Cod. Jack's concentrates on all things percussive plus guitars and musical accessories. Lessons and repairs are the specialty of the house.

Jack's was a bastion in the Boston area until 2008 when again Jack's made a move of sorts, but this time it was to the satellite store in Hyannis. The entire operation, sales, lessons and repairs are alive and well and located on Cape Cod. Today Jack's is on Main Street in the heart of the Cape. For all those who hold fond memories of old store in Boston, this is merely a miniaturized version of the Boston shop.
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