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Old 03-22-2010, 08:30 PM
cookedonphonics cookedonphonics is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Default New 2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

2010 Gretsch Catalina Birch Review

This is the "standard" kit. There is also another kit in "Euro" sizes (toms 8x10 and 9x12), but i went with the bigger sizes because I had heard that birch has a slightly higher pitch, and I didn't want to fight with trying to make the drums sound lower than they are meant to be tuned.

18x22 kick
6.5x14 snare
8x12 tom
9x13 tom
16x16 floor tom

APPEARANCE:

My drums have the Cobalt Blue Burst finish. One word: WOW! It is REALLY nice. Pics to follow later tonight as I'm at work right now and don't have my camera with me....
The finish is much nicer than any pics on the Gretsch website or distributor's websites. Definite plus.
One concern I have would be about bumping it with the rim of another drum.
I think I will need to take some extra precautions and set up some sort of protection method.


SOUND/HEADS:

The kit came with the Evans Coated G1's (made for Gretsch), With the exception of the bass drum heads, which are whatever the Evans equivalent of a Remo Powerstroke 3 is. One note: All pictures I had seen of the Cobalt Blue burst kits had a black with white letters reso. Mine came with White with black letters...which suits me just fine. I think it gives it more of a traditional Gretsch look.

The stock heads on the toms and snare were actually not bad at all. They gave the drums a very classic Gretsch(y) sound. Wide open... Reminded me of my fathers 67 Gretsch Champagne Sparkle kit except these were much louder.

I switched out the tom batter heads for new Remo Vintage Emperors... they really beefed them up. Nice deep tone. Much deeper than I had expected considering they are "standard depth" toms. Regardless, it took about a minute for each tom to get them tuned up and they were ready to go. Nice attack as I would expect from birch. Some nice overtones as well, but they weren't overbearing. I found 2 tuning ranges for each drum. The higher range had a bit more ring (as you would expect, but nothing that couldn't be controlled with some moon gels or the like.
The lower range needed ZERO muffling as the amount of overtones was JUST right. Any muffling would've killed it. They were perfect for the kind of music my band plays which is mostly rock-ish. Again, this could have just been the heads, but overall I was VERY pleased with the toms.

I switched out the snare head for a standard Remo Coated Emperor. Tuned it up for a minute. Sounded perfect.
The snares were pretty sensitive. Also, multiple tunings for this drum as well.
Tuned fairly tight, this drum had a good crack, but the drum didn't seem choked. This is GOOD!
Tuned medium-ish, it still had the nice crack, but was much fuller. Also good.
Tuned lower, the drum got kinda mushy and didn't really suit my taste at all. But since I would never under normal circumstances play the snare tuned this way, it just didn't matter all that much to me.
I would rate the snare definitely above average, and certainly better than what I had expected.

For the kick drum, I never even put on the stock batter (which was clear by the way). I put on an Evans GMAD with the smaller of the 2 foam rings, which is what I normally use on all of my kick drums.
This drum is the highlight of the kit for me. It is the loudest, beefiest, deepest kick drum I have EVER played, and I have played some good ones (DW's included). Kick drums can be finicky and head selection is paramount. Having said that, as I played the kit I couldn't get the smile off of my face. This thing is a monster. It has that "punch you in the chest" thump but is still very "musical?" as well.
Let me put it this way...It plays like a 22" but sounds like a 24". Deeper, lower, louder but at the same time still having 22" sensitivity. Whew... this drum alone made the kit worth it for me.

One last note on the drums themselves. As I was changing heads I did a thorough inspection of all of the bearing edges. 30 degrees on these, which is a change from the 45's on the previous model. They were flawless... which, I'm fairly certain, is one of the reasons these drums sounded so sweet (if not the main reason).


HARDWARE: Tom holder is solid and pretty easy to use. Also, I've never been a fan of isolation mounts, because they tend to become cumbersome (to me anyway). I gig a lot, and have multiple configurations I use depending on what band, gig, etc...and a lot of times I need to be able to setup very quickly. These isolation mounts were not a problem for me at all. Very user friendly.

I have also heard some former Catalina Birch owners mention their dislike for the floor tom legs. I can't say for sure, having never owned one, but it seems as though these we upgraded from the previous model. They seemed fine to me.


What else... um... oh they were only $699 from Midwest Percussion. Good grief! Gretsch could sell these for double that and they'd still be worth every penny.


I'll post pictures later tonight when I get home....

Last edited by cookedonphonics; 03-24-2010 at 05:03 PM.
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