18 Coats To A Gretsch Lacquer Style Job!

drum laquer techniqueHere’s what Jody says about this Gretsch style laquer job on this very nice looking drum kit:

My name is Jody Hasty, I am 37 years old and have been playing drums since I was a little kid.

I used a Transtint dye that I custom mixed myself then pulled a lacquer job using deft spray can satin lacquer (it is a nitrocellulose lacquer) .

The first pictures shows the first 3 coats.  The second pictures of the bass drum is what it looks like after 15 coats.  The third picture shows entire set after 18 coats total.

A lot of time is required to do a decent lacquer job.  You mentioned the Gretsch look.  That’s what I was going after, the old Gretsch lacquer jobs from the 70’s.

The raw shells were provided by the owner of C&C custom drums from his Gladstone shell factory.

I did put the “voodoo” on these.  If you will notice the Bose radio in the first picture along with Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys in the background.  I vibrated the wood exclusively with Pet Sounds, Brian Eno’s Music For Airports, and The Verve’s A Storm In Heaven as they were drying or just sitting each night.  It does make a difference, but that is another story all together.  If you have any other questions, feel free to write.

first three coats
First Three Coats
custom bass drum
Custom Bass Drum after 15 coats
4 Pc Drum Set after 18 coats
Final Drum Kit Assembly After 18 coats

Here’s a good article on wood finishing that may provide you with information you did not not about staining drums.


  1. Ruan

    Absolutely beautiful; how did you prevent runs on the bass drum and floor tom? And did you flat in between any of the coats?

    The 18 coats look from these pictures to be well worth the effort.

  2. jpaulhasty

    I mostly avoided runs by using thin coats. If you do get one, lacquer sands great. I would generally do 3 thin coats per day, sand the next, then repeat. I was trying to completely fill the grain. I used a “redneck” down draft system incorporating a shop vac, duct tape, and polyethylene tubing with holes drilled in to it (very dangerous with lacquer fumes and electrical devices but the risk was worth it). Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions.
    Thanks, and the music played to them helped…I think.

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